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Rick Lapointe
For Rick Lapointe's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Sep 1, 2002
Let the seasons shine through aemono
The most common aemono (dressed salads) are: shira-ae, the tofu-based dressing that we looked at last week; goma-ae, a simple sesame dressing; and finally miso-ae, miso dressing. I presented a version of miso-ae — vinegared and with mustard — when I wrote about the little firefly-like hotaru-ika...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Aug 25, 2002
Well, for starters, there's the shira-ae
The first course in a Japanese formal meal is often called the tsuki-dashi or the saki-zuke — either word referring to the small dish that comes out automatically when a guest sits down. It corresponds roughly with the idea of amuse bouche, or little mouth-pleasers, in Western cooking. Often these...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Aug 18, 2002
Quick kitchen revision before term begins
Washoku is a feeling as much as it is a style of cooking or a way of seasoning. Mastering basic techniques — no matter what the season or the ingredients used — and developing the confidence to adapt recipes will help you to incorporate the style into your own cooking repertoire.
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Aug 4, 2002
For a little taste of home that's not from home
There are three smells that I associate with summer in Japan: the scent of katorisenko — the green, spiral-shaped incense that is used to ward off pesky mosquitoes; the sweet-sticky smell of the colored syrup in seasonal kaki-gori shaved-ice shops; and the odors of yatai outdoor food stalls —...
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Jul 28, 2002
As you like it, and you will
I was an adventurous kid, but that didn't make it easier for me to eat my first cabbage pancake. I encountered the overstuffed okonomi-yaki — a griddle-fried savory pancake — one Saturday afternoon at the temple-cum-community center in Northern California, where I took Japanese-language classes....
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Jul 21, 2002
Great big balls of octopus — easy on the sauce
I have a love/hate relationship with takoyaki. I really like the little dumplings but I'm opposed to anything being drowned in too much sauce, and the trend, especially at summer festivals, is to slather on too much of that gooey, brown Bulldog sauce.
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Jul 14, 2002
Fishing around for ready-to-eat street food
Utter silence — Piercing the stone walls, The cicada's cry — Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Jul 7, 2002
Rooting for the nutritious fruits of the earth
Fall is the season for the tubers in the taro family, but the stalks of several taro are just coming to their midsummer peak. In Japan, these taro stalks are referred to as zuiki in general, and they feature prominently on the classic summer washoku menu.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Jun 30, 2002
Spice it up, with a little or a lot of heat
Globally the most common spice or flavor-enhancing element used today is the chili pepper. Chilies are used raw, cooked or pickled as a vegetable or dried (ground into a powder or reconstituted) as a seasoning in almost every corner of the world. There are thousands of varieties of chili peppers employed...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Jun 23, 2002
You too can take the natto challenge
Several years ago NHK broadcast an exhaustive special on natto, containing more than you ever cared to know about that much-maligned sticky, stinky dish of fermented soybeans. One of the exciting pieces of information that NHK's crack investigative journalism revealed was the number of times required...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Jun 16, 2002
Big world sprouts from tiny grains of rice
When you travel between one small town and another in Japan often the panorama is a vast plain of flooded fields or a towering terraced mountain of rice paddies. In early June, up and down the Japanese archipelago, rice has been planted and the glistening paddies are teeming with life. Along with the...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Jun 9, 2002
Yasai no Yoshino-ni: Now here's some real food for thought . . .
This past week I tagged along with veteran New York Times food writer Elizabeth Andoh to Hakuun'an, a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant and teahouse associated with Manpukuji Temple near Uji City in Kyoto Prefecture. Manpukuji is the head temple of the Obaku sect of Zen Buddhism, Japan's third largest after...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Jun 2, 2002
In a pinch, these will do just fine
More than 50 families of crab, numbering thousands of species, thrive in practically all parts of the globe. Most crab species are marine and live in salt water or the brackish waters of bays, lagoons and river deltas. A relatively small number have adapted themselves to completely freshwater life-cycles...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
May 26, 2002
You say tomato, we say delicious
As summer starts to roll out its smothering blanket of heat across Japan, the markets begin to fill with some of the best produce of the year. Though tomatoes are now often grown in hothouses and available year-round, they are at their best when raised outdoors during the months when the sun beats down,...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
May 19, 2002
Time is ripe for the taste of Old World fruit
The flowers of an eggplant, like the wisdom of a parent, will never mislead you. — Japanese proverb
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
May 12, 2002
High fives for the best kind of Japanese food
There are five sets of five rules one must consider when attempting to make traditional Japanese food: the five colors (goshiki); the five methods (goho); the five flavors (gomi); the five senses (gokan); and finally the five viewpoints/considerations (gokan no mon), a Buddhist treatise on the proper...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
May 5, 2002
Now is the season to indulge your shellfish gene
For thousands of years, populations living close to the sea have found shellfish an easily obtainable and convenient source of protein and trace minerals. Shellfish is the general term for crustaceans (shrimp, crab, lobster) and mollusks (clams, oysters, squid and octopuses). All of these shellfish (kokakurui...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Apr 28, 2002
Japan grows some mean beans
Legumes are a family of flowering plants of more than 18,000 varieties, including peas, beans, lentils and peanuts. They grow on almost every continent except Antarctica and range from dwarf herbs in alpine climes to massive trees in the tropical forest. The species that are rich in fiber, protein, iron...
COMMUNITY
Apr 21, 2002
Fine fare from them there hills
In Japan, the woods traditionally have been imagined to be the epitome of all that is unknown and fearsome in nature -- dark, enchanted places inhabited by magical foxes and raccoon dogs that children are made to fear from an early age.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Apr 21, 2002
Let us go fiddlehead foragin', but carefully
A fiddlehead, that small plant that grows in the Saint John River Valley in the spring, and which is said to be symbolic of the sun. — Alfred Bailey

Longform

Things may look perfect to the outside world, but today's mom is fine with some imperfection at home.
How 'Reiwa moms' are reshaping motherhood in Japan