About WASHOKUcooking...

I created this site as a companion to my cookbook, Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2005). Whether you have previous experience in preparing Japanese food (or not), or are skilled in the culinary arts (or not), my goal is to encourage and enable you to use my cookbook, WASHOKU, to full benefit. I am hoping you will rapidly become comfortable (and capable) applying a washoku approach (harmony and balance) to preparing your daily meals.

The photo-illustrated material (in pdf format) you will find on the WASHOKUworkshop page, and the information I have posted to the various WASHOKUwisdom pages of this site, provide details (on ingredients, techniques, tools, menu planning and presentation) beyond the scope of the book.

I invite all visitors to this site to try making the recipes featured in the current lesson in their own kitchen. Those wanting access to material from previous lessons will need to register. Your confirmation notice will include a link to WASHOKUcooking's archive. Each time a new lesson is posted to the WASHOKUworkshop page, the previous lesson will be added to the archive.

Although I am not able to correspond directly with each of you, I welcome your feedback -- especially captioned photos with a brief description of your kitchen sessions. Please download GUIDELINES for SUBMITTING WORK. To further teaching goals at this site, I may post some of the feedback I receive, adding my commentary.



SPECIAL THANKS to those who enabled me to launch this site:
Amy Hamilton Lane (web mistress and site designer)
Kristen McQuillin (special design elements) http://www.mediatinker.com/

About the WASHOKU book project...



Instructed, informed, and inspired by the many home cooks I had the good fortune to meet and know in my early years in Japan, WASHOKU: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen is my tribute to their individual and collective culinary wisdom. I especially admired Kiyoko Andoh, the woman who became my mother-in-law, and that I affectionately called Okaasan (Mother). WASHOKU showcases many of the dishes she regularly prepared.


Like many home cooks, Okaasan practiced washoku daily, never thinking to articulate the theory behind her well-established habits. In writing WASHOKU I wanted to explain the fundamental principles that underlie Japan’s indigenous cookery to the non-Japanese speaking world.


To be sure that washoku as a set of practical guidelines could be appreciated and successfully applied by those living outside Japan and its food culture, I assembled a group of volunteers to provide me with feedback. My “advisory council” (a geographically scattered, demographically diverse group – they are named in my acknowledgments on page vi and vii) helped me test recipes, gave me information regarding availability of ingredients (in their community and on-line shops they googled), difficulty of procedure (in their kitchen, with their skill level, not mine or that of a Japanese colleague), and their food preferences (the menu pictured on the book cover are dishes that all who responded to my final questionnaire agreed had become regulars in their household).




A bit about me...
I was born, raised and educated (High School of Music & Art in New York, University of Michigan) in America, though I have made Japan my home for decades. As the pictures below attest, I am
not of Japanese heritage (though I do prefer wearing a kappogi to an ordinary apron -- it keeps sleeves from getting messy).

I began A Taste of Culture culinary arts programs in the 1970's shortly after completing a course of formal culinary training at the Yanagihara School of Traditional Japanese Cuisine, in Tokyo. Although format and schedules at A Taste of Culture continue to change, the core curriculum and basic premise remains essentially the same: tasting sessions (to familiarize participants with traditional foodstuffs), market tours (to help those with limited or no language skills "read" labels), hands-on cooking classes and culinary workshops offer an opportunity for foreign residents to explore and enjoy Japan's culture through its food. Visitors to Japan are welcome to join regularly scheduled ("public") programs or arrange for customized ("private") ones coordinated to their travel itinerary. Programs are conducted in English.

I publish an electronic newsletter, sent from A TASTE OF CULTURE about 6 times a year. Each issue includes a short essay/story focused on some aspect of Japan's food culture. Each edition of the newsletter includes several photo-illustrated recipes related to the chosen theme. Recipes can be downloaded and printed out, making it easy to take into your kitchen when you cook. A Taste of Culture's newsletters are free-of-charge, though permission-based. To subscribe, fill out the form on the Register page.

As an author and journalist, I have written numerous cookbooks, magazine and newspaper articles. I was Gourmet magazine's Japan correspondent for decades, contributed dozens of pieces to the New York Times Travel Section, and have written series for several of Japan’s leading English language publications. Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2005) won an IACP Jane Grigson award for distinguished scholarship, and was nominated for a James Beard Foundation award as well. KANSHA: Celebrating Japan’s Vegan & Vegetarian Traditions was published October 19, 2010 and has its own website: KANSHAcooking.com. My most recent cookbook is:

KIBŌ (Brimming with Hope): Recipes & Stories from Japan’s Tohoku

KIBŌ is my culinary tribute to the region of Japan devastated by earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in March of 2011. Published as an e-original book by Ten Speed Press on February 28, 2012, I launched a companion website focused on Tohoku food and culture: KIBOcooking.com
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Japanese Cooking Lesson
Elizabeth Andoh

photo credits: Kristen McQuillin

 A Taste of Culture

(Making tamago yaki omelet in Tokyo kitchen)

An obento-style meal made by students

at A Taste of Culture (Tokyo)

Bento Box

photo credit: Salmony family

Andoh Cooking Demonstration

photo credit: Risa Sekiguchi

photo credit: Kristen McQuillin

A Taste of Culture

Osaka kitchen, left, CLOSED in June, 2012

Tokyo kitchen, right