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                    Tiffany Twain Entertains:  A Philosophic Cookbook

                                             An Earth Manifesto publication by Dr. Tiffany B. Twain  

                                                                                                                          August 21, 2012

Edward Espe Brown is a Buddhist teacher and a good cook.  He was the author of the still-influential Tassajara Bread Cookbook, and was featured in the documentary film, How to Cook Your Life in 2007.  After watching the film, an observer noted that Brown “endearingly embodies one of Buddhism’s guiding principles:  a sense of humor about our arrogances and illusions.”  My philosophic hero Mark Twain would have saluted this particular characterization, I reckon!

We all are in need of better understandings of how to figuratively cook our lives in ways that are more wholesome.  Food is a means of nurturing the soul, as well as the body, and fine cooking can be a wonderfully enjoyable endeavor as well as a way to share delicious meals and enjoyable moments with friends and family.  Many people know me as an outstanding cook, and the recipes included herein are some of my best and healthiest.

This cookbook is designed to provide some yummy recipes, as well as to introduce many ideas that are contained in the Earth Manifesto to a broader audience.  It is my goal to advance ideas that will launch humanity into living lives that are in greater harmony with the world around us.  All the recipes in this cookbook are contained in the Earth Manifesto’s Twelve Delicious Recipes for Good Health and Gourmet Appreciation.

Cookbook Commentary

It has been more than 102 years since Mark Twain’s death on April 21, 1910.  This cookbook is being published in part to reincarnate and reinvigorate the valuable perspectives of this famous author.  The Earth Manifesto has been a long-term project that explores how we might actually go about creating healthier and more balanced lives, from the level of mindful attention to basics through collective attention and aggregate efforts to solve overarching global challenges.

In many senses, we are what we eat, and our fate is inextricably hitched to our every action.  The threads of all the infinite interconnections may be difficult to trace, but all together they add up to overwhelmingly influential and practically deterministic patterns. 

Note that Whole Foods Markets have adopted an Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) which lists the amount of micronutrients per calorie in a variety of foods.  This ANDI list comes from Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat Right America.  The nuts and seeds which are the highest in nutrients per calorie are sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans, and chia seeds as well as sesame seeds, pistachios, almonds, and walnuts.  The Bittersweet Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe contains lots of these things, so they are practically health food, and they also taste great.

It is good for the health to consume less processed foods and to buy more unprocessed items in bulk, because they are more nutritious.  They are also generally less expensive and less wasteful of packaging materials.

Note that these recipes are not generally vegetarian.  I figure that “moderation in all things” is a fairly sensible idea.  It is valuable to be aware that a diet with greater emphasis on tasty preparations of fruits, grains, vegetables, nuts and non-animal products would be better for the health of most people, and also for the well-being of the planet.  For this reason, most of these recipes do not use a lot of meat, eggs or dairy products, and delicious vegetarian options are often provided. 

For anyone who thinks that vegan and vegetarian food cannot be as delicious as food made with animal products, I challenge you to make Lover’s Leap Ratatouille Paella, or Rich Russian Borscht Beet and Red Cabbage Soup.  Both of these recipes, found in the Appendix below, use liberal amounts of Ayurvedic spices, so they are hyper-healthful, as well as bring sensationally tasty.  You’ll find that these recipes will yield yummy food and enjoyable eating.

Those who evangelize about a vegetarian diet make convincing arguments about the negative effects of meat-oriented diets on the health of those who eat a lot of meat.  More importantly, from the holistic perspective of the well-being of life on Earth, the impacts of meat-oriented diets on the planet are exceedingly heavy. 

Meat production in industrial animal feeding operations is an activity that makes profligate use of Earth’s resources.  Up to 16 pounds of grain and 2,400 gallons of water are required to produce a single pound of red meat.  A typical meat-eating diet requires more than 4,000 gallons of water per day, compared to about 300 gallons of water per day for a totally vegan diet.  And it takes more than 11 times as much fossil fuel to make one calorie from animal protein as it does to make one calorie from plant protein. 

Anna Lappé of The Small Planet Institute has written a book that is a modern-day sequel to her mother’s famous Diet for a Small Planet.  It is titled Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It.  In this book, Anna Lappé suggests that it is important for everyone to understand that livestock create more emissions of greenhouse gases than all the cars, trucks, airplanes and other modes of transportation in the world that burn fossil fuels.  She notes that “the story of food connects to everything from the quality of our food to the quality of our water to the quality of our air to what’s happening to the climate.”

Note that our habits of eating animals involves a range of accompanying side-necessities, including the degrading confinement of animals and a substantial amount of cruelty.  Industrial animal feeding operations also produce enormous quantities of animal wastes which contribute to air pollution, and they contaminate groundwater and streams.  Anyone interested in knowing more of the disgusting details about the impacts of a meat-oriented diet can refer to an online article by the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals;  see “Meat Production Wastes Natural Resources”. 

The global trend is unfortunately toward more meat consumption per person.  Simultaneously, the number of human beings on Earth is increasing rapidly, so this issue is becoming increasingly crucial to our future well-being.  The Earth Manifesto contains a wide variety of proposals to deal with this and related issues.

Each of us does, to a certain extent, literally "cook our life".  We make our destinies by the gods we choose!  Getting a good education and working hard, for instance, are correlated quite strongly with better chances of material success in our societies. 

All of us, together, in essence are collectively cooking our lives.  Our individual actions contribute to determining our species’ destiny in the short term, and even more so in the long run. 

