Enlightened chef Parisa Z. Ambwani says being a cook means learning about spices.
"Food around the world is the same -- basically chicken or meat or vegetable -- basically it is the same," said the Danville chef-philosopher. "But putting it together to make food, adding spices and herbs from a different country, makes your food different."
But her food philosophy goes beyond being tasty. She believes well-prepared delicious food made with the right ingredients is important to keep body, mind and spirit in a state of harmony.
"Food is medicine," she said. "Besides that, it is spirituality and meditation."
Ambwani has published her seventh book, "Enlightened Home-Chef II," which contains 150 recipes she created, for a total of more than 1,000 international recipes in all her volumes.
"I hope these books, of the holistic journey celebrating the culinary world, contribute to the robust flavor of our food, enhance our metabolism, and give us a prolonged healthier life," she said.
"Enlightened Home-Chef II" has recipes for everything from appetizers and side dishes to beverages, pickles and relishes, main dishes (including lobsters) and vegetarian fare to pizza. It includes 23 pages of tips on cooking and nutrition.
Her goal, she said, is to teach people about the beauty of food and how to benefit from the use of herbs and spices.
"This book is an extension of my other books," she said.
The books end with tracts on meditation, values and humanity, which she defines as "the beauty of love and security of freedom on earth."
"The sound of humanity -- human-unity -- implies encouraging global people of all religions, cultures and traditional backgrounds to join in celebration of unity while practicing such love and enlightened freedom for peace through experiencing holistic journey of good faith on this God-given glorious serene planet," she wrote.
Ambwani has developed her thinking along with her recipes for natural, healthy living in a lifetime that began in Iran where she learned cooking from her mother and philosophy from her father.
"I have joyfully worked on my series of seven books for more than 30 years," she said.
"Enlightened Home-Chef II" sells for $34.95 and is available at Towne Center Books, 555 Main St. Learn more about all of Ambwani's books at www.enlightenedrecipes.com.