"Eating with awareness brings us into the moment, helps us understand what it means to be alive, and connects us to the mystery and the source of all living things," notes Emmy-Award winning TV and documentary writer Donald Altman. With skill and grace, this former Buddhist monk presents a variety of ways the world's religions have "elevated food into the realm of the sacred." The book abounds with rituals, practices, and prayers designed to help us see eating as a spiritual path.

Hindus have made the sharing of food into an act of great hospitality. Buddhists have much to show us about eating moderately and viewing meals as part of the middle way. Jews have found many avenues of holiness and meaning through food in their rituals for Sabbath and religious holidays. Christians have made finding communion through food an essential element of faith. And Muslims are teachers of transformation through fasting.

The art of the inner meal begins with respect and reverence for the good Earth. It flows through the joys of giving and receiving. It enables us to become more conscious of all the blessings in our lives. And it tutors us in curbing our desires, eliminating bad habits, and moving beyond selfishness. At one point, Altman writes: "If prayer is the appetizer for the spiritual meal, then mindfulness is the main course." After savoring all the delights in this enlightening work — including a fine discussion of the Way of Tea — you'll feel empowered to establish a new regimen for eating in your home.