Book: Kansha, Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions Nose-to-Tail Philosophy of Cooking Vegetables

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Book: Kansha, Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions Nose-to-Tail Philosophy of Cooking Vegetables Book: Kansha, Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions Nose-to-Tail Philosophy of Cooking Vegetables
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Book: Kansha, Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions Nose-to-Tail Philosophy of Cooking Vegetables

by Peter Smith

December 2, 2010

What's the vegetable equivalent of butcher's nose-to-tail, the meatless version of everything-but-the-squeal? In her latest cookbook, Kansha, Elizabeth Andoh explores the concept ichi motsu zen shoku (one food, used entirely), a Japanese vegan philosophy that means using every last bit of vegetables from frond-to-root. In other words, nothing goes to waste. Pickles become a frugal, nutritionally sound way of clearing out the vegetable bin—with the help of a little vinegar, kombu, salt, and soy sauce. 

I'm usually pretty skeptical of vegan and vegetarian cookbooks that bill themselves as vegan and vegetarian cookbooks, but Andoh doesn't just translate traditional dishes like a labor intensive creamy rice pudding into something faster and more practical for the modern cook. She is after something a broader: kansha (appreciation). And whether that means an appreciation of a meal built entirely around an entire daikon radish or an appreciation of the ingenuity in turning what could have been wasted scraps into a Mediterranean stew, Kansha is both a book and a concept worth exploring.

Photograph of Good Fortune Pickles by Leigh Beisch, courtesy of Ten Speed Press.

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