Books / Reviews

Preserving the Japanese Way: A guide to traditional fermentation and culture in Japan

by Kris Kosaka

Special To The Japan Times

Nancy Singleton Hachisu, a local slow food advocate and writer for The Japan Times, has released her newest cookbook, “Preserving the Japanese Way,” which follows the winning formula of her first book, “Japanese Farm Food.”

Preserving the Japanese, by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
400 pages
Andrews McMeel Publishing, Nonfiction.

It’s loaded with gorgeous photographs by Kenji Miura and informative slice-of-life essays complementing her clear recipes, which feature extensive glossaries and recommendations for stocking your pantry. This cookbook encourages a different approach to food and living in its focus on Japanese “traditions of salting, fermenting and pickling for the modern kitchen.”

Recipes are organized by preserving mediums or similar ingredients. Chapters range from the basics of “Salt, Wind and Sea” to the more sophisticated “Koji, Sake lees and Rice bran.” Hachisu shares methods for making homemade Japanese staples such as miso, tofu and nattō (fermented soy beans), as well as various pickling methods for fruits and vegetables. Her essay topics range from a philosophical discussion of gender in farming communities to the joys of making handmade paper. And throughout, she shares her decades of experience from living in an 85-year-old Japanese farmhouse. Try her “Avocado with Shio Koji Dressing,” “Fish Sauce Fried Rice” or “Soy Sauce-soused Steak.”

Yet even without the recipes, the book is a delightful reflection on both a time past and a potential future: A slower, more present life where all you need for savory delicacies is time and a little salt.