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Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat: Secrets of My Mother's Tokyo Kitchen [Anglais] [CD]

Naomi Moriyama , William Doyle


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Chapter 1


My Mother’s Tokyo Kitchen

The people assemble in joy;
Food and drink is abundant.
For all generations without end,
Day by day ever more flourishing,
Until myriads of years hence
The pleasure will not cease.

—Ancient Japanese blessing

My mother, Chizuko, sends me e-mails from Tokyo all the time. She sends them from her mobile phone–when she’s in the kitchen or the grocery store, when she’s on line to buy tickets to a show, or when she’s waiting for a train in a Tokyo subway station.

She wants to know how my husband, Billy, and I are doing, when we’re coming over to visit–and what we’re eating.

To help us write this book, she’s been sending us her recipes and food tips by e-mail and via fax, sometimes writing little diagrams of vegetables like mountain potatoes. She is a self-taught natural master of Japanese home cooking who never refers to a cookbook. “It’s all in my brain,” she explains.

Like many mothers in Japan and around the world, my mother has always been devoted to giving her family the most healthy and delicious food she can find, as a way of showing her love for them. I see her cooking not just as a sign of love but also as the perfect symbol of why Japanese women are living longer and healthier than everyone else on Earth, and why they (and their husbands) have the lowest obesity rates in the developed world.

My husband and I both have stories to tell that bring those statistics to life. I’ll start with Billy’s story, which began several years ago, when we stayed at my parents’ apartment in Tokyo for a week and experienced–for the first time, in Billy’s case–a total immersion in my mother’s home cooking. I had been back to Tokyo many times over the years, both on business and to visit my family, but when I was there I usually stayed at hotels like the Park Hyatt (the setting of Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation). This time, we chose not to stay in a hotel because my parents insisted on our being with them.

For me, that week in My Mother’s Tokyo Kitchen was a delicious reawakening to the tastes and aromas of my youth, of the years before I moved to New York at the age of twenty-seven. For Billy, it was a completely new experience. Billy had been to Tokyo with me once before, but on that trip we had separate business meetings in different parts of town, we stayed in a Western-style hotel, and I was too busy to introduce him to the pleasures of Tokyo food, which was completely foreign and intimidating to him.

He wandered the streets of Tokyo in a state of hungry confusion.

He looked in shop windows and stared at noodle bowls and bento boxes–and he was clueless. He had no idea what or how to order. The food looked strange and the menus were incomprehensible. Food was everywhere–but to him it all seemed out of reach. So he made a beeline for McDonald’s, and chowed down on Big Macs, shakes, and fries almost every day, he confessed later.

At the end of four days in Tokyo, he felt lousy and was five pounds fatter. But during his next trip to Tokyo, after a week of eating only the dishes that emerged from My Mother’s Tokyo Kitchen, Billy had fallen madly in love with Japanese home-cooked food. When we went back to New York, he continued eating Japanese-style food almost exclusively.

For both of us, that week in Tokyo ignited a new passion for the joys of Japanese home cooking. Before that trip, we relied heavily on takeout, frozen dinners, and eating out, just like other New York workaholics. To me, “cooking” meant buying prewashed salad mix from a supermarket, putting it in a pretty bowl, and serving it with a premium-priced dressing. My repertory was otherwise limited to cooking dry pasta in boiling water, sautéing broccoli and tomato, and mixing them with bottled marinara sauce. Preparing a meal from scratch was rare. Who had the time and energy? By the time I left my office in the evening, I was exhausted and left with no brainpower to think about a menu, let alone the energy to wash vegetables and chop them.

But after that week at my parents’ house, Billy and I started to prepare Japanese-style meals at home more and more often, especially after Billy learned to make rice like a professional and even cook miso soup for breakfast. We quickly realized that we could re-create My Mother’s Tokyo Kitchen at our apartment in New York. I began going to local Japanese grocery stores and Whole Foods for tofu, seasoning products like soy sauce, rice vinegar, and miso soup, and the local green market for fresh vegetables, meat, and fish. The more I visited Japanese grocery stores, the more I remembered the kind of dishes I used to eat when I lived with my parents, dishes like sautéed fish and simmered root vegetables.

And the most surprising thing was that the more Japanese home cooking we ate, the leaner, more energetic, and more productive we became, while at the same time feeling completely satisfied after every meal. Part of the reason for writing this book was simply to collect Chizuko’s recipes and techniques so we could tape them to our own refrigerator.

In 2004 we began researching the subject in depth, and discovered a wide range of scientific and journalistic evidence suggesting the health benefits of traditional Japanese home cooking and ingredients and lifestyle habits. This helped explain to us why we looked and felt so much better after we started cooking the way my mother does.
Japanese food, in many ways, has already become American food.

