My Japanese Table: A Lifetime of Cooking with Friends and Family

My Japanese Table: A Lifetime of Cooking with Friends and Family

4.5 6
by Debra Samuels

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Bestselling author and food writer Debra Samuels uses her unique skills and deep love of Japan to make the cuisine of her adopted country attainable in My Japanese Table.

Bringing a wealth of experience and a great passion for Japanese cooking to the table, Debra introduces the aesthetics and quality food that are the hallmarks of


Bestselling author and food writer Debra Samuels uses her unique skills and deep love of Japan to make the cuisine of her adopted country attainable in My Japanese Table.

Bringing a wealth of experience and a great passion for Japanese cooking to the table, Debra introduces the aesthetics and quality food that are the hallmarks of Japanese cuisine. She learned through her years in Japan that true Japanese homestyle dishes are easy to prepare once you master a few basic techniques. And now that authentic Japanese ingredients are available in most supermarkets, Japanese cooking has become far more accessible than ever before.

The recipes in this book, the result of decades spent teaching and preparing homestyle Japanese dishes, include familiar favorites like Hand-Rolled Sushi and classic Miso Soup and less familiar but equally welcome dishes such as Lobster Rolls with Wasabi Mayonnaise and Fried Pork Cutlets. There is also a chapter on the increasingly popular obento lunch boxes, along with a wonderful selection of desserts, including the delectable Mochi Dumplings with Strawberries. All of the recipes come with stories and cooking tips to help bring the sights, aromas and tastes of Japan into your kitchen at home.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"My Japanese Table, by Globe contributor Debra Samuels, provides a bright, clear path into what can seem like a forbidding cuisine." —The Boston Globe

"My Japanese Table takes you on a valuable journey of all the different facets of Japanese cuisine." —Roy Yamaguchi, chef/founder of Roy's Restaurants

"Debra Samuels, author of My Japanese Table: A Lifetime of Cooking With Friends and Family, said it is vital to use the freshest, high-quality sushi-grade fish you can find. While sushi topped with slices of different fish is traditional in restaurants, choose quality over variety when making sushi at home. Follow the usual health caveats if eating the fish raw or undercooked." —Chicago Tribune

"The Boston Globe food writer Debra Samuels compiles 125 of her best Japanese recipes in the shiny, heavy and possessable My Japanese Table." —Metropolis

"Cookbook author and Japan expert Debra Samuels says the five main elements of a bento are color, texture, seasonality, presentation and nutrition (and let's not forget portion controluhow much can you cram into those little compartments?). She says many Japanese believe that including five colors on your plateured, yellow, green, white and blackumeans you have a balanced meal." —NPR's Kitchen Window

"Additionally, authors themselves often have active Web sites of their own. Debra Samuels hosts the charming Cooking at Debra's, where she is promoting her forthcoming book My Japanese Table: A Lifetime of Cooking with Friends and Family." —Publishers Weekly

"It's not so much the type of food, but what I call 'a bento state of mind,'" Debra Samuels, author of My Japanese Table, said via e-mail. "I see the concept of bento as basically a food sampler, a colorful culinary puzzle. The benefits of the bento are smaller portions and greater variety of food." —Washington Post

"A few weeks ago, my food writer friend Debra Samuels (co-author of The Korean Table and author of My Japanese Table, both by Tuttle Publishing) came to Washington, D.C., to do a bento box demonstration with the Smithsonian Associates. Deb and I have only communicated via e-mail and social media, but when I heard she was coming to town, I eagerly volunteered to help. I was delighted to discover that Deb is every bit as lovely in person!o —The Christian Science Monitor

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Tuttle Publishing
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Meet the Author

Debra Samuel's invites us to enjoy her lifetime of experiences with the people and cuisine of Japan. The co-author of the bestselling The Korean Table, Debra has been teaching cooking classes on Japanese cuisine for over two decades. She is a regular food writer and food stylist for the Boston Globe. When she's not visiting Japan, Debra lives in Massachusetts with her husband.

An avid cook himself, photographer Heath Robbins' passion for food is evident in his mouthwatering imagery. His pictures have graced the pages of national magazines and can be seen in advertisements for Welch's Grape Jelly, Uncle Ben's and French's. Robbins recently photographed Fresh and Honest, Ciao Italia Big Five and The Korean Table cookbooks. He resides in Massachusetts with his family.

