Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions Hardcover – Oct 19 2010
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“The kansha lifestyle asks for us to slow down and be more deliberate, and to cultivate an awareness of our surroundings, the seasons and the nature of our own appetites. How refreshing and wise!”
“The word "kansha" means "appreciation," and there's much to appreciate with Elizabeth Andoh's celebration of Japanese vegan and vegetarian traditions. Andoh, who was Gourmet magazine's Japan correspondent for more than three decades, offers more than 100 recipes, many of them complicated enough for experienced cooks looking for a good challenge.”
—Portland Oregonian, Best of 2010, 12/21/10
“Because any cookbook by Elizabeth Andoh deserves a long, thoughtful look. Her latest, Kansha, is an elegant spread of vegan and vegetarian Japanese dishes, as narrated in her characteristic cultural history discovery tone.”
—LA Weekly, Squid Ink blog, Top 10 Cookbook And Drink Gift Pairings, 12/14/10
“It’s great to open up a cookbook and absorb all the years and effort that an author puts into the publication. If you’re into Japanese, vegan, or vegetarian cooking, Elizabeth Andoh’s Kansha should be in your collection. She writes with humor and utmost care because she wants you to understand and appreciate Japanese food traditions. The recipe collection is full of insights that she accumulated during her decades in Japan. . . . Kansha captures the culinary distinctions and artful aspects of Japanese cuisine. The food tastes good too!”
—Andrea Nguyen, Viet World Kitchen, 2010 Cookbook Picks, 12/11/10
"Kansha brings the abundance of possibilities plant foods offer into focus without dwelling on the absence of others, a more delicate, embracing approach. I’ve come away from this book with the feeling that Kansha, both the book and the word, embody a spirit that moves more from the heart and less from the brain. Above all it expresses grace. I was thinking of grace as in gracefulness, but it could also mean grace as in a state of grace, of gratitude, of giving thanks. This approach to vegan and vegetarian food involves a deep and subtle shift away from how we might usually approach dietary limits and choices."
“The Japanese-food expert expands vegans’ repertoire while making tofu appealing to all.”
—The New York Times Book Review, Web Extra: 25 More Cookbooks, 12/3/10
“Kansha is a large, lavish book, beautifully packaged and packed with foolproof recipes. More than that, though, it is a detailed compendium of Japanese food culture, making it the perfect gift for anyone interested in cooking and eating, irrespective of whether or not they are vegetarian.”
—The Japan Times, 12/2/10
“What's the vegetable equivalent of butcher's nose-to-tail, the meatless version of everything-but-the-squeal? In her latest cookbook, Kansha, Elizabeth Andoh explores the concept ichi motsu zen shoku (one food, used entirely), a Japanese vegan philosophy that means using every last bit of vegetables from frond-to-root. . . . Kansha is both a book and a concept worth exploring.”
"Andoh is one of the premier writers of Japanese cuisine and she explains the philosophy behind the thoughtful and considered food choices the Japanese make."
—FoxNews.com, The Fox Foodie: Sixteen Sweet Cookbooks, 11/30/10
"In a world of meatless Mondays, how does a sanctimonious foodie keep a leg up? Tokyo-based chef Elizabeth Andoh’s Kansha is a good place to start. Her recipes for creamy leek soup, sour soy-pickled ramps, and brown sugar ice are authentically Japanese and tasty enough for carnivores."
—DailyCandy, The Best New Fall Cookbooks, 11/12/10
"Because of the lack of books available on this topic, this will be much appreciated not only by vegetarians, vegans, and Japanese food enthusiasts but by any adventurous cook looking for a distinctive perspective on fresh, healthy food. Highly recommended, especially for vegetarians, vegans, and those interested in green living."
—Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW, 9/15/10
“Kansha is a beautiful collection of gentle, thrifty recipes, and a fascinating introduction to Japanese vegetarian cooking. Elizabeth Andoh writes with authority and an infectious love of Japan and its culinary traditions.”
—Fuchsia Dunlop, author of Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China
“What a fresh and deeply informative book. The recipes are beguiling, and at last I can make sense out of Japanese ingredients I’ve long found mystifying. But I especially love the sensibility of Kansha, an approach to life and to food that feels so right. By all means, don’t skip the introduction of this wonderful new book from Elizabeth Andoh.”
—Deborah Madison, author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Seasonal Fruit Desserts
“It is with deep appreciation and utmost joy that I welcome the arrival of Kansha. So much more than just a recipe compendium, this gorgeous work serves as an exquisite, thoroughly detailed, careful, and caring guide to the people, culture, and cuisine of Japan. Working through Elizabeth’s dishes, I felt lovingly guided and nurtured, expertly instructed, and, finally, deliciously nourished. Kansha is clearly the work of a lifetime of passionate study, and a wonderful gift for every cook and appreciator of Japanese cuisine. I am so very grateful for it.”
—Michael Romano, chef, author, and President of Culinary Development, Union Square Hospitality Group
“Andoh is at once lyrical and meticulous, taking the reader effortlessly from the profundities of Japanese culinary philosophy to practical and novel culinary techniques. Not just for vegans and vegetarians, Kansha is a veritable treasure trove for transforming even the humblest of vegetables into delicacies, and for exploring the full potential of rice, noodles, and tofu.”
