we touched this same spot with our hands, our feet, our gaze and our dreams

Monday, October 25, 2010

Celebrating Japan's vegan and vegetarian traditions

Few people have done as much to help Western audiences understand Japanese food as Elizabeth Andoh. In “Kansha,” her follow-up to 2005’s award-winning “Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen,” the former Gourmet magazine correspondent casts her eye over the country’s neglected tradition of vegan cuisine.
Like her earlier books, “Kansha”  (appreciation) isn’t content merely to list recipes, but offers an entire philosophy of cooking, focusing not only on nutrition but also avoiding waste and sustaining natural resources. Its pages are littered with advice on ways to use parts of vegetables that you’d normally throw away, alongside a wealth of tips on preparation, cooking and storage.
The detailed instructions accompanying each recipe mean that it’s hard to botch things up, and the titles alone are the stuff of mouth-watering daydreams: pop-pom sushi, slithery somen noodles, chrysanthemum greens in nutty tofu sauce, fiddlehead ferns steeped in soy-tinged broth… Veggie nirvana.
“Kansha: Celebrating Japan’s Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions.” Available from major bookstores and Amazon Japan.

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