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Sushi and Beyond: What the Japanese Know About Cooking Paperback – 28 May 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (28 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224081888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224081887
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 959,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Booth is an award winning English author and journalist.

He has written five books: 'Just As Well I'm Leaving - To the Orient with Hans Christian Andersen', which was nominated for an Irish Times first time author award; 'Sacré Cordon Bleu', a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week; 'Sushi and Beyond', which won a Guild of Food Writers award and has recently become a best seller in translation in Japan; 'Eat, Pray, Eat', which was nominated for a British Press Award; and the forthcoming 'The Almost Nearly Perfect People - The Truth About the Nordic Miracle'.

He has written for all of the UK broadsheet newspapers, as well as numerous magazines in the UK and abroad including Condé Nast Traveller and Monocle, for whom he is currently a correspondent. His books have been translated into several languages.

He is married with two sons.

Product Description

Review

"Wins you over with his sheer enthusiasm." -- Joseph Woods, The Independent

Book Description

A fascinating and hilarious journey through the extraordinary culinary landscape of Japan.

Winner of the Guild of Food Writers Kate Whiteman Award for the best book on food and travel.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JZD on 3 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback
From the schism between Kanto and Kansai, from Hokkaido to Okinanwa, from sake to soy, Sushi and beyond is follows the adventure of a man and his young family around the genius food epicentre that is Japan.

This book is a food travel diary, which is a good thing as it differentiates it from a simple culture/cookbook. Booth seems to have some good credentials when it comes to cooking, as well as a witty writing style and a gaijin-only daring, making his story both fascinating and funny. It covers all of the subjects mentioned above, as well as seaweed, the fish market, MSG, vegetables, ramen, beef, wasabi and regional specialities amongst others. He even manages to visit the best secret restaurant in the whole of Japan.

He also interviews famous chefs, protective farmers and celebrated experts. Every story is a mixture of passion for food, and a touch of sadness, for the loss of interest in traditional Japanese cuisine.

With a base of good research and a dash of humility and humor, Booth manages to both engage and excite the reader... and their tastebuds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kazuo Okamoto on 29 Dec 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am an expatriate from Japan. I happened to read this book as I learned the translation became one of the selling books in Japan.
The story covers almost all the typical cuisine from northern to far southern territory with in-depth insight and abundant experience that even normal Japanese rarely encounter. I found a lot of things, including what is not open to public thru reading this book. I would like to recommend this vivid report which an ordinary Japanese would be unable to notice to those who have interests not merely with Japanese food but with the country itself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andy Hayler on 5 Aug 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Michael Booth is a fluent writer, and the book contains some entertaining anecdotes as he travels around Japan for three months with his family. However for me it was marred by a lack of editing, and the feeling that it was not quite foodie enough for hard core food lovers, and yet not quite authentic enough a travelogue for someone looking for a travel book. It rather falls between two stools in this regard. Japan and its food scene is vast, varied and complex, so it is hardly surprising that on what appears to be his only trip to Japan he could only lift the kimono a little. I enjoyed his account of a wagyu beef farm, but it was odd for him to just dismiss the whole genre of Japanese beef as "it's not ice cream, it's an animal". Sure, the ultra-marbled specimens of beef are so soft that you can forget you are eating beef, but then just opt for one of the less marbled grades, as many top chefs do.

As someone who has worked in professional kitchens he has generally good insight into food, and it is nice to see that he does not get too carried away with the mystique e.g. he also seems to find fugu a fish that is as much valued for its sense of danger as its inherent taste, or lack thereof. On the other hand some of the travel observations seem peculiar - Japanese taxi drivers are unfailingly polite, but many are utterly clueless about finding even straightforward destinations (the stagnant economy has lured many non-professional cabbies into this profession), so his comments here seem strange, or at least very different to my own experiences in Japan. It is also a pity that he writes reverently about an invitation-only kaiseki restaurant that, by definition, few will be able to try.
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Format: Paperback
If you've read the previous book by Booth on French food (Sacre Cordon Bleu), you will appreciate that Sushi and Beyond is equally entertaining and well written. This time around though, the experience is also truly enlightening, as the subject is one of which you quickly realize, that all you think you know is either wrong, inaccurate or deficient.

For a long time Japanese food have seemed like a tough nut to crack for me, but this is really the eye-opener I've been waiting for. If you - like me - have been scooping up every bit of food trivia you've come across, and feel there isn't much left you haven't read about (or tasted for that matter), this opens up an entire new dimension, and leaves you with the feeling that you've only barely seen the tip of the iceberg of all things edible.

The story is tied together as a classic piece of travel writing - although the authors family play a somewhat more prominent role (I can't help blaming my father, why he never had me wrestling sumos in Osaka). But this only adds an extra dimension to the mix, while never removing focus from the food. The chapter on the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo alone, almost had me spending all my savings at the local travel agent (I recommend a Google image search for "Tsukiji" as inspiration).

The chapters on the Okinawan diet, the chemistry of MSG and the invitation only restaurant Mibu is some of the most compelling food literature I've come across in a long time, and I highly recommend this book to any food lover - especially if you're new to Japanese cuisine - like I was ...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By LJ Bale on 26 Jun 2014
Format: Paperback
I was given this book before an upcoming trip to Japan and really wasn't sure if I'd like it being aimed more at food enthusiasts. From the first few pages with their promise of insight into the longevity of the Japanese and health benefits of the Eastern diet coupled with the hilarious anecdotes and writing style of the author this was an absolute joy to read.

The book also gives a great insight into the different cities, people and food styles across Japan and I really feel I learned a lot about the place and food.
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