by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
Like most of us, I rely on books to take me away to some place else. Your body may be sitting in the New York Public Library on a sweltering day, but your brain is miles away. Cherry blossoms! Salted fish! Making your own miso! Flipping through this gorgeous and informative book feels like I have flown the thirteen hour trip and arrived in Japan like a champion.
A window into old style preservation techniques
A fluent Japanese speaker, Nancy Singleton Hachisu has developed a career as a writer in the area of traditional Japanese food. In this thorough and beautiful book, she covers techniques such as pickling, fermenting and salting. I was inspired by its insider view into Japanese small farms and Grandma worthy cooking techniques. As a non Japanese speaker I would never have access to these artisans or their environment.
Power in numbers
Because Nancy lived in the Japanese countryside, she became familiar with and had participated in community groups that make their own soy sauce, tofu, and umeboshi plums. All the products are created from organic, locally grown produce, and her book documents this in an accessible way. The goals for Nancy and her people are keeping the old techniques alive, preserving the Japanese culture, and, of course, eating delicious food.
More with those blossoms
I am not the only one who is into Nancy. In 2016 she was nominated for a James Beard Award in the International Cookbook category. There are projects in the book, such long term fermenting, that are not realistic for some of we city people. (Honey, I need my own Cider House to house the soy sauce vats!) However, there are many smaller projects that I have already tried. I put up some salted cherry blossom, because that is just so cool! I am sure you will enjoy this thrilling and informative ride.