When I arrived in Japan in the mid-1960s, one of my earliest encounters with Japanese food was a dish my mother-in-law would prepare late in the spring: tender takenoko (bamboo shoots) and newly harvested fronds of wakame (brown seaweed) simmered together in a smoky, soy-tinged broth.

Like many women born in the late Meiji Era (1868-1912), my mother-in-law ate a primarily plant-based diet. One of her exceptions was this dish with smoky stock made by double-infusing kelp broth with katsuobushi (bonito fish flakes). Known as "takenoko no Tosa ni" (literally, “bamboo shoots simmered in the style of Tosa,” a reference to the town of Tosa, Kochi Prefecture) and garnished with peppery sprigs of kinome plucked from the sanshō bush that grew near the back entrance to the Andoh family house in rural Shikoku, this is the dish that hooked me on the traditional Japanese ways of the washoku kitchen.

Pairing terrestrial and marine foods in the same dish is described as “umi no sachi, yama no sachi” (bounty of the ocean, bounty of the land). It is one of several washoku guidelines for creating a healthy, eco-friendly lifestyle.