Untangling My Chopsticks: A Culinary Sojourn in Kyoto

June 3, 2011
Springtime Kaiseki: Sashimi - Flounder Sashimi, Oil-blanched Prawns

Cooking Lecture - Springtime Kaiseki: Sashimi - Flounder Sashimi, Oil-blanched Prawns by flickr user panduh

I always knew there was a tea culture in Japan, but until I read Untangling My Chopsticks by Victoria Abbott Riccardi I had no idea that there is also a complex, elegant culinary tradition that is part of the Japanese tea ceremony.

Riccardi’s memoir recollects the two years she spent in Japan learning about Kaiseki – the highly ritualized form of cooking that accompanies the formal tea ceremony. It is a fascinating read that gives insight not only into Japanese food culture: from the myriad number of ways that it is acceptable to eat sushi, to unusual Japanese cooking ingredients like Kudzu, but also insight into Japanese culture and history.

And even better… the memoir contains 27 recipes!

I still think of this book every time I eat sushi, and if I ever travel to Japan I will definitely try and take a culinary tour of Kyoto, or stay in a homestay so that I can experience a traditional Japanese home meal.

Jenn

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