Washoku Cooking

In the fish market,
from among the little shrimps
a cricket sings

Elizabeth Andoh has lived in Japan since 1967. A graduate of the Yanagihara School of Classical Japanese Cuisine, Andoh has written three books on Japanese cooking: An American Taste of Japan, At Home with Japanese Cooking, and the IACP-award winning An Ocean of Flavor. She has been writing for Gourmet magazine for more than 30 years and has been a frequent contributor to the New York Times travel section for more than a decade. She lectures around the world on Japan’s food and culture and runs A Taste of Culture, a culinary arts center in Tokyo, Japan. She lives in Tokyo, Japan.
She writes, “Washoku is an integrated approach to achieving nutritional balance and aesthetic harmony at table; both a culinary philosophy and a set of practical guidelines for preparing food. Although the origins of washoku are deeply rooted in Japanese culinary history and habits, anyone can prepare handsome, wholesome food by applying washoku principles to their own cooking. This on-line culinary classroom was created to encourage and enable all who wish to practice WASHOKU cooking.”

Her companion site Kansha cooking means appreciation, and one way of demonstrating it in the kitchen and at table is to avoid waste. Using food fully means re-thinking your kitchen habits, focusing special attention on what could — and should — be used… considering what might be saved, rather than discarded.

A popular concept in Japanese food culture is mottainai, meaning, “waste not, want not”. In the Japanese kitchen, ingredients that might be rejected in other cultures have real value. Japanese cooks make tasty dishes from materials other chefs are likely to throw away.