Why not add a little booze?

| May 20, 2014

Why not add a little booze?

Mirin is a staple of Japanese kitchens, yet few people know what it actually is. Although these days it’s thought of solely as a cooking ingredient, mirin was originally regarded as an expensive, high-class beverage. It was the tipple of choice of wealthy ladies, ...

Springtime for bamboo

| Apr 15, 2014

Springtime for bamboo

Few plants are as useful as bamboo. A member of the grass family, it is fast growing and very prolific given the right growing conditions, which makes it eco-friendly too. The bamboo plant is indispensable in the Japanese kitchen, where every part of it ...

Juiced for a citrus winter

| Jan 14, 2014

Juiced for a citrus winter

One of my favorite winter pastimes growing up was to snuggle under the futon covering a kotatsu (heated table), doing my homework or watching TV, as I methodically worked my way through a big bowl of Satsuma mikan, the little oval-shaped oranges that are ...

Demand booming for artisanal rice

| Nov 21, 2013

Demand booming for artisanal rice

Rice farmers in Japan are under siege. Heavily protected on various levels by the central government for decades, they’ve seen the market for their precious crop eroded by cheaper imported rice, and the administration of Shinzo Abe is proposing ending production-rationing and subsidies. It ...

Food tradition with a long shelf life

| Oct 24, 2013

Food tradition with a long shelf life

A type of speciality food store that has almost disappeared from the streets of Japan is the kanbutsu-ya (dried-foods store). These days we can get fresh produce all year round, but that wasn't the case before canning and refrigeration became widespread.