I created this site as a companion to my
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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)
photo credit: Salmony family
photo credit: Risa Sekiguchi
photo credit: Kristen McQuillin
A Taste of Culture
Osaka kitchen, left, CLOSED in June, 2012
Tokyo kitchen, right