Since its release 25 years ago, Shizuo Tsuji’s encyclopedic and authoritative work has been the acknowledged bible of Japanese cooking. Unrivaled in its comprehensive explanation of ingredients, tools, and techniques, the book guides readers through recipes with clear prose, while technical points are made understandable with deftly executed line drawings.
Much more than a collection of recipes, the cookbook is a masterful treatise on Japanese cuisine. In his preface, the author (who was truly a Renaissance man of Japanese and world gastronomy) discusses the essence of Japanese cooking, with its emphasis on simplicity, balance of textures, colors, and flavors, seasonal freshness, and artful presentation.
After introducing ingredients and utensils, the 20 chapters that make up Part One consist of lessons presenting all the basic Japanese cooking methods and principal types of prepared foods — making soup, slicing sashimi, grilling, simmering, steaming, noodles, sushi, pickles, and so on — with accompanying basic recipes. Part Two features 130 carefully selected recipes that range from everyday fare to intriguing challenges for the adventurous cook. Together with the recipes in Part One, these allow the cook to build a repertoire of dishes ranging from the basic “soup and three” formula to a gala banquet.
M.F.K. Fisher’s introduction to the 1980 edition is a not-to-be-missed work of food writing. A new foreword by Ruth Reichl and an additional preface by Tsuji Culinary Institute president Yoshiki Tsuji provide culinary and historical context for this 25th-anniversary edition.
Still the foremost sourcebook of cooking concepts and recipes from Japan, this new edition of Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art invites a new generation of readers to take a journey to the heart of one of the world’s great culinary traditions.
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