It's written by an American lady who married into a Japanese family, and then spent a bunch of time in Japan learning to cook from her mother in law. I'm not exactly in the target audience, since I have no ambition to be a housewife (Japanese or otherwise), but I'm close. After all, I am an American whose exposure to Japanese food is mostly limited to sushi restaurants. And yes, I am interested in simple home cooking that real people make on a regular basis.
Ok, so lets start with Ebi no Chiri So-su (shrimp in mild tomato chili sauce). This was surprisingly easy, and would have been more so if I had sprung for pre-shelled shrimp.
There were a ton of ingredients (yes, there's ketchup hiding in this picture), but putting them all together only took one bowl and one pan (and one dish to temporarily hold the cooked shrimp).
As you can see, it came out pretty good. It was slightly sweet, subtlety spicy and nicely shrimpy.
The ketchup thing threw me for a minute. According to the book, a lot of everyday food in Japan is adaptations of other cultures' food. This is heartening. Now, when I head into the kitchen to bastardize some traditional japanese dish, I can feel like it's a trade instead of a theft.
So the shrimp was last week. Last night I tried my hand at Tsukune (grilled ground chicken skewers). This, even more than the grilled corn, justified the indoor electric grill that the book made me get.
It came out a little more meatloafy than I expected, and a little more chary. All in all, pretty good though.
There are still 100+ recipes in the book, and there's a whole Kinokuniya full of more cookbooks. I think my adventures in Japanese cooking will continue. And, of course, they'll be obsessively documented right here.