Cool Tools: Cooking Utensils from the Japanese Kitchen

Cool Tools: Cooking Utensils from the Japanese Kitchen

by Kate Klippensteen, Yasuo Konishi, Ori Koyama
     
 

A visually stunning book for the professional chef, the curious amateur-and anyone who appreciates the uniqueness of Japanese design and culture.

What do chefs use to grate wasabi, the eyewatering Japanese "horse radish?" To pick up the delicate cubes of tofu from boiling water? To slice sashimi? Or scoop freshly steamed rice from the pot?

Cool Tools

Overview

A visually stunning book for the professional chef, the curious amateur-and anyone who appreciates the uniqueness of Japanese design and culture.

What do chefs use to grate wasabi, the eyewatering Japanese "horse radish?" To pick up the delicate cubes of tofu from boiling water? To slice sashimi? Or scoop freshly steamed rice from the pot?

Cool Tools reveals the answers to these questions and much more, as it explores the Japanese kitchen, finding a treasure trove of fascinating and practical items that are used by Japanese chefs in their daily culinary endeavors.

Japanese cuisine is flourishing among the food-conscious all over the world-as are the cookbooks featuring recipes from a wide variety of styles. Now, Cool Tools goes deep inside the kitchen, into the cupboards and the drawers, to the stove tops and wall hangers where all sorts of utensils are stored. Here are the items being manipulated by 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 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 long-time columnist on Tokyo dining and entertaining, celebrates the history, the usage, the people behind these tools, in brief, informative and entertaining entries.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9784770030160
Publisher:
Kodansha USA
Publication date:
04/28/2006
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.50(d)

What People are saying about this

Terence Conran
"I cannot think where you could find a more beautiful collection of products than the Japanese cooking utensils illustrated and described in this book. If there was ever an example of the form and beauty following function, this is it. They make you want to slice, grind, sieve, strain, cook and eat."
Nobu Matsuhisa
"These kitchen tools-like the dishes they are used to prepare and serve-are windows into the heart of Japanese culture. They are made by dedicated artisans for very specific uses, and only come to life in the hands of a chef who honors and respects them."

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.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >