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Japanese Food

May 1 2010 Japanese Food Newsletter

Last month’s showers indeed have brought May flowers. The annuals are in full bloom, and I love the kaleidoscope of colors! I am blessed to enjoy flowers year ‘round in my sunny clime, but in May the annuals are especially vibrant. Nature’s beauty renews my spirit!

This brings me to this week’s theme for the Japanese Food site. Mukimono is the art of food garnishing. The Japanese revere beauty in all things, including food. Food preparation is undertaken with great care, with attention to every detail that will please all the senses. Food is prepared with an almost spiritual approach as the preparer realizes the spirit and energy in the food--and in the intention of the preparer--will imbue the diner with the same energies. (Did you see the movie or read the book, “Like Water, For Chocolate?”)

Beauty has a profound effect on us, whether we care to know it or not. That is why we love nature and the arts which are expressions of beauty in life. We may not have time to create a work of art at every meal, but it takes very little effort and time to add a touch of beauty to your plates with mukimono. I learned how only a few flicks of a sharp paring knife can turn a tomato slice into a butterfly. When I do garnish the plate with a colorful fruit skewer or press the rice into a fish-shaped mold instead of plopping out a serving, the oohs and ahhs from the family are worth it. They smile, laugh, express gratitude—all of which uplifts their spirits even if only for a few moments.

Here are this week’s articles at BellaOnline.com Japanese Food site:

Japanese Garnishes by Yukiko and Bob Haydock Book Review
Over thirty years old, this book is a clear, simplified introduction to the ancient art of mukimono or food garnishing that will teach you quick and easy ways to beautify your dishes. Find a copy at Amazon.com for as little as .92 cents.


Beautiful Food, Beautiful Life
The Japanese revere beauty in everything, including food. Beautifying meals allows our eyes to savor and appreciate the ingredients that nourish our spirits as well as our bodies. These are just some thoughts about how to apply this in your food preparation.


Edible Flowers Recipe
An easy way to beautify your dish comes straight from nature: scatter on fresh flower petals or whole flowers! They add beauty, fragrance and flavor to simple dishes.


and per reader request:

Yaki Udon Recipe
Pan-fried thick udon noodles are similar to chow mein but with Japanese noodles and seasoning.


I’m having a bit of trouble uploading pics of finished dishes, but once I get it straightened out, please share pics of your beautiful dishes and I’ll post them on the site for all to appreciate!


Your Japanese food word of the week: Utsukushii (oot-soo-koo-shee) which means beautiful or lovely.


And a parting thought:

“If you have only two coins, with one buy bread
with the other buy a flower.” ~ a Zen quote

Enjoy the beauty in your life.

Until next time,

Chidori Phillips
BellaOnline.com Japanese Food Site Editor

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