Conclusion After the Fantasies

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:
Conclusion After the Fantasies

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Sashimi, tempura, and sushi are foods associated with Japanese cuisine found in restaurants worldwide today, and this book has touched on their history. However, there is more to the history of Japanese cuisine than the stories of just a few representative dishes or even a few esoteric ones such as crane soup. The Southern Barbarians' Cookbook, which probably dates to the early 1600s, and which contains mostly Iberian recipes, lacks a recipe for tempura but includes one for tenpurari, a type of fried chicken. Simmering and grilling were methods of cooking familiar to medieval chefs called hōchōnin, who worked for the military and imperial elite, and these methods remain central to preparing Japanese food. Cookbooks, like plays and novels, present ideals, not direct reflections of reality. What defines cuisine is not necessarily a particular dish or style of cooking, although these are important; rather, a cuisine, according to the approach used in this book, is a way to conceptualize food. Cuisine is an association of food with the imaginary, or a fantasy with food.

Keywords: Japanese cuisine; cooking; recipes; fantasy; cookbooks; hōchōnin; dishes; tempura; sashimi; Southern Barbarians' Cookbook

Chapter.  2473 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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