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Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art [Hardcover]

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Item description for Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art by Ruth Reichl Shizuo Tsuji...

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, and textures have been fused into dishes from a wide variety of other cuisines. What hasn't changed over the years, however, are the foundations of Japanese cooking. When he originally wrote Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art, Shizuo Tsuji, a scholar who trained under famous European chefs, was so careful and precise in his descriptions of the cuisine and its vital philosophies, and so thoughtful in his choice of dishes and recipes, that his words--and the dishes they help produce--are as fresh today as when they were first written.
The 25th Anniversary edition celebrates Tsuji's classic work. Building on M.F.K.Fisher's eloquent introduction, the volume now includes a thought-provoking new Foreword by Gourmet Editor-in-Chief Ruth Reichl and a new preface by the author's son and Tsuji Culinary Institute Director Yoshiki Tsuji. Beautifully illustrated with eight pages of new color photos and over 500 drawings, and containing 230 traditional recipes as well as detailed explanations of ingredients, kitchen utensils, techniques and cultural aspects of Japanese cuisine, this edition continues the Tsuji legacy of bringing the Japanese kitchen within the reach of Western cooks.

Japanese food was virtually unknown in many Western cities in the 1980s, when Shizuo Tsujii wrote Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art. M.F.K. Fisher's introduction eloquently sets the stage for Tsujii's classic work. It may be the most thought-provoking piece ever written about Japanese food for non-Asians, pointing out how food and even the physical act of eating differ from what they are in Japan. Tsujii's writing is clear and educational. He talks specifically to a Western, non-Asian audience, demonstrating far more awareness of our culinary preferences and prejudices than most Westerners have for his. Following the preface (which should not be skipped), an arrangement of color photos of key ingredients and dishes sets the scene. Next, part 1 provides a thorough explanation of techniques for Japanese cooking and instructions for making all the basic elements of dishes. These "lessons" cover cutting vegetables, steaming, grilling, and deep frying the Japanese way, and even how to make sushi. Recipes cover Basic Vinegar Salad Dressings, Sushi Rice, and Teriyaki. To prepare Vinegared Octopus, a complete series of drawings clearly demonstrates each step.

Part 2 consists solely of recipes. Gather together fresh ginger, soy sauce, the sweet wine mirin , sake, and rice vinegar and you can make many of them. Beginners might start with Deep Fried Chicken Patties, Steak Teriyaki, Tortoise Shell Tofu, simply bathed in a tasty sauce, and Asparagus Rice, a light and colorful dish. Because of its combination of background information, comprehensive recipes, and excellent instructions, Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art will always remain an important book for learning about this simple yet complex cuisine. --Dana Jacobi

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Item Specifications...

Pages   508
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 10.24" Width: 7.48" Height: 1.57"
Weight:   2.91 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Feb 16, 2007
Publisher   Kodansha International
ISBN  4770030495  
ISBN13  9784770030498  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks
2Books > Subjects > Cooking, Food & Wine > Gastronomy > General
3Books > Subjects > Cooking, Food & Wine > General
4Books > Subjects > Cooking, Food & Wine > Regional & International > Asian > Japanese
5Books > Subjects > Cooking, Food & Wine > Regional & International > International

Reviews - What do customers think about Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art?

