Saturday, December 19, 2015

Book Review: Preserving the Japanese Way

Following the immense success of her first book, Japanese Farm Food, author Nancy Singleton Hachisu introduces her newest work of art, Preserving the Japanese Way: Traditions of Salting, Fermenting and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen (Andres McMeel Publishing; August 2015; Hardcover; $40.00).  Hachisu offers a clear road map for preserving fruits vegetables, and fish through a nonscientific, farmer-or fisherman-centric approach that is easy to integrate into any cooking repertoire.

For an authentic view of the inner circle of Japanese life, Hachisu documents the day-top-day operations of a barrel maker, artisanal vinegar company, 100-year-old sake producer, and traditional morning pickle markets where local grandmothers still sell their wares.  

An essential backdrop to the 125 recipes outlined in Preserving the Japanese Way are the producers and artisanal products used to make salted and fermented foods. Preserving the Japanese Way is about community, seasonality as the root of preserved food, and ultimately about why both are relevant in lives today.

Preserving the Japanese Way features simple and straightforward recipes like Shishito Peppers Sauteed with Miso and Ginger to richer and more nuanced recipes—still simply prepared-like Pork Belly Simmered with Daikon and Leeks. 
With entire chapters devoted to Soy Sauce or Fish Sauce, Rice Vinegar and Sake, Preserving the Japanese Way is true to the multi-layered meaning of its title and complete in its study of the ancient and traditional methods of Japanese preserving.
Nancy Singleton Hachisu has lived with her Japanese farmer husband and three sons in their 80-year-old traditional farmhouse for the last 26 years in rural Japan, where she served as leader of a local Slow Food convivium for more than a decade.  Her first book JAPANESE FARM FOOD (Andrews McMeel Publishing; September 2012), was praised by The New York Times, London Times, LA Times and more.  TBS and Fuji TV are currently documenting Hachisu’s preserving and farm food life in rural Saitama as well as her visits to artisanal producers in more remote areas of Japan.
A fabulous book for any kitchen and history and food lover!

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