Elizabeth Andoh may not be a name that you are familiar with, but if you have any interest in learning to cook Japanese food, it should be. Ms. Andoh is American born and raised, but has made Japan her home. She did her formal culinary training at the Yanagihara Kinsaryu School of Traditional Japanese Cuisine, in Tokyo. She is now a writer (she has written three books on Japanese cooking and is Gourmet‘s correspondent in Japan), lecturer, and a business consultant, specializing in Japanese food and culture. She is the only non-Japanese member of the presitgious Japan Food Journalists Association (JFJ). She also runs A Taste of Culture, a culinary arts center in Tokyo. So basically, for those of us whose native language is English, Ms. Andoh is the Japanese cuisine guru.
One of her books is called Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen. This book explores the principles of washoku (literally means “the harmony of food”), a set of principles in fives that takes into account color, taste, ways of preparing food, the diner’s senses, and the outlook brought to bear on both the cooking and the dining experience. The book is basically a master class on Japanese approaches to prepping ingredients for cooking, the basics of the different techniques used to cook those ingredients, and the equipment required for each procedure.
I am starting a cooking project where I am going to dust off some of my rusty Japanese cooking skills, hopefully learn some new ones, and eat lots of yummy food in the process, by starting to cook through Washoku. I’ve spoken with a few people who are going to play along, but I’d love it if more of you joined in!
At least initially until we figure out the rhythm of things, 1 or 2 (if they’re simple) recipes will be chosen at the beginning of the month. You will have all month to work on them and then send me a short write up (what you learned, what you liked/didn’t like, etc.) and a picture by the end of the month, and I’ll post a round-up at the beginning of the next month.
The first challenge will be the Rice Bowl with Three-Colored Topping (San Shoku Domburi) on page 153. This recipe is really 2 recipes, as you have to make Gingery Ground Chicken (page 258) to go in it. If you would like to participate, just try out this recipe and send me a write up (rachael (at) lafujimama (dot) com) by the end of the month, and I’ll be posting the round-up on July 1st. **NOTE: The round-up date has been changed to July 15th in order to allow some of the participating members to receive their books!
In other news, the polls opened this morning for the Marx Foods Sausage Recipe Challenge, which I cooked up the Baked Rabbit Sausage Stuffed Kabocha for.
So go check out all of the fun recipes and vote (and if you decide that you like my recipe, I definitely wouldn’t turn down a vote)!