Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Monday, June 25, 2012

Anniversary Post - 7 Years of Cook Ding's Kitchen

Today marks the 7th Anniversary of Cook Ding's Kitchen.

According the Blogger statistics, this blog has had over 120K hits. IceRocket tracks over 20,000 blogs and Cook Ding's Kitchen has been solidly in the top 1000 for months now. 

I want to thank everyone for their support. I appreciate it very much.

A question that I get asked regularly is "what's this Cook Ding stuff anyway?" Cook Ding was a character in a story in one of the Inner Chapters of Zhuang Zi (Chuang Tzu). It's one of my favorite stories:

A cook was butchering an ox for Duke Wen Hui.

The places his hand touched,
His shoulder leaned against,
His foot stepped on,
His knee pressed upon,
Came apart with a sound.

He moved the blade, making a noise

That never fell out of rhythm.
It harmonized with the Mulberry Woods Dance,
Like music from ancient times.

Duke Wen Hui exclaimed: "Ah! Excellent!

Your skill has advanced to this level?"

"What I follow is Tao,

The cook puts down the knife and answered:
Which is beyond all skills.
"When I started butchering,
What I saw was nothing but the whole ox.
After three years,
I no longer saw the whole ox.

"Nowadays, I meet it with my mind

Rather than see it with my eyes.
My sensory organs are inactive
While I direct the mind's movement.
"It goes according to natural laws,
Striking apart large gaps,
Moving toward large openings,
Following its natural structure.

"Even places where tendons attach to bones

Give no resistance,
Never mind the larger bones!

"A good cook goes through a knife in a year,

Because he cuts.
An average cook goes through a knife in a month,
Because he hacks.

"I have used this knife for nineteen years.

It has butchered thousands of oxen,
But the blade is still like it's newly sharpened.

"The joints have openings,

And the knife's blade has no thickness.
Apply this lack of thickness into the openings,
And the moving blade swishes through,
With room to spare!

"That's why after nineteen years,

The blade is still like it's newly sharpened.

"Nevertheless, every time I come across joints,

I see its tricky parts,
I pay attention and use caution,
My vision concentrates,
My movement slows down.

"I move the knife very slightly,

Whump! It has already separated.
The ox doesn't even know it's dead,
and falls to the ground like mud.

"I stand holding the knife,

And look all around it.
The work gives me much satisfaction.
I clean the knife and put it away."

Duke Wen Hui said: "Excellent!

I listen to your words,
And learn a principle of life."


Paul said...

Congratulation, 7 long years!!! You must have slaughtered many cows. But as legend goes, they simply didn't notice they have been "dissected" , not a bad idea to die (touch wood)....:):):)

Rick Matz said...

Thank you.

I would like to make the disclaimer that no cows were actually slaughtered in the production of this blog over the last seven years; at least that I know of.

The Strongest Karate said...

Wow...7 yrs. Mine isn't even one, yet!

Congrats, Rick. And thanks for writing such an insightful and thought provoking blog.

walt said...

Seven years = a lot of water under the bridge! Your blog embodies the ancient observation that *Perseverance furthers*.

And the "soup" that The Kitchen serves is always fresh, creative, tasty! Thanks!

Felicia said...

Congratulations on the seven-year anniversary of your marvelous blog. Thanks for sharing it with us :-)

Rick Matz said...

Thank you all for your support. I truly appreciate it.

Pancho said...


I follow this fantastic kitchen since 2009 :)

Rick Matz said...

Thank you for your support all these years.

Bob Patterson said...

Here's to 7 more!


Rick Matz said...

I will do my best...

Bernard Kwan said...

Congratulations Rick!

Anonymous said...

Hi Rick,

Congratulations to you...

Blogs can be fun, and a chore, and a discipline too.

Always something to learn at your place....


Compass Strategist said...

Congrats. ...

Rick Matz said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Congrats Rick! To many more years and feasts of cows.

Rick Matz said...

Thank you and yes, oceans of cows... and beer.

Paul said...

I thought you said no cow has been slaughtered. I guess you must be (secretly?) serving frozen ones, never mind, it's, or perhaps you've acted like the Tibetans, hiring muslims to do the "dirty work"...anyway thanks for the meals...:):)

Rick Matz said...

Rhetorical cows, but real beer.