The Essence of Japanese Cuisine: An Essay on Food and Culture

The Essence of Japanese Cuisine: An Essay on Food and Culture

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University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.

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The Essence of Japanese Cuisine: An Essay on Food and Culture

"It was a most exquisite repast, a veritable feast of the senses." Such is the fond memory of Michael Ashkenazi and Jeanne Jacob of a late summer meal in Japan which in every taste, texture, and aesthetic detail signaled the turning of the season. Vividly describing this and countless other fine meals, The Essence of Japanese Cuisine seats the reader at a table rich in culinary tradition.

From menu arrangement to cooking techniques, course selection to entertainment styles, The Essence of Japanese Cuisine studies the Japanese meal and the historical, social, and economic principles that underpin Japanese food culture. Drawing from extensive fieldwork, surveys, and sources ranging from contemporary shop advertisements to classical writings and paintings, Ashkenazi and Jacob analyze how meals are structured, where food is prepared, where it is consumed, and what rituals and cultural rules define the art of the Japanese food event. Their personal experiences as diners serve as sensory tools for examining Japanese cuisine and its place in Japanese society, and they draw as well on Japanese and other culinary studies from such writers as Goody, Harris, Brillat-Savarin, Fisher, Ishige, and Mennell. The book concludes by assessing some of the lessons that can be learned from the Japanese dining experience, especially as Japanese cuisine takes its place among world foods.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812235661
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
Publication date: 10/26/2000
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.94(d)

Table of Contents

Map of JapanXVI
Chapter 1Redefining Japanese Food1
1.1.An Analytical Dimension7
1.2.Objectives and Methodology9
1.3.The Questions11
1.4.The Organisation of the Book12
1.5.Technical Note: Words, Pronunciation, and Glosses13
Readings for Chapter 114
Chapter 2A Framework for Discussion15
2.1.Food in Historical Theory16
2.2.Some Points of Agreement21
2.3.The Utility of the Concept of "Rules"23
2.4.The Food Event as an Analytical Phenomenon24
2.5.Change in Foods26
2.6.Food as an Aesthetic and as Art29
2.7.Food Culture and Total Culture33
2.8.A Structured View of Japanese Food34
Readings for Chapter 236
Chapter 3Japanese Food in its Background37
3.1.Geography and History37
3.2.Historical Matrix39
3.4.Gaijin at the Gates: External Influences42
3.5.The Business of Food46
3.6.The Japanese Household: Where One Eats52
3.7.Gurume: the Rise of Luxury as a Lifestyle58
3.8.From Wild to Natural: the Rise of the Natural Food Movement60
3.9.Food as a Symbol: Nihonjin and other-Ron61
Readings for Chapter 365
Chapter 4Food Events and Their Meaning66
4.1.The Schematic Structure of the Japanese Meal67
4.2.Central Rice Meals76
4.3.Peripheral Rice Meals77
4.4.Oratsu: Non-Rice Food Events81
Readings for Chapter 483
Chapter 5Food Preparation Styles84
5.1.Raw Foods: Namasumono85
5.2.Nimono: Nabemono and Entertainment87
5.3.Agemono: Frying and the Art of Borrowing90
5.4.Rakimono: Teppan93
5.5.Nimono: Men-Rui101
5.6.Male and Female in the Food Game105
Readings for Chapter 5112
Chapter 6Food Loci113
6.1.The Home115
6.2.Eating Out119
6.3.Bar Foods124
6.4.Georgaphical Choice and "Esunikku" Restaurants129
6.5.Social Correlates of Food Loci135
Readings for Chapter 6138
Chapter 7Aesthetics in the World of Japanese Food139
7.1.Taste: the Physiological Element141
7.2.Colour and Shape in Utensils146
7.4.Influences of Japanese Religion and Philosophy152
7.5.Artistic Dimensions in Japanese Food160
7.6.Moritsuke: the Uses of Framing and Space161
7.7.Juxtaposing the Artificial and the Natural164
Readings for Chapter 7166
Chapter 8Learning the Cultural Rules167
8.1.Learning Food as a Child: School Lunch169
8.2.Learning as an Adult: Social Interaction and Media170
8.3.The Meibutsu Culture175
8.4.Changing Tastes: the World of Food Fads177
8.5.Invention and Innovation in the Japanese Kitchen185
Readings for Chapter 8187
Chapter 9The Art of Dining188
9.1.Dining and Ritual in Daily Life191
9.2.Dining Order: the Japanese Course193
9.3.The Epitome of Taste: the Tea Ceremony as a Food Event197
9.5.The Rituals of Eating211
Readings for Chapter 9212
Chapter 10Japan's Food Culture: Dimensions and Contradictions213
10.1.Dimensions in Japanese Food213
10.2.The Economic World of the Japanese Gourmand215
10.3.Natural Food and Reviving the Community218
10.4.Japanese Food and World Food: Japan as a Model221
10.5.Final Word224
Glossary of Terms225
References in English and other Western Languages237
References in Japanese245

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