Why not just add a dollop of mayonnaise?

| Mar 22, 2013

Why not just add a dollop of mayonnaise?

Newcomers to Japan are often a little taken aback by the many decidedly non-Japanese condiments, such as ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, that are used in everyday cooking. And in particular mayonnaise: Usually reserved for sandwiches, salad dressing and dipping sauces for chilled seafood in ...

| Dec 28, 2012

Savor the symbolism at New Year's

New Year’s is the most important holiday on the Japanese calendar. And as befitting such an important festival, the food traditionally served is lavish and elaborate. At the centerpiece of the New Year’s feast, which traditionally went on for as long as seven days, ...

Fresh soba flour is fall's precious prize

| Nov 23, 2012

Fresh soba flour is fall's precious prize

The obsession with fresh, seasonal food in Japan extends to things that you may not even think of as having seasons, such as dried flour. Shin-soba-ko (new fall-harvest buckwheat flour, used in soba noodles) is eagerly anticipated every year by Japanese gourmets. While soba ...

The bittersweet taste of Japanese words

| Aug 27, 2012

The bittersweet taste of Japanese words

A little while ago a friend of mine who’s been living in Japan for few weeks texted me in a bit of a dither, saying, “This guy I barely know said I was sweet! Is he coming on to me?” It turns out the ...

<em>Umeboshi</em>: perfect in any culinary pickle

May 25, 2012

Umeboshi: perfect in any culinary pickle

Japanese cuisine has more than its share of acquired tastes, and umeboshi are near the top of the list. Intensely sour and salty, these traditional tsukemono (pickles) are prepared over several weeks, starting in June when the fruits of the ume tree are ripe, ...