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Hardcover Japanese Cooking : A Simple Art Book

ISBN: 1568363885

ISBN13: 9781568363882

Japanese Cooking : A Simple Art

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: New

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Book Overview

When it was first published, Japanese Cooking - A Simple Art changed the way the culinary world viewed Japanese cooking, moving it from obscure ethnic food to haute cuisine. Twenty-five years later, much has changed. Japanese food is a favorite of diners around the world. Not only is sushi as much a part of the Western culinary scene as burgers, bagels and burritos, but some Japanese chefs have become household names. Japanese flavors, ingredients...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

One of the best cookbooks I own.

A great cookbooks is not merely a set of recipes but a treatise on the art of cookery. A Simple Art is, quite simply, a great cookbook--equal to anything written by Julia Child, Paula Wolfert, Alice Waters, and so on. I consider it as indispensible as anything in my cookbook collection, even reference works by Harold McGee and the like. And I don't even cook Japanese food! The first half of the book is mainly partitioned into chapters by cooking technique: a chapter on steaming, on simmering, on grilling, and so forth. Each chapter begins with a very thorough essay on the equipment you need and the dos and don'ts of the technique. The quality of advice here is rarely equalled by any other cookbook. There's a spectacular chapter on scaling, gutting, and fileting fish, and dressing chicken. There are elaborate diagrams for four fileting techniques for both roundfish and flatfish. I have seen no other book on fish cookery (as comprehensive as Mark Bittman's and Alan Davidson's books are) that can compare to this book's thoroughness in fish prep. It's not just cutting, but there are dozens of techniques, from various methods of salting to blanching that I've seen nowhere else. Many ingredients in the book beyond fish are treated with similar thoroughness. The chapter on grilling has over a dozen techniques on how to skewer ingredients! One of the most impressive aspects of the book is it's obsession with presentation. This is the only book I own that elaborates a systematic approach to dressing the plate. Recipes are not just concluded with an afterthought of "this dish looks great garnished with X". Rather, the text addresses each ingredient and the cooking technique concerning the how's and why's of presentation. This is, perhaps, a peculiarly Japanese phenomenon: an obsession with presentation matched by an obsession with systemization and rule-following. But is a wisdom, and technique, that can be easily adapted to any cuisine. There are so many other wonderfully thorough discussions in the book. The author goes into some detail about the construction of meals--that is, of how one puts together a succession of courses to create a harmonious whole. This is a fascinating cookbook, a must have for the cookbook obsessed. It's a great reference work covering topics of cookery overlooked by many of the great cookbooks in English. Yes, this is a book about Japanese cuisine, but the knowledge here applies well beyond it.

At its worst, it is impressive

This is not just a great Japanese cookbook. It is a great cookbook in general. Not content to merely compile a series of recipes, Shizuo Tsuji adds descriptions of cooking techniques unique to Japanese food, insight into Japanese culture, and more importantly he imparts valuable knowledge on how to understand and appreciate Japanese cuisine.He divides the book into two parts. The first part begins with a discussion on how meals are prepared and composed. Then he explains ingredients, tools, and techniques that are frequently used in the book. He ends part one with recipes that are intended to be a basic introduction to various types of Japanese food (each "type" employs different methods of preparation and cooking, such as frying, steaming, etc.) The recipes are traditional Japanese meals that you would encounter if you went to Japan.Part two is all recipes, again divided into the same types that part one is divided into. However, these are slightly more complex and they build on the techniques learned in part one.This is a book that can be used by beginners or more advanced cooks. It is definitely a useful reference for all those who love Japanese food and would like to know how to make it and how to enjoy it authentically.

Real Japanese Food

We have used this book for years. Even in rural Oklahoma most of the recipies are possible with a little help from mail order and trips to Tulsa. Last year for the first time in many years I had two business trips to Japan. That was a real sanity check for this book - and yes it tells you how to do the real thing. At one lunch when we were eating cold udon noodles in a basket I looked at my Japanese hosts and said quite honestly - "you know I make this exact thing at home." They were amazed, but because of this book it is true. This should be everyone's first book on Japanese cooking.

Informative, entertaining, and a must-have

I have been searching a long time for a comprehensive book on Japanese cooking because I grew up with a mother who was a fantastic cook. Unfortunately, she never used recipes or measuring devices, so I have been struggling to duplicate the many delicious dishes of my childhood to no avail. This book is the answer to my quest. The recipes are very authentic, and the author talks about the history of the various recipes and cooking techniques. This enhances the enjoyment of the beautiful cuisine. I feel like I am back home in Mom's kitchen!


While there are certainly recipes in this book, the author does not barrage you with hundreds of impossible to replicate dishes. Instead, this is the book to read if you wish to undersdand what Japanese food is and is not, and how to bring Japanese home cooking into your own home. This is a book to read, cover to cover, not one to pick up for the purpose of grabbing a couple of recipes. Of all the cookbooks I own, this is the first international cookbook that really gave me an understanding of WHAT it was that I was preparing. And that is more important than any recipe
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