The Kitchen Religion

The Kitchen Religion is dedicated to my beloved spiritual master A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who taught his disciples by his personal example how to cook and offer delicious vegetarian food to Lord Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Dear Friends, Welcome to The Kitchen Religion. I love to cook, and am a follower of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, whose disciples taught me how to cook "Krishna prasadam" back in the early 70's. Krishna prasadam (or "God's mercy") is vegetarian food that's offered to Krishna (Krishna, or Lord Shri Krishna, is a name of God the Father which means "the all-attractive person who attracts the hearts of all living beings").

Ever wonder why the Hare Krishnas are called "The Kitchen Religion?" Because for us, cooking is a meditation. Everything we eat, we first cook with love for Lord Sri Krishna, then offer it to Him, then eat (or "honor") His remnants. The Hare Krishna Movement has become known as "The Kitchen Religion" because so much of what we are as a group has to do with cooking for Lord Krishna and then honoring and sharing His holy remnants, or prasadam, with others. We call eating prasadam "honoring" prasadam, because we understand that after we have offered the food to God and He has kindly accepted our loving offering, the food has become spiritualized. So it's like accepting a treasured gift from the Lord when we eat His remnants. Spiritual food is uplifting to the heart and purifying to the soul. Krishna prasadam is meant to be honored.

Srila Prabhupada taught us that because all things come from God, they are meant to be used in His service. He explained that we should lovingly cook vegetarian dishes for Krishna and offer them to Him with devotion. Krishna then accepts and blesses our offerings so that when we partake of His remnants, we become purified of all kinds of unwanted, sinful desires within our hearts. I was happy to learn this, as I had always wanted to know of practical ways to serve God, and I had never thought about cooking for God. But this idea made so much sense to me that I took it up immediately and have been enjoying the pleasure of cooking for God for the last 40 years! After all, God is a person. Granted, He is the Supreme Person, but a person nonetheless. And God eats. He doesn't need to eat, but He eats what His devotees lovingly cook for Him, just to give them pleasure.

By the way, did you know that God likes cows? His supreme abode, Goloka Vrndavana, is named after cows. Gau, or go, means cow, and loka means place or abode or planet. So Goloka means the abode of the cows. Because God puts so much importance on cows, we should understand that cows are very, very important for human society. We humans are given the responsibility to protect cows, and in turn, we are blessed with milk, the miracle food.

Although a lot of my recipes are influenced by my American upbringing, they are all pure vegetarian. Not all are vegan, but they're all vegetarian. We humans are given a diet just like all the other creatures on earth, and our diet is supposed to include milk and milk products. Cow's milk and milk products are beneficial and very important for human consumption. But they must be prepared properly and offered with love to Lord Krishna to provide the greatest benefit to human society.

Of course, using milk and other products from the cow necessitates treating the cow humanely. How ungrateful some people are, that they consume milk, yogurt, cream, sour cream, ice cream, butter and cheese from the cow and then turn around and slap the cow in her face by killing her and eating her slaughtered carcass! How can those people be so cruel, heartless and ungrateful?

Srila Prabhupada explained that we humans have more than one mother. Not only is our birth mother our mother, but the earth is one of our mothers as well as the cow, because the earth gives us food and the cow gives us her milk. Therefore, it behooves us to treat both Mother Earth and the cow with respect and love, just as we would our birth mother.

Speaking of mothers, my love of cooking awakened in my early childhood as I watched my mother cook and bake. From her guidance as well as the tutoring of my Hare Krishna friends, combined with years of cooking and baking for my family, trying out new recipes and repeating old ones, making up some of my own recipes and adjusting many that I have found on the internet and in cookbooks, I feel inspired to share with you some of my cooking experiences and favorite recipes.

In the recipes below, "c" means "cup," "T" means "Tablespoon," and "t" means "teaspoon."

Thanks for being here! Hare Krishna!

Phalini devi dasi

PS Srila Prabhupada demonstrated a high standard for his disciples by always using fresh ingredients. Because I almost always seem to be in a hurry, I have adopted the use of canned goods on occasion. I apologize for this aberration, and hope to switch to using all fresh (uncanned, unfrozen) ingredients in the near future.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Best Pancakes

Please note that in my recipes, "c" means cup, "T" means tablespoon, and "t" means teaspoon. When measuring flour, cut and level it. Sifting is not necessary for the dry ingredients in this recipe.

1 c whole wheat flour
1 c + 3 T unbleached all-purpose flour
2 T + 1 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 T sugar
2 1/2 c milk, room temperature
1/4 c melted butter (unsalted)
1 T EnerG Egg Replacer, dissolved in 1/4 c water (available at Whole Foods)

Pre-heat a nonstick griddle on medium heat. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl using a whisk. Make three wells. In one well, pour the pre-mixed egg replacer. In another well, pour the melted butter. In the third well, pour the milk. Mix altogether just until thoroughly combined. Do not beat. 

I use a 1 c dry measure to scoop the batter out of the bowl. If you use a non-stick griddle, there is no need to coat the griddle with oil. Scoop out about a cup of batter and quickly pour onto the hot griddle, making about a 4" pancake. After about a minute, flip the pancake and cook on the other side. The first side should be a medium brown color. I usually cook two at a time. Pancakes should ideally be turned once only. This recipe yields about 16 (4") pancakes.

If you like, you can make homemade syrup. In a small pan, dissolve 1 c sugar in 1/2 c water. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Remove from heat. Add a small dribble of flavoring. Our favorite flavoring is maple with a touch of vanilla.

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