This is a topic I know less than nothing about: Japanese Farm Food. So, why am I writing about it? Well, Andrews McMeel sends me cookbooks (not a surprise to regular readers). Sometimes they are smallish, targeted ones. And sometimes they are wonderfully lush books. This is one of the latter. So: I have read lots of it. And, I initially thought I would pass it along to someone who knows -- and likely cares -- more about Japanese food. But now I am not sure.
But I can say this: from the cover -- with a beautifully spare bittersweet picture to the foreword by Patricia Wells to the author's commitment (Nancy Singleton Hachisu), this is a wonderful book. The photographs, as is often though not always the case with Andrews McMeel books, are especially worth exclaiming over in this case. (They were taken by Kenji Miura.) And the web presence is dandy: here is the related site called Japanese Farm Food. Nancy Singleton Hachisu is also connected, as the foreword by Wells hints, to the food movement internationally. She is a force in Japan's Slow Food Convivium (in this regard, see this piece) , but also as a person with significant links in San Francisco is linked to Alice Waters, has been off to Italy where the Slow Food movement has its "origin" and. . . . reflects in wonderful ways on being a westerner who lives and loves and has children and farms and cooks and . . . . in Japan, and in rural Japan at that.
Perhaps it is the rural focus that makes me think I might keep this book. I initially brought stereotypes to the table (as it were!) and assumed this would be way over my head. But, in some ways, it is just about vegetables and fish, cooked in a range of ways, with a range of particular seasonings that mean Japan (and/or Japanese rural food). I can do that, I said to myself, while reading -- if I can do X I can do Y. Who knew?
And, the delightful pictures teach you a bit about farming in Japan -- including not only rice farming but other aspects as well.
Among the things hidden in this book are fish patties, beef and onions with ginger, and a full page of explanation of artisanal charcoal. There are discussions of fish mongers and recipes for curry rice or fried rice of various sorts. It is do-able even if I never truly get what the various ingredients are in terms of seasoning. (For example, tehre is a brown sugar, and the directions say quite distinctly: DO NOT SUBSTITUTE AMERICAN BROWN SUGAR, it is not the same thing. Thank goodness, because of course I would have substituted.)