This is one of the gems in my cookbook library. It is not a typical cookery book as such, although it does contain some 200 recipes. Rather, it is a compendium of articles on 100 basic ingredients in Japanese cuisine all categorized under 14 different headings. Each item is nicely illustrated and accompanied by a useful, detailed explanatory text and each entry includes a couple of recipes using the ingredient in question. In addition, there is a good introductory chapter about Japanese culture and cuisine as well as many beautiful photographs detailing scenes from Japan. Ultimately, it is not a book for the casual cook but it is the sort of publication that all serious foodies will love to browse through.
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Not only do you learn about the various ingredients which are indigenous to the country, and essential to their cuisine but it is a trip thoughout the country, through pictures and text to the wonderful sights and aromas of this mysterious land. Familiar foods are prepared in totally different ways, and new ones are there to explore. With the advent of many ethnic food shops and open markets catering to many different cuisines one is now able to put a Japanese dish on your own table. Good reading without cooking as well.