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Lucas Miller
Lucas Miller

Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen ((EXCLUSIVE))

With Washoku Andoh takes the reader into the heart of the Japanese home kitchen. She explains the guiding philosophy then brings it into practical terms with a section on the essential washoku pantry. Her section on the washoku kitchen begins with cutting and ends with shaping and molding. Recipes are found in chapters on Stocks and Condiments; Soups; Rice; Noodles; Vegetables; Fish, Meat and Poultry; Tofu and Eggs; and Desserts.

Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen

You might never prepare an entire Japanese meal from beginning to end (though with this book in hand you certainly could), but there's no reason not to believe you wouldn't begin to include some of these recipes in an expanding foodway. The sauces and condiments are particularly exciting. As is the underlying thinking that goes into how you are cooking and why you are cooking--the washoku of it all. Not a bad lesson to learn from an exemplary teacher. --Schuyler Ingle

I publish an electronic newsletter about 6 times a year. Each issue includes a short essay/story focused on some aspect of Japan's food culture. Each edition of the newsletter includes links to photo-illustrated recipes related to the chosen theme. Recipes can be downloaded and printed out, making it easy for subscribers to take into the kitchen when they cook. A Taste of Culture's newsletters are free-of-charge, though permission-based. To subscribe, fill out the form on the home page of TASTEOFCULTURE dot com.

Andoh begins setting forth the ethos of washoku (traditional Japanese food), exploring its nuanced approach to balancing flavor, applying technique, and considering aesthetics hand-in-hand with nutrition. With detailed descriptions of ingredients complemented by stunning full-color photography, the book's comprehensive chapter on the Japanese pantry is practically a book unto itself. The recipes for soups, rice dishes, and noodles, meat and poultry, seafood, and desserts are models of clarity and precision, and the rich cultural context and practical notes that Andoh provides help readers master the rhythms and flow of the washoku kitchen.

Without a doubt, Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen (Ten Speed Press) has been a life-changing cookbook for me. Our adventures with this book, written by Elizabeth Andoh, began on New Year's Eve with a washoku-style dinner at home. Jason and I have always tended toward Japanese food, and to have such a comprehensive guide to Japanese home cooking is a real joy. Since we bought the book, we have tried different recipes on a weekly basis.

When I heard that The Japan Society and the Mechanics' Institute were joining together to offer a lecture and dinner with Ms. Andoh at Medicine Eat Station, I jumped at the chance to go. We have become big fans of Medicine, and I could see that the Shojin-style offerings of the restaurant would match well with Andoh's book. For this dinner, the chef of Medicine combined some of the recipes from Washoku with classic recipes on the Medicine menu.

Rice is served in its own small bowl (chawan), and each main course item is placed on its own small plate (sara) or bowl (hachi) for each individual portion. This is done even in Japanese homes. This contrasts with Western-style home dinners in which each individual takes helpings from large serving dishes of food placed in the middle of the dining table. Japanese style traditionally abhors different flavored dishes touching each other on a single plate, so different dishes are given their own individual plates as mentioned or are partitioned using, for example, leaves. Placing main dishes on top of rice, thereby "soiling" it, is also frowned upon by traditional etiquette.[14]

When dining out in a restaurant, the customers are guided to their seats by the host. The honored or eldest guest will usually be seated at the center of the table farthest from the entrance. In the home, the most important guest is also seated farthest away from the entrance. If there is a tokonoma, or alcove, in the room, the guest is seated in front of it. The host sits next to or closest to the entrance.[63]

Curry was introduced by Anglo-Indian officers of the Royal Navy from India who brought curry powder to Japan in the Meiji period.[75] The Imperial Japanese Navy adopted curry to prevent beriberi. Overtime it was reinvented and adapted to suit Japanese tastes that it became uniquely Japanese.[75] It is consumed so much that it is considered a national dish.[71] Many recipes are on the menu of the JMSDF.[76] A variety of vegetables and meats are used to make Japanese curry, usually vegetables like onions, carrots, and potatoes. The types of meat used are beef, pork, and chicken. A popular dish is Katsu-karē which is a breaded deep-fried cutlet (tonkatsu; usually pork or chicken) with Japanese curry sauce.[77] Japanese curry can be found in foods such as curry udon, curry bread, and katsukarē, tonkatsu served with curry. It's very commonly made with rice beside the curry on the dish called "curry" (カレー, karē). This can be eaten during dinner.

Thus, she found herself on the island of Shikoku in 1967, starting her Japanese language studies with her first meal, when she began applying her training to discover Japan through its food. Hunger assuaged, curiosity led her to formal training at the Yanahihara Kinsaryu School of Classical Japanese Cuisine in Tokyo. That's where she now lives with her husband, whom she met on Shikoku. She teaches at her school, A Taste of Culture, and, as Gourmet magazine's Japan correspondent for more than 30 years, writes from their home, which has an enviable view of Mount Fuji.

A: "Testing. I sent out a call for volunteers with my newsletter, which goes to 1,000 people. Two hundred volunteered to be recipe testers. There were two requirements: They couldn't live in Japan and they had to understand that I would not be able to reimburse them for any expenses they incurred. We had testers from Kansas to Cairo. I sent out assignments, the recipes and we had a closed washoku chat room where everybody discussed the recipes. It was an amazing project. We had single people, people who cooked for households with young kids, two people who lived in senior communities who prepared the meals for their cooking clubs. Seven babies were born during the project. The final assignment consisted of two questions: What would you never cook again and what are you still cooking?

There was almost 100 percent agreement. I cut recipes that people said they wouldn't cook again because they were too much trouble, even though they liked the way they tasted. Since I want to show people how to make washoku a part of their lives, those went right out the window. Nobody, for instance, was going to make tofu at home. The second group were in the category I would call grotesque. People were not comfortable with fish that came to the table with its head and tail. Or it was a problem with texture, particularly anything slimy, slithery or viscous. Americans don't know what to do with those other than to spit them out."

A: "I don't use the word 'technique' because washoku is a practice, it's experiential. It's not the knife skills at all, it is the notion of the flow of activity. You need to think about the rhythm of the kitchen. When you fall into it, washoku is almost effortless, because if you know what you have to do, and are coordinating that into a larger pattern, it takes half the time and half the energy. In fact, that was something that was noted by the recipe testers, the conservation of energy, both natural and human. You use water repeatedly, in a specific order, finally using it to water the plants. It comes from the traditions of people who were not wasteful. They didn't want to spend time or energy they didn't have to." 041b061a72


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