Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art


5.0 out of 5 stars The Japanese Cooking Bible

What Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking was to the cuisine of France, so “Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art” is to Japanese food. This is the single-absolute-must-have book for anyone interested in cooking or even simply appreciating and eating the many delights and delicacies that come from this culinary culture.

Author Tsuji Shizuo doesn’t simply want to teach you how to cook. He wants you to understand the thought process that goes into Japanese cooking, into the culture of food-lovers that produced one of the world’s most delicious and diverse national cuisines. Starting with the ingredients, he walks your through all of the core items you will need, the flavors found within, how they can be combined and how they should be prepared. Everything that is touted in modern cooking: freshness, seasonal ingredients, food prepared to augment its natural flavor; it all comes from Japan.

Along with theory, this is a serious cooking manual as well. Cutting techniques, preparation styles, in-depth recipes for all major traditional Japanese foods; this is a classroom in a book. Along with the ingredient list there is also an explanation of traditional tools, and what can be substituted from what is commonly found in a Western kitchen. Knives get a lot of focus, as the standard Western knife set is designed for French cooking which has different demands than Japanese.

One thing this book is not is “food porn”. There are no glorious and mouth-watering color photographs of the various recipes, no clever and cute names for dishes or original variations. The illustrations are all instructional in nature, with step-by-step processes to show you how to cut and stir to get the desired result. “Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art” is probably not for the casual fan who just wants something easy and quick. It is much more Anthony Bourdain than Rachael Ray.

But if you really want to master the art of Japanese cooking, then you need this book. It is that simple.


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