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Rick Lapointe
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Apr 18, 2003
The air is clear and the food gives cheer
Now in my early 30s, I find myself no longer able to just pick up and head off for a break. Ten years ago, my friends and I would take off anywhere, just about anytime. One of our last considerations — being in motion was the first — was what to do when we got there or what to eat when the...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Apr 4, 2003
You win some, you lose some
Last Saturday I cooked behind the counter of my friend Kiyomi's small restaurant on the outskirts of Kyoto City. One of his good customers was having a birthday gathering and Kiyomi's mother, who typically helps out on days like this, was in the hospital with pneumonia.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Mar 28, 2003
Goodness gracious, great balls of rice
Just 60 years ago, preparing food was a time-consuming process that for some — mainly the suburban housewife — could occupy much of the day. Though we had long since progressed from hunter-gathering and industrialization had created a class of consumers rather than producers of food, keeping the...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Mar 21, 2003
Nyumen: Warming noodles are just the ticket
The other day we lined up for standing-room tickets to see the grand sumo tournament here in Osaka. It must have been 10 years since I had attended a tournament — it only comes to Osaka once a year.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Mar 7, 2003
Savor slow food in a fast-food world
There are not enough purists left in the food world. In the West, and no less here in the East, food is gradually moving toward the indistinguishable middle. The globally homogenized products of contemporary fashion, music, art and architecture can be created and received interchangeably in most of the...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Feb 21, 2003
Good home cooking in a category all by itself
Being an enthusiastic consumer of home cooking, or sharing your home with a skilled culinarian, is no guarantee that you'll ever be able to cook decent food for yourself. Three good meals a day sometimes only serve to make one a good eater.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Feb 14, 2003
Ultra-sweet treats to round off a kaiseki feast
The best way to close an impeccable kaiseki meal is perhaps a piece of seasonal, perfectly ripe fruit. A small pile of peeled Concord grapes or a honey-sweet muskmelon signal the time of year and leave the palate clean and refreshed. There are, however, a few popular washoku desserts that may be prepared...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Jan 31, 2003
Rice works well as a finale or as the main event
When dining at a fine Japanese restaurant, after the raw, fried, vinegared, steamed and simmered courses, if you still have room, the final savory course of rice — gohanmono — appears. It might also be called o-shokuji, or simply meshi, the colloquial word for rice.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Dec 13, 2002
Even classics can be improved
As a mercenary chef — jumping from kitchen to kitchen, to help out for a few days or to just observe — I've picked up new and interesting ways to approach the things I've done so many times before. Even the best dish from the best chef needs an occasional reworking. Last year's plates and...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Dec 6, 2002
Rice vinegar is key to the pause that refreshes
I must admit I have never been a huge fan of televised sports. Most holidays, growing up in the eastern United States, I was in the kitchen, either cooking or dispensing advice on food and otherwise.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Nov 24, 2002
Many different ways to play the frying game
One of the most popular washoku dishes — among Japanese and foreigners alike — is tempura. Diners seem to enjoy delicately batter-fried shrimp or fish and the dozens of vegetable combinations.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Nov 10, 2002
Delicate pauses to refresh
There are really two kinds of restaurants.
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Nov 3, 2002
A special sauce that can travel anywhere
Not too long ago I had a chance to shrink a gap in cultural understanding. A regular customer had brought his young grandchild in to eat one afternoon, and he was eager to have the talkative boy engage me in conversation.
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Oct 27, 2002
The fish, my friend, can be dried in the wind
In empty lots close to the piers of small fishing towns, up and down the coast of Japan, stand huge drying racks, hung heavy with the gutted, cleaned and butterflied morning catch. Empty, these racks look like a fantastical gymnastic apparatus. Fully laden, they resemble rows of clotheslines strung with...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Oct 20, 2002
Straight from the grill to the kitchen table
An expertly grilled fish stands out as one of the simplest to prepare — and most satisfying — dishes to complement crisp tsukemono pickles, a comforting bowl of miso soup and the staple of steaming hot rice. There are many incarnations of grilled fish in Japan. Almost every home is equipped...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Oct 13, 2002
Ni-mono is a many-splendored comfort food
When we first eat outside of the family kitchen, we realize that there is a whole different world of flavors out there. Most of the time, however, the flavors we end up longing for are the comforting tastes of the hearth that nurtured us. It's funny that even when we encounter the same dish, in new versions...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Oct 6, 2002
Simmered veggies just like mama used to make
In a traditional Japanese restaurant's kitchen, the head chef — the oya-kata, literally the boss — wields the knife and rules the cutting board. He watches and directs each phase of food preparation, beginning with the early-morning procurement of fish. Standing close to the chef and performing...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Sep 22, 2002
Yes, you too can roll your own raw fish at home
...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Sep 15, 2002
For that rare occasion, why not try conger eel?
...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Sep 8, 2002
Tataki : a tasty starter created in a flash
After the hors d'oeuvre course is served, the first dish presented in a traditional Japanese meal is most often a course of raw fish or other meat. The general term for this course is o-tsukuri. The root of the word, tsukuru, means to make, create or — if you read into the meaning — to arrange....

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