Thursday, March 04, 2010

Cookbook watch: some news for spring


Tokyo Food by Petter Bjerke, Gustav Karlsson Frost & Markus Karlsson Frost

An inspired walk through the foods of Tokyo, with lively descriptions of meal in dark little restaurants with five seats, this is certainly a lovely introduction to Japanese food culture. The text is well-written, and there are plenty of photos, as well. It's mainly a travelogue and not a cookbook - but there are recipes, too, and in-detail descriptions about food such as ramen, udon, soba, sashimi and sushi, as well as lesser-known (to me at least) techniques. And I do mean detail. Ever wondered what the best way to kill fish for sashimi is? Wonder no more!

Now, the negative stuff. The authors are a bit too reverent, in my opinion - excited about absolutely everything, and seeming to think that every single food joint is a lot better than anything found in the west. I also really don't like the layout, where there are descriptions and recipes in the margins - and sometimes not at all related to the main text on the same page. It's quite confusing and makes it much harder to read. It isn't clear why some texts are in the sidebar and not in the main column. That aside, I'd say this is the perfect book for someone wanting to travel to Tokyo, or someone who HAS travelled there and likes to reminisce about it.


Måndag till torsdag by Marcus Aujalay ("Monday to thursday")

As the title implies, this book is all about weeknight cooking. That is, quick, easy to prepare, but without being repetitive or boring. I really look forward to trying some things from this book - but I have to wait, because my dad immediately grabbed it off my table when he saw it, and brought it with him for a month in Spain. Let's hope he brings it back!

1 comment:

Jessica said...

I didn't like Tokyo Food at all. Actually, I returned it to the book store for a refund. They make it found like they re-invent the wheel and like japanese food is superior to any other cuisine. Now, I like japanese cooking, after all I did live there but like in any country food styles mix. There are cooking styles that you have to seek out (as a "normal" person). As a foodie I made it around more than the average person. My partner at the time (japanese) had never had many of the foods I went after.

So reverent is a word you can use. Or fervent. I'd wish the pro's and con's of any food culture could be seen. This book certainly didn't. And in more ways than that I've usually see. If I want a book on japanese cooking (travelogue or traditional cookery recipe book) I'd look elsewhere. Not that it wasn't ambitious but I just got tired of the tone of the text.