by Shizuo Tsuji
Since its release twenty-five years ago, Shizuo Tsuji's encyclopedic and authoritative work has been the acknowledged "bible" of Japanese cooking. Unrivaled in its comprehensive explanation of ingredients, tools, and techniques, the book guides readers through recipes with clear prose, while technical points are made understandable with deftly executed line drawings.
Much more than a collection of recipes, the cookbook is a masterful treatise on Japanese cuisine. In his preface, the author (who was truly a Renaissance man of Japanese and world gastronomy) discusses the essence of Japanese cooking, with its emphasis on simplicity, balance of textures, colors, and flavors, seasonal freshness, and artful presentation.
M. F. K. Fisher's introduction to the 1980 edition is a not-to-be-missed work of food writing. A new foreword by Ruth Reichl and an additional preface by Tsuji Culinary Institute president Yoshiki Tsuji provide culinary and historical context for the 25th Anniversary Edition. Eight pages of vibrant new color photographs illustrate over seventeen finished dishes.
After introducing ingredients and utensils, the twenty chapters that make up Part One consist of lessons presenting all the basic Japanese cooking methods and principal types of prepared foods—making soup, slicing sashimi, grilling, simmering, steaming, noodles, sushi, pickles, and so on—with accompanying basic recipes. Part Two features 130 carefully selected recipes that range from everyday fare to intriguing challenges for the adventurous cook. Together with the recipes in Part One, these allow the cook to build a repertoire of dishes ranging from the basic "soup and three" formula to a gala banquet.
Still the foremost source book of cooking concepts and recipes from Japan, the 25th Anniversary Edition of Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art invites a new generation of readers to take a journey to the heart of one of the world's great culinary traditions.
Shizuo Tsuji (1933-1993) was born into a family that operated a traditional confectionery and graduated from prestigious Waseda University in Tokyo with a degree in French Literature. He worked first as a reporter for the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper and then in 1960 established the Tsuji Culinary Institute in Osaka to train professional chefs (now the largest such school in Japan). After extensive training in Japanese cooking, he studied the cooking of the greatest chefs in France. The French government named him Meilleur Ouvrier de France (M. O. F.) in recognition of his study, mastery, and promotion of French cuisine. He published over thirty books, including works on gastronomy, music, essays, and translation.
He followed Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art with Practical Japanese Cooking: Easy and Elegant, a full-color presentation of some of the most popular Japanese dishes.
Few writers have written more eloquently about food than M. F. K. Fisher (1908-1992). Her books include The Art of Eating and The Gastronomical Me, and she also translated and annotated Brillat-Savarin's Physiology of Taste.
Yoshiki Tsuji was born in Osaka and moved to Edinburgh when he was twelve years old. He continued his education in the United States, and in 1993 became president of the Tsuji Culinary Institute. Continuing his father Shizuo Tsuji's work, he enthusiastically researches contemporary currents in European and American culinary culture to educate professional chefs, and is dedicated to promoting Japanese food culture overseas as the vice-president of the Japanese Culinary Academy. He has authored two books; The Theory of Evolution of Epicurism (Bishoku Shinkaron) and An Introduction to the Food Industry (Ryori no Shigoto ga Shitai).
Ruth Reichl is the editor-in-chief of Gourmet Magazine and the author of the bestsellers Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me with Apples, and Garlic and Sapphires. She has been the restaurant critic of the New York Times and the food editor and restaurant critic of the Los Angeles Times. Reichl lives in New York City with her husband and son.
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This page created April 2007
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