But I want to reassure you that this is not a cuisine you will find intimidating, even though aspects of it are very different from what you may be used to.

Across the nation, Americans have fallen in love with Japanese restaurants and takeout sushi. In Houston alone there are more than a hundred Japanese eateries. Japanese foods and ingredients like edamame, ponzu, wasabi, yuzu and miso have become standard items in non-Japanese restaurant kitchens. Now it’s time to discover Japan’s greatest food secret of all: home cooking.

I left the comfort of My Mother’s Tokyo Kitchen twice. The first time was when I went away to college;the second was when I moved to New York. But twice I returned to it, each time very glad that I did. And now that I’ve re-created a Tokyo kitchen in my own home, I’ll never leave again, at least not for long.

***
A sample recipe from Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat

Tokyo Salad

SERVES 4

Salads in Japan are a relatively modern phenomenon. However, sometimes modern is good, such as in this lively herb-filled medley of greens splashed with a light sesame dressing. Most mesclun salad mixes contain mizuna, a feathery Japanese green that adds an invigorating snap. Enjoy this salad during the warmer months.

1/2 pound pencil-thin asparagus, woody stem ends snapped off
6 cups mixed baby greens
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 scallion, roots and coarse portion of the tops cut off,
and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced cilantro, plus 4 tiny sprigs for garnish
5 shiso leaves, thinly sliced
1 plum tomato, cored and cut into 12 wedges

Dressing
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Put 1 cup water in a medium skillet and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook over high heat for 45 seconds, or until a sharp knife easily slides through one stem end. Drain and refresh under cold water. Transfer the asparagus to a plate lined with a double thickness of paper towels and let cool. Cut each spear diagonally into 1-inch-long pieces. Set aside several asparagus tips for the garnish.

2. Combine the cooked asparagus, greens, celery, red pepper, scallion, minced cilantro, and shiso in a salad bowl. Gently toss to mix.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, red onion, and brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the sesame oil and season with a generous pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to mix. Lay out 4 salad plates. Arrange a portion of salad on each plate and garnish with 3 tomato wedges, the reserved asparagus tips, and the cilantro sprigs.


From the Hardcover edition. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Revue de presse

"A DELICIOUS WAY TO STAY HEALTHY."Washington Post

"[A] well-organized, persuasive introduction to a non-Western everyday cooking plan."—Publishers Weekly

"One-upping a certain French woman who boasted about staying thin, Moriyama reveals seven secrets of how Japanese women avoid adding pounds and prolong their life."—GoodHousekeeping.com

"Thanks to Moriyama and Doyle, readers can learn from an insider raised in Japan. . . . Even the most hesitant readers will find their passion for the wonderful taste and aroma of Japanese dishes irresistible."—The Cleveland Plain Dealer --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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Amazon.com: 3.7 étoiles sur 5  94 commentaires
329 internautes sur 361 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Dieting War of the Worlds 10 novembre 2005
Par Diana F. Von Behren - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Well, the gauntlet has been thrown.

In the wake of Mireille Guiliano's runaway best seller, French Women Don't Get Fat and its common sense nudge urging dieters and just plain folk in general to look back to tradition rather than seek out convenience to buttress the pillars of your culinary and nutritional foundation, Naomi Moriyama with her husband William Doyle fire back with enough fact, statistics, recipes, menus and history to send Western Civilization back to the Dark Ages.

Naomi Moriyama, a chic and slim 45 year old marketing consultant, doubles as a powerhouse of energy and vitality as she meters out her rebuttal to Mme. Guiliano in a righteous defensive strike of her culture's dietary habits and staples worthy of any 10th century shogun --- i.e. Japanese women live on average to age 85; only a birdlike 3% are deemed obese) And she does this with a straightforward panache that puts all of Mireille's pandering of her French ancestry to shame. (Note: my review of FWDGF was favorable in as much as it underlines the need to return to a real slow food way eating rather than pre-packaged, chemically enhanced non/fast-food junk) However, where Mireille barefacedly underlines her anthem of quality over quantity by compelling her readers to nosh on pricey triple creams, imbibe expensive champagne by Veuve Clicquot ----the company for which she works--- and with these offers vague advise about love being a natural slimming agent, Naomi, just gives us a straight shot of brown-rice samurai wisdom backed by enough scientific sources and academic studies that keeps eating plain, simple, and a step above common-sense.. In a way, she kamikazes the competition into the Maginot line by providing more than 30 economical recipes, menu plans, and portion control with internet ingredient URLs provided for easy access to Japanese market staples. The biggest out of pocket expense, besides the price of the book, could be replacing your present dishes with the small and elegant place settings preferred by Naomi's countrymen.

