Japanese Cuisine, a Backward Journey

Eric C. Rath

in Food and Fantasy in Early Modern Japan

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780520262270
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947658 | DOI:
Japanese Cuisine, a Backward Journey

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Shōsekiken Sōken, in his book Collected Writings on Cuisine and an Outline on Seasonings, included definitions of technical terms for cooking, model menus, recipes, and serving suggestions for ingredients, and gave miscellaneous comments about food preparation. His model menus follow a format of dining called honzen, or main table dining, which is rarely seen today. According to scholars of Japanese food, there is a much wider conceptual gap between the meals eaten in Shōsekiken's time and today. Japanese cuisine is as much about what modern Japanese people think about themselves as a group and as a nation as it is about food. This chapter traces the development of the Japanese's fantasy with food and how it culminated, in the early modern era, with the publication of cookbooks, which disseminated earlier customs and made new fantasies possible. It describes Kyoto as a city of restaurants, its chefs and cuisine, food ingredients, the importance of water to Kyoto cuisine, the evolution of different styles of cooking, and the importance of uneaten foods in Japan.

Keywords: Japanese cuisine; Shōsekiken Sōken; cooking; menus; recipes; food ingredients; honzen; Kyoto; cookbooks; restaurants

Chapter.  11303 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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