Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year 2010 // Book Review: Bento and Sushi Books and Recipes

Happy (belated) New Year 2010!! May it bring you all happiness, health and love to you and your families!

Like every year before it, I make a couple of resolutions to complete ASAP. One of them is improve my health, and that means three things:

  1. Cut the insane amount of cola I drink and substitute with water
  2. Keep experimenting with foods (get over my fish phobia, try new foods,new ingredients)
  3. Eat smaller portions (before, I could eat like a man and not gain a pound...needless to say, that's gone)
To start off with all three, I'm planning to restart my bento-making habit. It was temporarily alive for the summer since I worked while in class, but I wasn't blogging/taking pictures them accidentally from the stress of classes.

For reference, I've been reading up on Japanese cuisine again. There are so many ingredients that aren't available in the typical supermarket. After a trip with my friends and boyfriend, we found Oriental Food and Arts; the only Asian grocery shop on the entire Island. It's super stocked with ingredients and certain tools that are used in Asian cooking. I only scored some nori, but the moment I get more funds and a chance I'll stock up on more things for authenticity.

Edit (01/14/2010
): After checking out a tip from a friend, I found that there's a small selection of key sushi ingredients and other international ingredients nearby. Here's the address for anyone that's interested.

To get some ideas for this year I picked up some literature.

Hana Sushi: Colorful & Fun Sushi for Parties by Boutique Sha
Good God, this book is beautiful. I just wanted to buy it to enjoy the pictures. Hana (designer) sushi is explained thoroughly in sections. I just wished the book was a little cheaper in the bookstore.

Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals on the Go by Naomi Kijima (Author), Laura Driussi (Translator)
A more serious book on Japanese cooking, centered in making several kinds of bento. Unfortunately, it's too focused on its roots and forgets that the translation is aimed at non-Japanese audiences.

Kawaii Bento Boxes: Cute and Convenient Japanese Meals on the Go by Joie Staff
A very cute handbook on building bento boxes. It's mainly aimed at creating boxes to impress. The book's ideal ratio is 1:1:1 on carbs, meat and vegetables (pretty good, in my book).

The Manga Cookbook by Yoko Ishihara
The very first gift my boyfriend ever gave me. Basically, it's an introduction to Japanese cooking. It's made into manga form with several great recipes to try out, with coloured photographs to give you previews of them.

Japanese Cooking by Emi Kazuko
My first taste to the cuisine, my father got it for us a long time along with many others (Borders sale = gold) . It's out of print, and a good read for those who want to learn the history, basic techniques and traditions.

Hope this mega review was helpful to anyone that's interested in starting the new year on the right foot!

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