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Book review: Japanese Kitchen Knives by Hiromitsu Nozaki

Book review: Japanese Kitchen Knives by Hiromitsu Nozaki
Japanese Kitchen Knives- Essential Techniques and Recipes
by Hiromitsu Nozaki
RRP $29.95
published by Kodansha

There's no stone left unturned here- we learn correct knife stance, the anatomy of the knife, and how to safely wield it. 'Japanese Kitchen Knives' will set you up to make some of the most stunning food your friends have ever seen
 

This book is phenomenally detailed. Unfortunately, as a self-proclaimed knife-klutz (with several missing fingertips to prove it) I found it rather too 'techie'. That's no criticism of 'Japanese Kitchen Knives' itself- it's exactly the type of book I really should be scrutinising. In addition to how to use your instrument, it tells you about purchase, maintenance and materials- nothing is overlooked.

Men will love it. It's a fascinating read and a must-have as a reference book for anyone who prides themself on doing things correctly. Methodical, painstaking and uber-detailed, I guess I just felt it lacked that sparkle of personality I crave from a reading companion. The recipes abound with creativity, though- but once again, it's a precise, sanitised form of creativity- like the labour-intensive Vegetable canapes or the Needle-cut vegetable salad.

There's no stone left unturned here- we learn correct knife stance, the anatomy of the knife, and how to safely wield it. Photographs ensure every step is clear and comprehensively demonstrated. The three knife types are introduced in turn, along with the cuts each is suited to- and how you can achieve them, following the numbered stages and accompanying photographs. Logically, the recipes using that cut are presented next. The level of detail really is dizzying, spanning everything from 'Five-piece fish filleting' to the 'Spotted-fawn cut'.

'Japanese Kitchen Knives' will set you up to make some of the most stunning food your friends have ever seen- that, I suspect, will be its main lure. It's also invaluable to all those intent on producing accurate interpretations of classic and modern Japanese recipes. And, if we're honest, its brand of controlled culinary restraint could teach reluctant hackers like me a much-needed thing or two about skills.
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