Thursday, June 21, 2012
Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
And wow, I would really buy this book. Next year. When I have a better kitchen (maybe with an oven?) and the ability to get a part-time job because ingredients are expensive (ever since I started buying meat to cook, my grocery bills have shot up).
But nonetheless, I took a lot of notes. I can't afford a lot of the ingredients (I can't even afford good quality basics!), but I'll probably try substituting my own (cheaper) ingredients inside.
This is a very comprehensive book. I'll actually say that with regards to Japanese farm food, this is probably the only book you'll need for a while if you're a beginner. There is a glossary, and introduction (a very helpful introduction to the ingredients) and lots and lots of recipes. The book is divided into ten chapters, with the first chapter about the Japanese Farmhouse Kitchen and nine chapters about the different foods (like "Pickles and Soups", "Fish and Seafood", "Desserts and Sweets" etc). Each section contains quite a fair bit of recipes.
Even if you're not planning to cook many of the recipes, it's still a lot of fun reading this book. She adds in a lot of her personal experience between the chapters, and before each recipe. It sounds as though she's just sharing her experiences instead of writing a cookbook.
But this book does tend to be starry-eyed about organic farm food. And tradition. This is really good, but not very applicable to a student with only one stove (and only an electric stove at that!). I do all my shopping at the local supermarket and I have only seen one "specialty store" (the tofu shop, although I haven't bought from there yet). Basically, there aren't many recipes that I can carry out from the book. I think this book is more applicable to someone with a well-equipped kitchen and the money (and time) to buy good quality ingredients.
In conclusion, if you want to start cooking seriously, this is the book for you. But if you're looking for food on a budget, you'll still want to read this book, but the recipes may be out of your price range... (unless you live very near a farm).
Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.