Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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Dervish Kitchen Staff Manual
Detail from Majnun Eavesdrops on Layla's Camp. Persian, 16th century. Click for complete picture.

"This is your mission of peace — to serve the people"
Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti's final instructions to his murids

"Kitchen duty is awarded only to those of manifest excellence, who exhibit deep faith in Dharma teachings, have a wealth of experience, and possess a righteous and benevolent heart. This is because kitchen duty involves the whole person... If one without the true Dharma spirit were to perform the kitchen duties, they would commit errors of judgment and inconvenience many, thus resulting in much loss..."
The Master Dogen, founder of Soto Zen, from Tenzo Kyokun


The Dervish Kitchen Motto:
"If you can't stand the light, stay out of the Kitchen!"

"All things, to give light, must endure burning!"
The Traveller's Rescue by the Rukh, Iraq, late 14th century. Click for complete painting.

In the heat and clamor of a kitchen in full production mode, the cook provides the focus, the axis, around which a vast, complex motion spins. Finding the stillness in that cyclone, like the dervishes whirling in Sema, can be the hardest things we've ever done — and the best thing. Abrading against time and materials and personalities, we can, God willing, clean the rust from the mirror of out hearts. We expect to work hard, because this gives us the greatest joy.

""Human perspiration is not impure."
Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (R.A.), quoting Hadith

Since we work hard, we get to rest hard.
From gleeful frenzy, to Total Slack.
From intense activity, to deep meditation and repose.

""My secret? My secret is controlled schizophrenia."
Murshid Samuel Lewis

Psychic isometrics! Pumping Dharma makes our spiritual bodies strong!

""Too much is always better than not enough."
J.R. "Bob" Dobbs

The kitchen is the place between groceries and teeth.
Our work must be done with grace, skill and speed,
or we get chewed up and spat out.

""If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."
Some wiseguy
A Fabulous Animal, Iraq, late 14th century. Click for complete painting.

If you can't stand the light...
Mantras to Remember:

"No Problem"
We don't keep problems in stock, and we haven't ordered any.

"Keep It Simple"
Amen, amen

"We're Here To Cook, Not To Worry"
Worrying is not in any of our job descriptions,
and we're not getting paid enough to worry anyhow.

"What's in the Walk-In?"
If nothing else, it is a place to cool off/down.

"Watch Your Breath"
Don't forget to exhale. Then, don't forget to inhale. Repeat until the situation improves, or at least changes.

This is the proper response to all questions and to every emergency.

Qur'an says that Allah created us as a test.
We should keep in mind that this is a test, not an actual alert.

Detail from The Wild People at the End of the World, Syria, 970/1563. Click for complete painting.