—Rachel Laudan, food historian and author of The Food of Paradise: Exploring Hawaii’s Culinary Heritage
“I haven’t been so excited about a new cookbook in years. Andoh’s book, Kansha, has stirred me so—I cannot wait to get cooking. From premise to practice, Andoh’s personal lessons to the cook are engaging and valuable. Even people who have never been to Japan will relish the vegetable dishes and enjoy the stimulation, authority, and, above all, the array of Japanese dishes Kansha provides. For Japan hands like me, who’ve missed the pickles, sesame tofu, and soy skin delicacies, it is as though the teacher we’ve wanted is by our side, showing us we can make these foods from scratch ourselves, far from Japan. Kansha means appreciation, and Andoh has my undying gratitude.”
—Merry White, professor of food anthropology at Boston University
About the Author
ELIZABETH ANDOH is the American authority on Japanese cuisine. She has made Japan her home since 1967 and divides her time between Tokyo and Osaka, directing a culinary program called A Taste of Culture. Her book Washoku won the 2006 IACP Jane Grigson award for distinguished scholarship in food writing and was nominated for a James Beard Award.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Andoh's previous compendium, "Washoku," includes egg and meat-based dishes but "Kansha" enters the world of mock-mackerel sushi, goya (bitter melon) stirfry and steamed soy milk custard. Obtaining more obscure ingredients like burdock root and umeboshi (pickled plums) may prove difficult but, even if you never cook anything from the book, "Kansha" still provides a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in Japanese food and culture.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I was lucky enough to attend one of Elizabeth's Kansha workshops in Osaka shortly after the March 11 earthquake, and it was a much-needed chance to focus on appreciation (the English translation of "kansha") that my Japanese coworkers' and students' friends and families were safe. We made several of the recipes from Kansha around a hanami (cherry blossom viewing) theme, including Thick Fried Tofu & Broiled Tofu Braised with Root Vegetables, Simmered & Blanched Mountain Vegetables Tossed in Nutty Tofu Sauce. Rice with Salted Cherry Blossoms, Burdock and Wheat Strips in Dark Miso Broth, and Home-Made Nuka-Zuke. After the class, we went on a supermarket tour, where Elizabeth pointed out various types of sansai (wild mountain vegetables) and gave us a primer on soy sauces and basic pantry staples.
Despite the fact that the book is marketed as "Vegetarian and vegan traditions," Kansha is totally vegan (if you're looking for egg-based dishes like Japanese omelettes and chawanmushi, those can be found in Elizabeth's previous book Washoku). You'll find mock-mackerel sushi made from eggplant, light and springy cherry blossom rice, and a variety of pickles. There are some lovely regional recipes like goya (bitter melon), a popular vegetable from Okinawa, where it is commonly served in a stir-fry known as chanpuru. Yes, tofu gets its own chapter, but it's served in a variety of preparations that are commonly found in Japan, including a soymilk version of chawanmushi (steamed custard with savory bits of veggies), fried tofu (atsu age), yuba (rather substantial soymilk "skin"), and instructions on how to make your own tofu from soymilk. Varietal tofus (especially fried tofu skins used for inarizushi and in miso soup) may be near-impossible to find in your local grocery, but you can always fall back on that most Japanese staple of summer, hiyayakko: buy the highest-grade tofu you can find, cut into cubes, garnish with grated daikon, wasabi, or fresh grated ginger, drizzle with soy sauce and serve!
The book is gorgeously illustrated, and the recipes are very clearly laid out and explained step-by-step. The ingredient and kitchen tool section is excellent as well, but again, you will most likely have to mail-order many of the specialty items like rice molds, miso strainers, etc. I've ordered from Korin.com; they have a wide selection of imported Japanese tableware and kitchen tools.
The biggest challenge that home cooks will face is finding authentic fresh Japanese ingredients like mitsuba and shiso (herbs), burdock root, and takenoko (baby bamboo shoots) and prepared ingredients like dried seaweed (most US stores only carry nori sheets for sushi, but there are many common varieties in Japan, like hijiki, kombu, and wakame), umeboshi (pickled plums), and seasonings (unfortunately, our Japanese market did stock konnyaku, my most loathed Japanese ingredient; imagine a squiggly, translucent, chewy block of tasteless speckled jello).
I'm lucky in that my city has not one, but several Japanese markets and a large network of Japanese, but it's still difficult (and extremely expensive) to buy these ingredients in the US (I miss my local Heiwado grocery store in Japan!). Unfortunately, these recipes call for very specific ingredients without American substitutions, so for some Kansha may end up as a beautiful coffee table book. It's a beautiful volume and fine companion to Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen, which includes Japanese fish, meat and egg dishes, and vegetarians, vegans, and Japanophiles should certainly add this to their collection. If you're looking specifically for Japanese Buddhist temple cuisine (which is vegan), The Enlightened Kitchen: Fresh Vegetable Dishes from the Temples of Japan covers that niche in greater detail.
Ms. Andoh is an international treasure. One reviewer compared her to Julia Child, but I see Ms. Andoh more as another M.F.K. Fisher for her stunning prose and her approach to cooking and eating as a celebration of life. Check out her websites: [...] and [...]