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My Japanese Table: A Lifetime of Cooking with Friends and Family 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous 11 months ago
LOL I love how these 'Japanese' cookbooks sell so well. I bought this for a friend who is not into authentic Japanese but a more 'western' version. This is good if you like pretending you actually like Japanese food.
SandrasBookNook More than 1 year ago
To me, Japanese cuisine reminds me a little of Italian in regards to style. Simple, good ingredients well cooked with occasionally a more complex dish thrown in. This book seems to embody that. String Beans with Crunchy Toasted Peanuts (vs Italy's sauteed green beans with garlic and slivered almonds), Scallops with Citrus Miso Sauce, Spring Rain Summer Noodle Salad, Chicken Balls in Teriyaki Sauce, Yakitori Rice Bowl and more deliver that delicious flavor of simple ingredients cooked well. If you're into it, there are some nice Bento box recipes near the back of the book. This is a gorgeous book. I love that most of the recipes have a color photo so you know what your supposed to end up with. A few have additional, smaller, step-by-step photos that are especially nice. The recipes are clear and easy to follow. All-in-all, this is a great cookbook of Japanese fare that I think most would enjoy. I received a copy of this book from Tuttle Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AliceSunLiddle More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing and my mom and brother (who's very picky) loved the food I cooked from this book. Now he's asking for 3rds. And the recipe's from it are so easy to fallow.
Zlatokosa More than 1 year ago
I appreciated the most the fact that this book was written by an American. She talks about her own experiences with being introduced to Japanese cuisine and doesn't assume that you have any previous knowledge of the ingredients used. The directions are easy to follow, she uses ingredients found at any local asian market, and her personal anecdotes make you feel like your involved in an experience, not just making food.
Veggiechiliqueen More than 1 year ago
"My Japanese Table" is a perfect starting point if you're new to Japanese cooking; it's not as intimidating or complicated as other Japanese cookbooks, and it uses commonplace American supermarket ingredients whenever possible. The vibrant photography and clear font make it especially easy to read and cook with. The thorough intro on Japanese cuisine includes the handy mnemonic device of "sa shi su se so" (the Japanese hiragana letters that correspond to sugar, salt, vinegar, soy sauce, and miso, the staples of the Japanese kitchen). And kudos for a particularly helpful section on Japanese ingredients with clearly labeled photos to match. There is also a handy bibliography and list of shopping resources (mostly online). Like Tuttle Publishing's other Asian cookbooks, "My Japanese Table" is designed to fit today's busy lifestyle and includes many main-course recipes that take 30 minutes or less to cook using common (U.S.) supermarket ingredients (both the prep times and cooking times are helpfully included at the top of each recipe). Another bonus is that measurements are given both in metric and imperial measurements; no need to convert if you're cooking overseas. I just spent six months working in (and cooking my way across) Japan, so I was really looking forward to testing these recipes. First up were the colorful matcha mochi cupcakes. Mochi are sticky pounded rice cakes (no relation to American "rice cakes") traditionally served at New Year's, but variations of mochi are found in many common Japanese desserts. I made the cupcakes as instructed and sprinkled cinnamon on top, but they still needed a little something extra, so I added the matcha frosting from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. This gave the cupcakes an extra boost of grassy green tea flavor (and color) with a touch of sweetness. Next up, I tried several of the vegetarian recipes like the Sweet Simmered Mushrooms, Pumpkin Rounds and Japanese Mushroom Mélange with Butter and Soy. In some cases, I found that I had to adjust the cooking time. In the case of the mushroom mélange, you're instructed to bake 2 pounds of mushrooms for 15 minutes (the cooking time at the top said 20), but I had to bake them for closer to 30 before the mushrooms released their juices. Also, it was difficult to fit two pounds of mushrooms into a 10 x 13 piece of parchment paper as instructed! I was happy to see that some traditional Japanese desserts were included, mostly focused on mochi, anko (sweet red bean paste), and green tea. You'll find favorites like ichigo daifuku (ripe strawberries wrapped in a layer of bean paste and coated in mochi) and matcha and black sesame ice creams. The chapter is rounded out with instructions on how to prepare several kinds of traditional teas (sencha, matcha, and hojicha). Debra is a patient teacher (Tuttle has dubbed her "The Julia Child of Japanese cooking") and frequently defers to Japanese colleagues, or includes stories of her life in Japan that makes "My Japanese Table" part cookbook and part travelogue. The book could have benefited from a little extra proofreading (there were several typos in addition to mismatches between stated cooking times, conflicting instructions, etc.), but overall "My Japanese Table" has something to appeal to everyone.