A Cook’s Journey to Japan – Cookbook Review

I found the most wonderful book at the library, and it’s started up a new obsession with Japanese cooking! The book, “A Cook’s Journey to Japan: Fish Tales and Rice Paddies 100 Homestyle Recipes from Japanese Kitchens” is awesome! I’ve borrowed a couple Japanese cookbooks previously, and none of them struck me so profoundly as this book!

What first grabbed me was when I was briefly leafing through the intro chapter, I found the Miso description in “Essential Japanese Ingredients” on page 21. I never fully understood exactly what Miso was, and this book explained 5 different types of Miso: soybean (Hacho), red (Aka), white (Shiro), yellow (Shinshu) and barley (Mugi).

I then went back and re-read the prior pages more carefully, to see what I missed.

The book’s photos are not just gorgeous to look at, they are wonderful representations of finished dishes as well as many instructional steps. So much great detail! I think my favorite photo was on page 71 at the start of the Rice and Noodles chapter. Oh yum, I could just dive into that bowl of fried soba noodles and rice!

I haven’t tried any recipes yet, but I have several new intriguing ingredients on my grocery list: bonito flakes, konku kelp, and white miso. I’m dying to make a batch of miso soup! Plus, I already have Nori in my cabinet, and I’d love to try rolling up some basic rice and veggie sushi with it. Oh my mouth is watering just thinking about all this awesome food!

So, after googling to learn more about sushi, I found a cool Japanese recipe web site, Just Hungry, which led me to info for packing healthy simple Bento box lunches – Just Bento and another awesome book “The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches To Go” – I’ve requested this book from the library, and I’m on the wait list!

So bottom line, I highly recommend the A Cook’s Journey to Japan: Fish Tales and Rice Paddies 100 Homestyle Recipes from Japanese Kitchens by Sarah Marx Feldner; and I’m looking forward to experimenting with so many creative ideas from the book, like Golden Egg Threads, Miso Soup variations, and all the noodle and rice dishes. Oh yum!

One last word before I end this post, my thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Besides the destruction of the natural disasters, they have to deal with the scary reality of radiation contamination. I can’t even imagine what some are going though, and I hope that they can eventually find some sort of peace and normalcy. It feels so petty and selfish to be blogging about a Japanese cookbook while some citizens of Japan have lost their family, friends, homes, businesses, possessions, etc. I can only pray and hope that their lives will heal!

I love reading cookbooks, like some people love reading novels! I am inspired by recipes, and enjoy learning ideas from cookbooks; I like putting my own spin on a recipe rather than exactly following it. Please keep in mind that my opinions might be completely different from the other home cooks.