Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Winter Restorative: Root Broth

This season of excessive consumption, activity and stimulation creates a need for counter- balancing austerity. Root broth, a fortifying Winter restorative, is a satisfying response. Both the making and the drinking are effective antidotes to the restless chatter of our universe.

The broth is prepared by simmering a selection of roots in water until tender. Humans have cooked this way under very primitive conditions for millennia, ever since they tamed fire and created ceramic vessels. This simple non-recipe produces a warming and intensely flavorful clear broth, replete with valuable nutrients. Select any combination of the following ingredients- whatever is available will be suitable.


white radish
purple radish
ginger root
garlic cloves
dried shiitake mushrooms
bay leaves
fresh water
sea salt to taste


Scrub and trim root vegetables and cut into medium sized pieces. Peel the garlic cloves but leave whole. Shiitake mushrooms are also left whole.

Place vegetables and bay leaves in a soup pot. Add fresh water, enough to cover the vegetables by one or two inches.

Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over a low flame, adding more water if level gets too low. Simmer until vegetables are tender but not mushy.  (Longer cooking is fine but will yield a thicker broth).  Turn off heat. Remove the mushrooms and when cool enough to handle, slice and return to broth. Taste and add sea salt as desired. Serve in a pre-heated bowl so that broth stays warm.

Living in Harmony With the Atmosphere of Winter:

"The three months of Winter are called the period of closing and storing. Water freezes and the Earth cracks open. One should not disturb one's Yang. People should retire early at night and rise late in the morning and they should wait for the rising of the sun. They should suppress and conceal their wishes, as though they had no internal purposes, as though they had been fulfilled. 
 People should try to escape the cold and they should seek warmth. They should not perspire upon the skin, and they should let themselves be deprived of the breath of the cold. All this is in harmony with the atmosphere of Winter and all this is the method for protection of one's storing."

-- From the Nei Jing, The Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic (circa 206 BCE-220 CE)