But will the idea of becoming like the mysterious doll-like Japanese geisha succeed in capturing the attention of an American audience with the same whole-hearted obsession of morphing oneself into a Gitane smoking, cigarette skirted French demoiselle?

Like FWDGF, JWDGOOF abounds with little vignettes about the respective author's childhood comfort and food experiences. While the focus remains similar to that of FWDGF, namely real seasonal food, quality over quantity, no snacking, smaller portions, social eating and the very Eastern contemplation of the food's beauty and nutrition, the author relies on the tradition provided by her mother, an obviously clever woman who presents fruit carved like flowers for dessert instead of a mountain of cake and cookies like her American counterpart;

On a purely technical level, tradition for Naomi and her family consists of a food wheel of seven spokes: fish (her description of the Tokyo fish market with its sights and smell is a fish-lover's heaven), vegetables( an emphasis is on sea vegetables; no canned or frozen here except for edamame), rice (brown preferred), soy (no processed stuff here, only tofu, miso, beans and sauce), noodles (soba, udon, ramen and somen), tea (types and preparations are provided) and fruit. Note the obvious exclusion of dairy---full fatted or otherwise, ----bread and flours. Beef and chicken are used as condiments rather than main entrees. That's not to say that Naomi and husband Billy don't indulge in the occasional bagel or pizza binge; however their main nourishment takes place in Naomi's New York facsimile of her mother's Tokyo kitchen.

All in all, if there is a contest in the war of the dieting worlds, I doubt that JWDGOOF will win in spite of its right-on message and clearly stated facts. Unfortunately, as svelte and vivacious as Ms. Moriyama is, there is something good or bad about the French stereotype that utterly captivates Americans. Check out all the books on Amazon,com that feeds into this desire for sophistication French-style.

That said, don't discount this book. Although, I would have liked Ms Moriyama to address the issue of menopause and diet and provide a Japanese food pyramid, as a utilitarian manual, the book is a good buy for the money. It's got everything on its side, science, history, and how-to instructions on how to prepare Japanese staples that are unfamiliar to the typical American. I am confident that like Naomi's non-Japanese husband, you will find the pounds melting off by following her centuries-old secrets. Recommended as a lethal weapon in your real food arsenal against weight gain.
141 internautes sur 157 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Very interesting cookbook, full of Samurai history and legend 14 novembre 2005
Par Discerning viewer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This was a great read! The author uses beautiful, nostalgic and descriptive language while recounting her memories of growing up with Japanese food. Both her mother's kitchen and her grandparent's country farm are vividly described with colorful images of a veritable paradise of fresh food. Although the author states she lives in New York today, Japan looks to be a pearl in her memory.

The bulk of the chapters speak about the author's personal food experiences, along with Japanese food history and legend. I've never read a cookbook that had only one or a few recipes at the end of every chapter - it reads more like a novel than a cookbook. The only problem I had with the book was that towards the end it seemed a little too full of nationalistic pride. Other than that, I really enjoyed reading this book.

Other reviewers often compare this book to one I haven't read, "French Women Don't Get Fat." That must be a great book, because this one is SO interesting. Not sure why everyone complains about this one being a copycat, since the author honestly states in the book that the title of that book inspired her to write this one.
99 internautes sur 109 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Insightful, helpful, and a great read! 10 novembre 2005
Par Robert Allen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I read this book on a whim because of the funny title, but I must say, I am impressed with the simplicity, straightforwardness, and great recipes. The guidelines give you choice and clear direction, and after following them myself for just a few days, I can tell the difference in I how feel after every meal. I'm sure after incorporating this book into my lifestyle, I'll notice physical changes too.

Kudos to the author Moriyama for her well laid out and researched book!
80 internautes sur 89 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Intelligent and yummy way to lose weight and keep it off 9 novembre 2005
Par Dawn Kikel - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This book is great! Not only does it make sense when you read the stats about why Japanese women seem to beat the fat and look so good but it is really easy to learn how to do it too without much fuss or expense. Love the recipes. You can buy the book and start cooking that night. This food really is different than the neighborhood Japanese place- you will love it. I wish there was a 2nd edition!
70 internautes sur 78 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Easy to read and incorporate into busy lifestyle 5 décembre 2005
Par L. Kuhn - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I keep finding myself referring this book to family and friends, even my sister who is studying Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture. It reads equal parts novel, supporting research, cooking prep and easy to follow recipes.

As a busy professional in quest of eating well for both health and optimal energy, I find the book offers guidance and specific recipes to achieve this on a day to day level. Already I have incorporated the eat until 80% full philosophy, am making conscious choices when ordering out to include more fish (especially at lunch), and at home use smaller plates to reduce portion size and enjoy the art of the fresh food in front of me.

Even though its only been a couple of weeks, I feel more confident in my food choices. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to improve their health, energy and ultimately their physique.
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