Book Review: The Zen Kitchen by Adam Liaw

Wednesday, November 9, 2016
I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...

Title: The Zen Kitchen
Author: Adam Liaw
Publication Date: October 25th 2016

Synopsis: "We love Japanese food. It's fast, healthy, easy and delicious. There's a reason Japan has some of the longest-lived, healthiest and most food-loving people on the planet. The secret is simple preparation of good ingredients, which makes Japanese cuisine perfect for you to cook at home.

If you thought it was just sushi, think again. In The Zen Kitchen, Adam Liaw guides you through his family favourites like Salt-grilled Salmon, Teriyaki Pork and Mushroom Rolls, Sukiyaki, Sashimi Salad, and Green Tea Roll Cake. These delicious dishes, and many more, will bring new favourites into your kitchen.

With Adam's simple and accessible style and his belief that cooking is a celebration of food, philosophy and culture, The Zen Kitchen is your practical guide to cooking tasty Japanese food at home."

My thoughts: This cookbook is fantastic. From the beautiful photography, to the simple and inspiring recipes, even down to the way Liaw discusses the food and culture of Japan, this is just a wonderful book to make things from, or even just to flick through.

I have looked through quite a few Japanese cookbooks, and what I often find is that the recipes seem really fiddly and confusing, and not really geared towards someone who can cook a little, but isn't actually a fully-blown chef. Liaw's book explains everything, right down to the utensils he recommends, and his recipes use ingredients that I actually recognised.

I have already made multiple things from this book, but my favourite so far has been the 'Grandma's Rice Porridge' recipe. I made this on a day when I wasn't feeling my best, and my stomach had actually been bothering me for a few days. This simple, soothing porridge left me feeling happy and pain-free. Something about simmering this lovely bowl of goodness and putting so much care into something I was making for myself led me to feel wonderful about eating it, and I ate it slowly and appreciatively.

And that's the thing about this book - I think Liaw is trying to help us make Japanese cuisine, yes, but he is also trying to help us understand why the Japanese make their food in the way they do: to show ourselves and our loved ones appreciation, love, and to lose ourselves a little in the wonderful food that we can eat.

{I received a review copy of this book from Hachette. Thank you!}

A favourite line from the book: This book contains ancient Japanese proverbs, and Liaw's discussion of them. My favourite so far? Isshoku dougen. 'Medicine and food have the same origin.'

You would like this book if: You like Japanese foods!

Tea to drink while reading this book: Oh definitely a good, old-fashioned genmaicha.

Rating:  10/10

If you'd like to keep up to date with what I'm reading, follow me on Goodreads here!

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