author

 
 

Meta

Rick Lapointe
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Dec 2, 2001
Gearing up for the New Year
During the busy season, it is not uncommon for a chef to set up a cot in the backroom and take his or her precious few hours of sleep right in the restaurant. In many hotels, it is common policy as well to give rooms to the chefs when there are less than eight-hour turnarounds between clocking out and...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Nov 25, 2001
A hodgepodge that really hits the spot
It's a cold evening and the salarymen are stopping off on their home from a long day of work at open-air stalls to down a cup or two of warm sake and a few pieces of oden — slowly simmered daikon, hard-boiled eggs and tofu, among other things.
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Nov 18, 2001
Kawatare : a fleeting taste of twilight
What's in a name? Often, for a restaurant, a lot rides on the naming of dishes. There is a science — and a whole consulting industry — devoted to food-item names and their placement on menus. Cooks everywhere, even before it became a science, have labored to find names suitable for their...
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Nov 11, 2001
The days of eating dangerously
Whatever caused the first guy to figure out how to eat a blowfish and live — an attempt to impress a girl or perhaps a wealthy patron — we may never know, but we can be grateful that he did.
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Nov 4, 2001
When everyone gets in on the act
The father of a good friend told me a story about coming to Japan for the first time in the mid-'80s to attend a large conference. On their last day in Tokyo, he and several colleagues decided to splurge at a traditional fine-dining restaurant and experience true Japanese fare.
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Oct 28, 2001
We're talking real tofu
It is said that one of the key differences between the East and the West is the way things are perceived and subsequently named. Without denying the importance of appearances in the West, in Japan, the way that something looks is often more important than what it actually comprises — and this is...
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Oct 21, 2001
The satisifying taste of less is more
At its finest hour, the Japanese food served at the old inns and tea houses of Kyoto is so elegant and delicate that it almost becomes homeopathic. Like the doctor who follows the homeopathic principle — the less medicine prescribed, the better the results — chefs in the well-worn kitchens...
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Oct 14, 2001
Fresh every day of the week
Last year, well-known New York chef Anthony Bourdain published "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly," a scathing yet passionate book on the inner workings of a professional restaurant kitchen. In the tome he tells tales and anecdotes drawn from the personal lives and kitchen habits...
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Oct 7, 2001
Salted mackerel will reel 'em in every time
Probably the biggest challenge I faced as a young apprentice in a traditional Japanese restaurant was cooking two meals a day — lunch and dinner — for the 60-year-old chef and his wife. The challenge was twofold: I had to make something that would please the finicky palate of a man who had...
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Sep 30, 2001
Holy mackerel! That's quite a fish!
Above the counter of the small kappo-style restaurant where I apprenticed hung a small scroll inscribed with a seasonal poem that was changed at the beginning of every month. In October, the simple verse read, "Aki no saba, Wakasa umare, Kyo sodachi. (The autumn mackerel, born in Wakasa, raised in Kyoto)."...
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Sep 23, 2001
A new kama meshi treat every season
Kama meshi is rice (meshi) cooked in individual little pots (kama) and often served table side directly from the cooking vessel. Seen since the late 1800s in Tokyo, this dish appears as a popular train station bento boxed lunch. The home-style version, takikomi gohan, is often prepared in an electric...
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Sep 16, 2001
Help heal the spirit with comfort food
After watching live the two towers of the World Trade Center come down — the blessing and the curse of modern technology and communications — and spending a very sleepless night filling my head with the horrific images of the aftermath, I slipped away to the otherworldliness of a quiet Zen...
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Sep 9, 2001
Grater expectations
Oroshigane, traditional Japanese graters, come in all shapes and sizes. From orosu (to grate or cut) and kane (metal or metal tool), this kitchen essential was originally made exclusively of copper or steel. Now stainless steel, aluminum and plastic predominate, but one can still find graters made of...
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Sep 2, 2001
Kitchen tools that you can trust
In kitchens around the world, there are dozens of gadgets cluttering the walls and drawers, not to mention the precious counter space. Some people simply must have the latest lemon-juicer to add to their collection of 12, while others are on a never-ending quest for the perfect garlic press.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY
Sep 2, 2001
Reflections on Buddhist soul food
I have always believed cooking is more religion than art. We expect our artists to entertain us and elicit emotion. What we ask most of all of our chefs and our spiritual leaders, however, is that they soothe us.
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Aug 26, 2001
Cuts above appliance-aided cuisine
During my first days of apprenticeship in a traditional Japanese restaurant, I was surprised by the noticeable lack of electrical outlets on the walls of the small Osaka kappo eatery. This scarcity soon proved not to be a problem given the dearth of small electric appliances that dominate professional...
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Aug 19, 2001
May we live long on beans and rice
On the first of every month, I get out the glutinous rice and soak the adzuki beans. Though New Year's Day is the only first of the month that is a formal holiday, thus mandating the celebratory sekihan (red beans and rice), there is a certain pleasure to welcoming each one with this favorite dish and...
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Aug 12, 2001
Kakigori: a close shave doused in sweet syrup
This week my local shrine, Ishikiri Jinja (a destination for pilgrims seeking the healing of various unwanted growths), hosted its annual fireworks-filled summer festival. The pilgrim road was lined for several kilometers with stalls selling the usual summer-fair wares and, of course, the traditional...
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Aug 5, 2001
The king of mushrooms rules in fall
During these soggiest dog days of high summer it seems as if fall is a dream that might never come. But as the fresh foods that appear on the market shelves remind us, the seasons roll on, and soon we will enjoy the crisp fall air and colorful maple and ginkgo trees. The first sign of impending autumn,...
LIFE / Food & Drink / THE WAY OF WASHOKU
Jul 29, 2001
Hit the sweet spot with eel on the grill
Hunting up and down side-street stalls during the annual Gion Festival, I was looking for one thing. Okonomiyaki pancakes, griddle-fried yakisoba noodles and even little charred yakitori chicken skewers are fine for your average summer festival, but wasting your time on such trivialities at this Kyoto...

Longform

Father's Day is said to have come to Japan around 1950, shortly after the establishment of Mother's Day.
The evolving nature of fatherhood in Japan