Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Project Defined

I always think it is important for the first post of a blog to lay out the path it's is going to take. What are its rules? Its customs? What can you expect? What is the tone going to be?

From that introduction, you may think that my blog is going to involve many strings of questions. It may, but that is not the reason for this blog.

I'm blogging because I am shamelessly stealing an idea from that popular movie "Julie and Julia". I am going to cook my way through a cookbook. Specifically, I'm going to cook all of the recipes in "Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art", by Shizuo Tsuji.

Why? Because I am interested in Japanese food and culture. Because this, as best I can tell, is the Japanese equivalent of Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". Because I thought Julie Powell's idea for the Julie/Julia project was smart and a good idea demands to be imitated. And finally... why not!?!

I have a few rules of this enterprise. They are:

1. I will try to prepare all 200+ recipes in Tsuji's book. I do have a few reasons I may exempt myself from a recipe. See below.

2. I will blog about the experience, with a few inputs from my willing wife.

3. I will try to prepare everything without purchasing any new equipment. I do believe that a cook should have the right tools for the right job; however, this is an east meets west affair. There are things in a Japanese kitchen which are not common in an American kitchen. Since Tsuji's book was written to introduce Japanese cooking to the anglophone world, I think I should be able to cook most everything in a typical American house.

4. This is the first exemption. I will try to cook all of the recipes in the book; however, I may be limited by the availability of ingredients. Denver, my hometown, has a number of pretty good Asian groceries and specialty stores. Even the local megamarts seem to carry a wide range of Asian ingredients. That does not mean that I can find everything. I will look to internet groceries for items that can be shipped. I will draw the line if something gets too expensive. You can have some of the best clam chowder from Pikes Market in Seattle shipped anywhere in the US, but do you want to pay $100 for a bowl of soup? I will come up with a firm dollar limit after I get some input from my wife.

5. This is the second and last exception. I haven't read through the whole book yet, but I will not be preparing natto under any circumstances.

So with that being said, I hope you enjoy this culinary adventure with me.

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