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Book on Japanese Food


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I will be traveling to Japan this summer, mostly to eat. I know some of the basics of Japanese food, but I am looking for some type of book that has information on Japanese food history, food culture, types of food, customs, etc...

Not so much a cookbook as a Japanese Food Overview book.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!

I think this is pretty close to what you're looking for, and is excellent:

Japanese Cooking

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al wang

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Gaku Homma's Japanese Country Cooking, while not without a few faults (my early edition has some translation errors and a couple of factual goofs), is a pretty good introduction to traditional techniques, history and folklore. He's more focused on describing what's behind the food than say, precise recipes.

However, he doesn't cover much of the urban cuisine that people associate with Japan (sushi, okonomiyaki, and so on); he's more focused on the kind of food that people in rural areas, particularly around Akita where he's from, ate.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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Try this one:

A Taste of Japan by Donald Richie. It's older, but a wealth of information and pleasant reading.

Or for a pop (but accurate) take on Japanese food & culture, there's

Squeamish about Sushi, written and lovingly illustrated by Betty Reynolds (who definitely isn't squeamish!).

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Thanks everyone... these all look great. Can't wait to read up on Japanese Food!

You may have already been looking through them, but I also have to make a plug for the excellent content on Japanese food and cuisine on the eGullet forums. There are so many great threads spearheaded by Japan forum host torakris and many other devoted posters to the Japanese forum.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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