Humankind’s most long-lasting impact is our inadvertent driving to extinction of many of the species of life on Earth.  According to the biologist E.O. Wilson, our collective activities are wiping out other species of life at a rate that is 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than the average rate that has pertained throughout the eons-long evolutionary history of life on Earth.  In this regard, human beings have brought the Cenozoic Era on the Geologic Time Scale to an end, and we are now entering a new Anthropocene Era. 

One might recall that the Paleozoic Era ended with the Permian mass extinction, and the subsequent Mesozoic Era was ended by the Cretaceous Extinction.  Now, today, out of the unfathomably long sweep of geological history, relatively rapid extinctions are launching life into a completely new era that is characterized by accelerating biological change and numerous extinctions of species. 

The more we harm biological diversity, the more deeply we hack into the branch of the tree of life upon which we are perched.  In consideration of this fact, it would be wisest for us to take into account the real impacts of our activities, and to act to mitigate the ones that are having the most distinctly detrimental effects. 

Since the fairest and most effective way to influence people’s behaviors is through targeted incentives and disincentives, it is my belief that we must levy taxes on meat, fast foods, and unhealthy foods and beverages, and use the proceeds to subsidize healthier vegetables, grains, and fruits.  Such policies would shift consumption patterns to ones that are healthier all around, and lead us toward more sensible impacts on our enveloping environment.


This cookbook includes some recipes that incorporate both good nutrition and healthy ways of eating.  The Earth Manifesto also contains numerous recommended recipes and prescriptions for actually creating a better future for our civilization, and these ideas are included herein by reference.

Notes concerning the Ginger-Infused Health Beverage.  This drink is a great one for starting the day in a healthy way because ginger contains alkaline-forming substances which can offset the adverse influences caused by an acidic balance in the bloodstream.  Too much acidity in the body can contribute to a variety of health problems.  Acidity is caused by acid-forming foods in the diet (like meat, eggs, grains, dairy, sugar, coffee and soft drinks), as well as by toxins or by processes that deprive body cells of oxygen.  Acidity can also be a result of too much emotional stress. 

The traditional system of medicine in South Asia is known as Ayurvedic medicine.  It is a practice that regards many spices and herbs as having health benefits that have been acclaimed for thousands of years.  This is a distinct contrast to Western medicine, which is oriented toward the use of drugs and surgery.  Ayurvedic medicine is oriented around building a healthy metabolic system and providing for good digestion, the elimination of toxins, healthful exercise, living hygienically, the facilitating of healing, and achieving balance through practices such as yoga, meditation and massage.  Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word meaning “the complete knowledge for long life”.  That sounds like a good thing to which everyone should aspire!

The Ginger-Infused Health Beverage contains cinnamon and turmeric, which both have a wide range of medicinal values, including properties that act as anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agents and as anti-oxidants.  Cayenne, cardamom and cinnamon are said to stimulate the digestive system and have broad therapeutic effects.  Turmeric is known as an exceptionally healthy spice because it contains curcumin, which has anti-cancer properties and other health benefits.  Studies have shown that the bioavailability absorption of curcumin is dramatically enhanced when consumed in conjunction with piperine, a component of black pepper, so this is also one of the ingredients added to the beverage.    

Andrew Weil’s great book Spontaneous Healing has the subtitle How to Discover and Enhance Your Body’s Natural Ability to Maintain and Heal Itself.  I strongly believe that it is wise and healthy to optimize the power of our immune systems, and to provide conditions that enhance our natural abilities to prevent illnesses and to recover from them quickly.  This generally involves providing our bodies with optimum nutrition, and the mind with less stress, so that healing can most easily occur.  The ingredients of this recipe contribute to such valuable vitality.

Have a cup of hot ginger “tea” for your well-being as these words dissolve into perpetuity.  I believe that hot liquids in general, including soups, enervate the digestive system and are outstanding for their health benefits.

The “Story of Tea” is a curious tale, and in some ways, it can be seen to have been made into a sordid one.  Tea is a mild stimulant, due to the caffeine it contains.  In the seventeenth century, tea went from being unknown in England to becoming practically a ritual that is a prominent aspect of the English identity. 

By the following century, as one might expect in such matters, one single company had achieved a monopoly on the profitable tea trade.  This was the East India Company.  Its tale is fraught with foreign adventurism, speculation and intrigue.  Check out Wikipedia for all you might want to know about the East India Company, and ruminate about the implications of this corporate conglomerate and its association with corporate abuses, colonial exploitation, and monopoly power. 

It was the tea of the East India Company that American colonists threw into Boston Harbor on December 16, 1773.  This act of rebellion had been stoked by American anger at being taxed without fair representation, and it became a key event leading to the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and the formulation of the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

Nahum Tate waxed poetic about this hot beverage in Panacea: A Poem Upon Tea:

    Hail, Queen of Plants, Pride of Elysian Bow’rs!

     How shall we speak thy complicated Pow’rs?

      Thou wondrous Panacea, to assuage

       The Calentures of Youth’s fermenting rage,

        And animate the freezing veins of age.

In addition to tea having “an identity as a colonial mainstay in Britain’s trading life, tea in its origins is also something specifically feminine;  a kind of Muse inspiring intellectual greatness, a Queen to be worshipped as a symbol of Britain’s health and power, and a key element in the domestic lives of women.  It could be stimulating, relaxing and seductive, but as would become disastrously clear, it was always political.” 

Then again, almost everything has its political components, since all is interconnected and interdependent.  This fact is illustrated repeatedly throughout the Earth Manifesto.

Let us occasionally breathe deep, exhale gently, relax, and enjoy a pleasing beverage as we digest all the thoughts and impressions that cascade into our lives at every moment.



       Dr. Tiffany B. Twain

           August 21, 2012

               c/o SaveTruffulaTrees@hotmail.com