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Thread: I think I need to learn how to fish now....

  1. #1
    phaeton Guest

    Default I think I need to learn how to fish now....

    Thanks to you folks for recommendations on Japanese Cookbooks. Got two
    referrals and picked them both up used at Amazon.com. One showed up
    yesterday (great book, btw) and I read a bunch.

    I am not surprised at all to learn that Japanese cooking often
    means...well... not cooking stuff. "Freshness" of everything is held
    above all else in this cuisine. From chicken that is spec'd to still
    have 5mm of pink around the bones to str8 up raw fish and eggs, i'm
    kinda wondering what I'm getting myself into. For someone that's
    overparanoid about foodborne illness, this will either make me or break
    me. Yet, the author untiringly extolls the benefits of subtle flavor and
    simplicity in these meals. I really want to try them to see.

    So I went to the closest supermarket to where I live (to pick up some
    other stuff). For kicks, i went and looked at all the fish they had, and
    all of it was frozen. Frozen ANYTHING is taboo in Japanese cuisine,
    apparently. Even if i do find some fish that's not been frozen, how do I
    know it hasn't been sitting around for a month in a freezer before
    today? Besides, the stuff they had looked pretty groady.

    So what's a geek do?

    Suddenly, I feel the desire to learn how to fish. My dad took me several
    times growing up, but I just wasn't into it. Surely some people here
    would be delighted to pull some huge salmon out of the Rogue River, but
    it didn't do anything for me then. I just handed it off to ole Pa and
    asked him to make me a burger on the grill that night instead.

    Just sayin.

  2. #2
    cshenk Guest

    Default Re: I think I need to learn how to fish now....

    "phaeton" wrote

    > Thanks to you folks for recommendations on Japanese Cookbooks. Got two
    > referrals and picked them both up used at Amazon.com. One showed up
    > yesterday (great book, btw) and I read a bunch.


    Not sure if you saw mine? I may have listed them in the wrong threads.

    Best: Japanese Homestyle Cooking by Tokiko Suzuki. Extensive color pics of
    just how to do things. Loads of tips (even one on what to do with the kombu
    after making Dashi with it!). Downside, lots of non-americanized
    ingredients but most of them can be adapted around if you do a bit of a
    google or have lived there so know what the item tastes like. Authentic
    japanese.

    Next: Japanese cooking for the American Table by Karen Green. Has drawings
    vice color pictures but this one is adapted to what you can find and starts
    at a beginner level (some recipes are more advanced but most are simple).
    Had this one years before I moved to Japan and came in handy when looking at
    all the foods there.

    > I am not surprised at all to learn that Japanese cooking often
    > means...well... not cooking stuff. "Freshness" of everything is held above
    > all else in this cuisine. From chicken that is spec'd to still have 5mm of
    > pink around the bones to str8 up raw fish and eggs, i'm kinda wondering
    > what I'm getting myself into. For someone that's overparanoid about
    > foodborne illness, this will either make me or break me. Yet, the author
    > untiringly extolls the benefits of subtle flavor and simplicity in these
    > meals. I really want to try them to see.


    A portion of the key is that things are cooked quickly, often after a longer
    marinade time.

    > So I went to the closest supermarket to where I live (to pick up some
    > other stuff). For kicks, i went and looked at all the fish they had, and
    > all of it was frozen. Frozen ANYTHING is taboo in Japanese cuisine,
    > apparently. Even if i do find some fish that's not been frozen, how do I


    Naw, they use frozen too. The main difference is they have (at least in
    Sasebo and all other places I saw) many small local grocers and tend to shop
    3 times a week. Because of that, they tend to have much smaller fridges
    which then reinforce it ;-)

    It's really hard to go anywhere without stumbling into a small grocer every
    2-3 blocks unless you live in the real sticks. It's very common to walk or
    use a bicycle to get to work and you shop for bits on the way home, often
    passing 7 or 8 such places.

    It might be better to describe the ride to work for me when 'in the cho'
    (living out in town) then when we moved to the base housing to get a feel.

    When we lived in Mirura Cho, the Tonoo market (large fresh air market) was
    about 1/2 to 1/4 mile from us. Not exactly sure but the diversion to it
    from my route home on the bicycle was at most, 200 feet to the lower end
    (right to go home, left 200 feet to the market). No cars allowed on that
    street in normal hours (3am they stock if need a truck etc). No bike riding
    either but you can walk one. On the rest of the route, with minor 100 foot
    variations or right on my path, were some 8 other grocers. So every day, I
    passed a huge market (tends to close by 6pm) or a bunch of small places.
    All sorts of different things. I also passed the commisary (within 200
    feet) on the way home when it was still open. It was easier to get the bits
    I needed cloer to home so I'd normally shop out in town. Commisary was 2
    miles from home when in Miura Cho (work was 3).

    Once we moved to onbase housing, the Commisary was closer except no longer
    on my direct route home. Not bad mind you, not but 1 mile or so but rare to
    hit it on the way home. Being right outside the base, there were no local
    shops on the tiny bit between housing and the base. Kinda neat to walk to
    work in 5 mins or less though! On the path from the base housing to the
    Tonoo Market (about 2 miles, maybe a little more) you pass the 'Origional
    Sasebo Burger' joint (google that) about 1/2 mile up the road, then you
    start seeing grocers (3 I think) before you hit the 'Ginza' (not actually
    the Tokyo mall one but pretty big) and Justco in the mall which you'd
    regognize the basement area of as large enough to be a USA sized grocery but
    not a super sized one. 8 or 9 small food sellers, then the tonoo market
    with it's 100 or so small sellers. We'd do this trip every weekend just
    because it's fun and carry the food home in a pull cart. I'd say 2.5 miles
    total to the most distant end of the Tonoo market. A very common pattern for
    there.

    They just dont buy a months worth of food at a time there. It's not
    something they relate to culturally.

    Say on a lazy saturday I wanted to make miso fish with gobo. I'd trot over
    with the daughter unit in tow and our cart and get 2 gobo sticks (might just
    get 1), 3 small fish, and a ball of miso. Probably grab some other veggie
    like 1 small potatoe, and a handful of spinach or 3 baby bok choy. Trott
    back home and cook it. Might grab a carrot too.

    > today? Besides, the stuff they had looked pretty groady.


    Ewwh. Go for pork then.



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