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Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen Hardcover – October 1, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If the food of a culture has a pulse, in Japan that pulse would be called washoku. It's a set of principles in fives that takes into account color, taste, ways of preparing food, the diner's senses, and the outlook brought to bear on both the cooking and the dining experience. The result? Meals that are balanced, pleasing, invigorating, healing, and satisfying--all in ways that seep deep into the soul. It's the great good luck of the West that Elizabeth Andoh chose a life in Japan and a focus on food. Her expertise has brought forth the award-winning An Ocean of Flavor as well as countless newspaper and magazine pieces.

With Washoku Andoh takes the reader into the heart of the Japanese home kitchen. She explains the guiding philosophy then brings it into practical terms with a section on the essential washoku pantry. Her section on the washoku kitchen begins with cutting and ends with shaping and molding. Recipes are found in chapters on Stocks and Condiments; Soups; Rice; Noodles; Vegetables; Fish, Meat and Poultry; Tofu and Eggs; and Desserts.

You might never prepare an entire Japanese meal from beginning to end (though with this book in hand you certainly could), but there's no reason not to believe you wouldn't begin to include some of these recipes in an expanding foodway. The sauces and condiments are particularly exciting. As is the underlying thinking that goes into how you are cooking and why you are cooking--the washoku of it all. Not a bad lesson to learn from an exemplary teacher. --Schuyler Ingle

From the Publisher

* A full-color cookbook featuring more than 140 recipes for the classics of the Japanese home kitchen, written by the leading English-language authority on the cuisine, Elizabeth Andoh, Gourmet magazine ’s correspondent in Japan.

* The essentials of the Japanese pantry — the array of herbs and spices, the numerous varieties of miso, tofu, and noodles — are illustrated in full-color photographs.

* Andoh’s An Ocean of Flavor won the IACP cookbook award for Seafood, Meat, and Poultry in 1998.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580085199
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580085199
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 1.1 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born and raised in America though Japan has been my home for more than four decades. As you can see from my photo, I am not ethnically Japanese.

My formal culinary training was taken at the Yanagihara School of Traditional Japanese Cuisine, in Tokyo. In 1972 I began my own culinary arts program, A Taste of Culture, that combines spicy tidbits of food lore with practical tips and skill-building lessons on how to prepare Japanese food. My programs are conducted in Tokyo, Japan and offer a unique opportunity for foreign residents and visitors from overseas to explore and enjoy Japan's culture through its food.

I publish an electronic newsletter about 6 times a year. Each issue includes a short essay/story focused on some aspect of Japan's food culture. Each edition of the newsletter includes links to photo-illustrated recipes related to the chosen theme. Recipes can be downloaded and printed out, making it easy for subscribers to take into the kitchen when they cook. A Taste of Culture's newsletters are free-of-charge, though permission-based. To subscribe, fill out the form on the home page of TASTEOFCULTURE dot com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is, hands down, my favorite cookbook. There are over 90 pages of extensive notes on food preparation before you even get to the first recipe. If you are like me and have never prepared Japanese food before, these notes are essential. You learn about the basic ingredients (there are hundereds of different misos), basic cooking techniques (how to drain and press miso), and how to make a variety of basic cooking stocks. Each section is filled with beautiful photographs so you will be able to identify exactly what you are looking for when you get to the Japanese market. One of the previous reviewers was confused because they couldn't tell which miso to use in a recipe. The answer: whichever one you like. That is one of the best aspects of this cookbook. This isn't gourmet cooking, this is is Washoku (home cooking) designed to be cooked to your families taste. As an unexpected bonus the author will often point out regional differences in preparing dishes and give the reader the option of which approach they would like to follow. A great book for anyone that wants to learn basic Japanese cooking. Buyer beware: make sure you have access to an Asian grocery store. The typical American grocer carries very few of the necessary ingredients.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am biased about this book, but in a good way and with deep respect for the Japanese culture and the author. My husband Bob Heiss was one of the recipe testers who worked on this book from our kitchen in Massachusetts. During this process we had constant emails going to and from Toyko about the progress of the recipes, questions about confusing issues, product availability, etc. I know that a handful of others across the USA were putting similar time into the perfection of these recipes and this book. As someone observing this process,but benefiting from the results, I was very impressed with the amount of effort that Ms.Andoh put into making sure that the recipes would be clear and concise to American readers.

If you are curious about Japanese food but have perhaps been intimidated by it, then please give this book a try. I know that that you will get excellent results from these recipes - all of the dishes and sauces that I tasted were delicious and accentuated with very well-defined flavors.

As a food enthusiast, I for one am ready to move beyond 'sushi' and learn more about the fascinating world of Japanese food and cooking.
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Format: Hardcover
This is definitely a five-star book in theory. It's probably the only Japanese cookbook that comes close to Shizuo Tsuji's in its thoroughness and completeness. But that's also the downfall of this book, it is really too similar to Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art without offering anything that breaks through the precedent. Those of us who own and cook from the previous book a lot might find this book a little bit boring. As soon as I got this book I thumbed through the pages and I only picked out 4 recipes at first blush that I really felt like I needed to try. This is a pretty good size book, too. I've cooked more than those 4 since then, but the book didn't have the profound impact on me that it should have, probably because I've read it all before in Japanese Cooking.

I will say though, that this book can offer some things that Japanese Cooking doesn't have, mainly photography. There are pictures not only of finished dishes but of ingredients too, and even though those are artistically well done they are also quite informative. It helps to know what something looks like when you're looking for it in a store, I would suppose. But there are some steps skipped in this book that Japanese Cooking doesn't overlook. A specific example is a couple days ago when I made an asparagus and black sesame salad from Washoku to go along with lunch. Earlier today I was just perusing Japanese Cooking when it mentioned to never use wet ingredients in an aemono. Oops, nothing was mentioned about that in Washoku. I checked and sure enough, my salad, which was perfectly nutty and crisp at lunch, was now sitting in a pool of gray asparagus water.
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Format: Hardcover
This may be the most beautiful book on Japanese food to date. There is a thorough pantry chapter, guiding the reader on what to look for when purchasing, and how to prep the materials for cooking. There is also a detailed chapter on cooking techniques, with easy to follow directions.

The recipes cover the basics with a few modern, like a black sesame ice cream. There are "Kitchen Harmony" and "Harmony at Table" notes adding another depth to the recipes with cultural tips on presentation, for example.

I have been studying Japanese food for several years. Washoku will be a reference book on many levels, for recipes, for background on ingredients and techniques, and for the pleasure of reading.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Superb book. I am in love with the Asian Groceries and Markets in Ellicott City, Maryland and shop there a couple times a month. I try to buy an unfamiliar item each time I go, but often can not use them.

The first part of Washoku is worth the price of the whole book and then some. It is a thorough encyclopedia of ingredients, products, etc. Explanantions of use and pictures predominate the discussion and it is marvelous. I am ecstatic--learning more and more each time I pick up the book. It is a treasure trove.

The recipes too are well done--cross referencing the ingredients with page numbers from the first chapter.

This is a book that I wish had the author's autograph. I predict it will be a prize winner and am delighted to have it in my cookbook collection. Ms. Andoh is to be congratulated on an outstanding contribution to clear communication of Japanese cuisine especially for those of us who would rather cook than carry out!!!!
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