Cool Tools: Cooking Utensils from the Japanese Kitchen

Overview

What do chefs use to grate wasabi, the eye-watering Japanese "horse radish"? To pick up the delicate cubes of tofu from boiling water? To cut those elegant slices of sashimi? Or scoop freshly steamed rice from the cooker?

Japanese cuisine is flourishing among the food-conscious all over the world-as are the recipe-laden cookbooks. Now, this book goes inside the kitchen, but this time into the cupboards and drawers, onto stovetops and wall hangers where all sorts of utensils, ...

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Overview

What do chefs use to grate wasabi, the eye-watering Japanese "horse radish"? To pick up the delicate cubes of tofu from boiling water? To cut those elegant slices of sashimi? Or scoop freshly steamed rice from the cooker?

Japanese cuisine is flourishing among the food-conscious all over the world-as are the recipe-laden cookbooks. Now, this book goes inside the kitchen, but this time into the cupboards and drawers, onto stovetops and wall hangers where all sorts of utensils, pots and pans are stored. Here are the items that are manipulated in the hands of the famous in their awe-inspiring kitchens-and the not-so-famous in their homes.

As with so many Japanese creations, the utensils that stock a Japanese kitchen are both functional and artistic. And the pieces that are the focus of this book are treated as both works of art and items of practical interest. The photography, by one of Japan's leading lensmen, celebrates the care in materials and design. The text, by a longtime columnist on Tokyo dining and entertaining, celebrates the history, the usage, the people behind these tools in brief, informative and entertaining entries.

This is a book for the professional chef and the curious amateur, a perfect addition to the well-stocked cookbook library.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Japanese cooking is no longer considered an exotic cuisine, available only in big cities with large Asian populations. Today, many of us can buy ready-made sushi at our local supermarkets along with wasabi-covered peas and frozen edamame. What are not so familiar to us are the traditional tools used to prepare authentic Japanese dishes. Klippensteen, a freelance writer living in Japan, fills this void with a beautiful guide to Japanese cooking utensils. Enamored with the organic quality of these handmade instruments, she considers them works of art. Vibrant photos by Konishi dominate the book and reinforce this belief. Not surprisingly, Klippensteen pays particular attention to Japanese knives: their history, specific functions, and production. Along the way, she explores the less familiar, such as the versatile suribachi (mortar) and the oroshigane (wasabi grater). Kuminabe-stackable, handle-less metal cooking pots-double as measuring cups; the okama, precursor to the electric rice cooker, is made of heavy cast iron to retain heat and make fluffy rice. From the recognizable, such as the makisu sushi mat, to the unusual, such as the oni oroshi, used to grate daikon radish, Klippensteen provides an enjoyable and informative journey through the Japanese kitchen. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In this beautifully crafted book, freelance writer Klippensteen and photographer Konishi have teamed together to create an elegant tribute to Japanese cooking tools. Traditional tools and utensils used in all phases of Japanese cuisine, from preparation to cleaning up, are carefully described and photographed. Klippensteen admits to being drawn to their handmade quality and organic nature, which is evident throughout, especially in the descriptions and color photographs of well-used tools. Klippensteen provides details on the history of specific tools, how they are made, and how they are currently used in both home and professional kitchens. Unfortunately, all the suppliers in the list she provides are located in Japan, but she does append a list of utensils with their English, Japanese, and Romanized Japanese names to make shopping simpler for the dedicated cook. This book is a winner and will surely engage many readers. Recommended for public libraries where there is interest in Japanese cooking and the design of cooking tools. Andrea R. Dietze, Orange Cty. Pub. Lib., Santa Ana, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9784770030160
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/2006
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate Klippensteen is a freelance writer based in Tokyo since 1986. She contributes features, essays and reviews on gastronomy, photography, film and travel as well as comparative culture to Japanese, U.S. and European publications. She is the author of several books published in Japan; Ganguro Girls, a book on Shibuya youth culture, published in Germany in 2001; and Vanishing Africa-The Samburu of Kenya (working title), a 12-year collaboration between the author and photographer Yasuo Konishi, to be published in the U.S. in the near future.

Currently based in Tokyo, Yasuo Konishi has worked in New York as a fashion photographer and has contributed to a number of books published in Japan.

Ori Koyama is an interior décor stylist who has worked for magazines, department stores, art galleries and on ad campaigns. She is the author of Inspired Shapes: Contemporary Designs for Japan's Ancient Crafts, published by Kodansha in fall 2005.

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