From Osaka With Love  May 17, 2008
This is the only Japanese cookbook you will ever need. As other reviewers have already mentioned, it is indeed "the Bible of Japanese cooking."
A little bit about me, I first feel in love with Japanese cooking at the age of 8, when for my birthday, my parents took me to Joto's Japanese restaurant and I tried Sukiyaki. The sauce was to die for. The sauce won me over more than the ingredients inside the pot.
I just had to know how to cook it so luckily for me there was a Japanese market nearby. I went inside a bought Japanese Cuisine for Everyone by Yukiko Moriyama. It was ok for the time. It does contain actual photographs of all the sauce bottles and packages of dried foods that you need to find. It can be hard to locate items at the market and the pictures helped in the beginning. Then, years later, I bought Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat by Naomi Moriyama. It does have some traditional recipes mixed in with fusion cooking. Recently I bought Japanese Homestyle Cooking by Tokiko Suzuki and Harumi's Japanese Cooking by Harumi Kurihaara. Someone let me borrow an old book from Time Life books in the Foods of the World series called The Cooking of Japan. I have looked through the Nobu cookbook and it is filled with wonderful pictures but the recipes are hard for the average cook. That said, Tsuji's Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art towers above all others in content, detailed descriptions, cutting techniques, meal planning, and how to put together lunches and dinners based on the seasons. Other books have the aboved mentioned information but not on the level of Tsuji. Its like comparing the novels of Jane Austen to those of Danielle Steel. Both are romantic writers but only one is a genuis whose works stand the test of time.
Now in its 25th Anniversary, not much revising was needed, according to the author's son, you can see real Japanese cooking without all the added fusion cooking of today.
I do agree with Tsuji in his introduction where he writes, "With a Japanese recipe, however, unless you have been to this country and eaten the food, you will probably have little idea of what you will be aiming at." Despite the fact that sushi bars are everywhere and numerous Japanese restaurants are popping up, I feel dissatisfied everytime I go to a Japanese restuarant in the Tampa Bay area. Ok the sushi is good for the most part, if you avoid the California and cucumber rolls, but the main dishes are usually sub par. Each time I look at the menu and see Teriyaki Chicken or Steak I cringe. Its just not what I'm looking for. I'm sure America does have real Japanese resturants like Rangetsu in Orlando that cater to Japanese tourists or in other places like LA or NYC. I'm baised because I'm spoiled. I lived in Osaka, Japan for three years and Osaka has to be one of the great food cities, along with Kyoto, in all of Japan. Tokyo does have excellent food and the giant crab in Hokkaido is great but there's something about the food in Kansai that is extraordinary.
I lived with a Japanese host family for 1-year. Often on Saturdays, if I had no other plans, we would go to the supermarket to pick out things for the whole family. I got first hand experience on how to pick what kind of fish and why and how to buy various ingredients.
Then she would cook and I would sneak around the corner and watch. Sometimes I didn't think she wanted me to see how to cook so I was always quiet. Then I would slip back to my room and write it all down.
Also, you could wander around Osaka and just happen to find little soba and udon stands, kaiten 100-yen sushi, ramen restaurants, sukiyaki shops, shabu-shabu, Yakiniku grills, and my own personal favorite, Okonomiyaki (seafood pancake) where your table is a grill and you make and cook Okonomiyaki yourself. Staying 3-years in Osaka, I never had bad food even at the occasional trips to Wendy's or MacDonalds. Ok with that in mind, Japanese Cooking shows most of the stuff I learned from my host mother, plus the Osaka-style of Sukiyaki that I ate at many different restaurants in Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, and all the foods that I tried in the Kansai area. It goes far beyond all my experiences with my host mother, reading various cookbooks, and learning how to cook simple dishes from different Japanese girlfriends.(When I would visit a Japanese girl at her apartment, I would cook for the most part.) I wish I would have read this book before going to Osaka because all kinds of doors would have opened up that I didn't even see at the time.
Overall the single best Japanese cookbook out there.
Perfect for anyone serious about cooking Japanese foods.  Mar 30, 2008
I wanted a book with a lot of information and recipes. Too many cook books are filled with pictures, and empty of information. This book is the opposite. Don't expect many photos, do expect lots of information. The author gives you information about the food, about the preparation, and about the ingredients. It even gives you a little Japanese history as related to the food.
This is a must buy for anyone serious about cooking Japanese food.
Interesting Read  Jan 7, 2008
I purchased this for my daughter for Christmas. I took some time to browse through the book and found it full of interesting information in addition to recipes and directions on how to prepare ingredients. I was very impressed, as was my daughter.
Not Really so Simple  Dec 22, 2007
A beautiful book, clearly written, but the simple of the title is misleading. These are difficult, exacting recipes calling for both ingredients and kitchenware that require a search in specialty Japanese markets.
Best Japanese Cookbook  Oct 30, 2007
My wife and I bought this cookbook in Japan 25 years ago and have used it often since then. It is the best I've found on describing ingredients and how to do certain techniques especially making sushi rice.

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