Japanese American cookbooks as primary sources

I received my first cookbook from my Sansei mentor. “Asian Cookbook” had a sumi-e painting of winter matsutake (pine mushroom) and ripe fuyu persimmons on its cover, a chunky plastic comb binding, and ran an astonishing 429 pages. It was sold as a fundraiser for the Japanese American Services of the East Bay sometime in […]

‘Finding wellness in one’s roots’

Kintsugi Wellness: The Japanese Art of Nourishing Mind, Body, and Spirit By Candice Kumai (New York: Harper Wave, 2018, 336 pp., $29.99 hardcover) Candice Kumai is a well known wellness writer, chef, and content creator who has written a book that is a mixture of memoir, self-help and cookbook. Her recognized contributions to national wellness […]

A plant lover’s delight

THE BERKELEY BOWL COOKBOOK: RECIPES INSPIRED BY THE EXTRAORDINARY PRODUCE OF CALIFORNIA’S MOST ICONIC MARKET By Laura McLively (Berkeley, Calif.: Parallax Press, 2018, 216 pp., $34.95, hardcover) It all started with an African horned melon. This peculiar orange fruit captured the interest of Laura McLively during a shopping trip to Berkeley Bowl, the revered East […]

A flavorful take on ramen

SIMPLY RAMEN: A COMPLETE COURSE IN PREPARING RAMEN MEALS AT HOME By Amy Kimoto-Kahn (New York: Race Point Publishing, 2016, 176 pp., hardcover, $22.95 ) With the recent surge of ramen’s popularity, this book will interest any ramen fiend or foodie that’s ready to take on homemade (non-instant) ramen. In the words of a chapter […]

The art of sushi

SUSHI ART COOKBOOK: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO KAZARI SUSHI By Ken Kawasumi (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, 2017, 128 pp., hardcover, $18.95) If you are a serious foodie interested in food art or sushi, this book might be for you. But this book is definitely for you if you’re a chef or aspiring chef, or […]

A taste of home

JAPANESE SOUL COOKING: RAMEN, TONKATSU, TEMPURA, AND MORE FROM THE STREETS AND KITCHENS OF TOKYO AND BEYOND By Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat (Berkeley, Calif.: Ten Speed Press, 2013, 256 pp., $27.50, hardcover) Even if you didn’t grow up eating okonomiyaki (pancake) or omu (omelette) rice, the savory, robust flavors in “Japanese Soul Cooking” will […]

Comfort food, Hawai‘i-style

FROM KAU KAU TO CUISINE: AN ISLAND COOKBOOK, THEN AND NOW By Arnold Hiura; featuring Derek Kurisu and Jason Takemura (Honolulu: Watermark Publishing, 2013, 196 pp., $29.95, hardcover) “From Kau Kau to Cuisine” is a cookbook that alternates recipes representing two variations of the same dish, a “Then” version and a “Now” version. The styles […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: David ‘Mas’ Masumoto, you’re a peach!

I had the great good fortune to attend a surprise birthday party for David “Mas” Masumoto, his 60th. It was held at the University of California, Berkeley campus Alumni House, his alma mater. As his daughter, Nikiko, related, the hardest part was keeping it a secret. They managed to pull it off, so, “Surprise!” really […]

A slower, healthier life on the farm

JAPANESE FARM FOOD By Nancy Singleton Hachisu (Riverside, New Jersey: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2012, 400 pp., $35, hard cover) With “Japanese Farm Food,” Nancy Singleton Hachisu presents the reader a rare snapshot of a life that most people will never experience — living and working on a rural Japanese farm and relishing the culinary pleasures […]

Japanese flavors meet American ingredients

HIROKO’S AMERICAN KITCHEN: COOKING WITH JAPANESE FLAVORS: 6 EASY SAUCES; 125 MODERN RECIPES By Hiroko Shimbo (Riverside, New Jersey: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2012, 224 pp., $24.99, paperback) The basic goal of Hiroko Shimbo’s new cookbook “Hiroko’s Japanese Kitchen” is simple: to help American home cooks infuse familiar ingredients with Japanese flavors and preparation styles. Take […]

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