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Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat: Secrets of My Mother's Tokyo Kitchen Paperback – December 26, 2006

115 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It's well known that Japanese women have the lowest obesity rate in the industrialized world (3%) and the highest life expectancy (85 years), and that their cuisine is based on simplicity. Tokyo native Moriyama puts a human face on this phenomenon, that of her mother, Chizuko, in this well-organized, persuasive introduction to a non-Western everyday cooking plan. Just as Moriyama reconstructed Chizuko's cooking practices for herself and her coauthor husband, Doyle (Inside the Oval Office), she shows readers the elements of Chizuko's 6'×12' Tokyo kitchen. She details its pantry ingredients, including bonito (fish) flakes and daikon (radish) and tools such as a rice cooker and wok. Most recipes are based on at least one of the "seven pillars"—fish, vegetables, rice, soy, noodles, tea, fruit—and are familiar and easy to make (Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura, Teriyaki Fish, etc.). Cooking tips abound, but what adds a French Women Don't Get Fat angle is the useful eating advice, such as "Hara hachi bunme," or "Eat until you are 80 percent full." It's a call for moderation that occurs throughout other cultures, and if it's the Japanese version that speaks to readers, good for Moriyama.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A DELICIOUS WAY TO STAY HEALTHY."Washington Post

"[A] well-organized, persuasive introduction to a non-Western everyday cooking plan."—Publishers Weekly

"One-upping a certain French woman who boasted about staying thin, Moriyama reveals seven secrets of how Japanese women avoid adding pounds and prolong their life."—GoodHousekeeping.com

"Thanks to Moriyama and Doyle, readers can learn from an insider raised in Japan. . . . Even the most hesitant readers will find their passion for the wonderful taste and aroma of Japanese dishes irresistible."—The Cleveland Plain Dealer

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Delta; Reprint edition (December 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385339984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385339988
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

333 of 365 people found the following review helpful By Diana Faillace Von Behren TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Well, the gauntlet has been thrown.

In the wake of Mireille Guiliano's runaway best seller, French Women Don't Get Fat and its common sense nudge urging dieters and just plain folk in general to look back to tradition rather than seek out convenience to buttress the pillars of your culinary and nutritional foundation, Naomi Moriyama with her husband William Doyle fire back with enough fact, statistics, recipes, menus and history to send Western Civilization back to the Dark Ages.

Naomi Moriyama, a chic and slim 45 year old marketing consultant, doubles as a powerhouse of energy and vitality as she meters out her rebuttal to Mme. Guiliano in a righteous defensive strike of her culture's dietary habits and staples worthy of any 10th century shogun --- i.e. Japanese women live on average to age 85; only a birdlike 3% are deemed obese) And she does this with a straightforward panache that puts all of Mireille's pandering of her French ancestry to shame. (Note: my review of FWDGF was favorable in as much as it underlines the need to return to a real slow food way eating rather than pre-packaged, chemically enhanced non/fast-food junk) However, where Mireille barefacedly underlines her anthem of quality over quantity by compelling her readers to nosh on pricey triple creams, imbibe expensive champagne by Veuve Clicquot ----the company for which she works--- and with these offers vague advise about love being a natural slimming agent, Naomi, just gives us a straight shot of brown-rice samurai wisdom backed by enough scientific sources and academic studies that keeps eating plain, simple, and a step above common-sense..
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143 of 160 people found the following review helpful By Discerning viewer on November 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This was a great read! The author uses beautiful, nostalgic and descriptive language while recounting her memories of growing up with Japanese food. Both her mother's kitchen and her grandparent's country farm are vividly described with colorful images of a veritable paradise of fresh food. Although the author states she lives in New York today, Japan looks to be a pearl in her memory.

The bulk of the chapters speak about the author's personal food experiences, along with Japanese food history and legend. I've never read a cookbook that had only one or a few recipes at the end of every chapter - it reads more like a novel than a cookbook. The only problem I had with the book was that towards the end it seemed a little too full of nationalistic pride. Other than that, I really enjoyed reading this book.

Other reviewers often compare this book to one I haven't read, "French Women Don't Get Fat." That must be a great book, because this one is SO interesting. Not sure why everyone complains about this one being a copycat, since the author honestly states in the book that the title of that book inspired her to write this one.
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100 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Robert Allen on November 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I read this book on a whim because of the funny title, but I must say, I am impressed with the simplicity, straightforwardness, and great recipes. The guidelines give you choice and clear direction, and after following them myself for just a few days, I can tell the difference in I how feel after every meal. I'm sure after incorporating this book into my lifestyle, I'll notice physical changes too.

Kudos to the author Moriyama for her well laid out and researched book!
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318 of 368 people found the following review helpful By AVT on March 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
I lived in Japan for close to 10 years. In Tokyo. Mine is an unscientific observation.

The diet in this book is a stereotypical "Japanese diet", one that most naive Americans and others think the Japanese eat.

I lived with a number of Japanese female roommates. The way they eat in public (picky and delicate) is nothing like the way they eat at home (they could get in a contest with a vacuum cleaner and win). I saw three of them down a large bag of cookies in 3 minutes flat. It was gone by the time I got back from the bathroom.

Japanese women are very cognizant of the way they are seen in public, and will also go to extremes to lose weight and stay underweight. I used to think that the popularity of Comtrex, a type of milky looking mineral water from France, was due to health concerns. I found out that young Japanese women take it because it has laxative qualities. Other popular diet aids have been "nata de coco", a colorless, calorie-free jelly made from coconuts, and water pills. The water pill thing got so out of control that at some point there was an epidemic of gout among young Japanese females, and pharmacies quit selling these pills to them.

As for green tea as a diet aid - funny thing, the Japanese don't drink THAT much green tea (except at the office) and not one of them ever told me it was a diet aid. I was told very often by the Japanese, however, that oolong tea was the secret to weight loss. Oolong is a popular diet aid in Japan. Green tea went for a long time unmentioned.

Beer should be listed as a major food group in the standard Japanese diet, considering the level of consumption.
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