American’s in the 21st century have a weakness for “Japanese” and “Chinese” cuisine. As this is typed, Chinese and Japanese master chefs across the world are cringing at the thought of their food being sabotaged and simplified by other cultures. What we believe to be “oriental” or “Asian” food is different than the food prepared in Tokyo and Beijing due to its level of preparation and oversimplification. While we may catch a glimpse of the true flavor of Japanese and Chinese cuisine, the natives of China and Japan would not believe this to be true. Chinese and Japanese chefs take great pride in the food they present to their peers. This is evident in the Japanese and Chinese cookbooks I have analyzed. As a stereotypical American, I have little to no knowledge on the differences between Japanese and Chinese foods. Upon diving deeper into the matter, I have discovered that these cultures food recipes are similar in terms of their pride, dedication, and fundamental ingredients, while differing in their presentation, nutritional value and use of their ingredients.
The abundance of similarities and differences in the two cookbooks allow for the reader to learn much about Japanese and Chinese cultures. Upon first glance at the Japanese cookbook A First Book of Japanese Cooking, it is clear that Yamaoka takes great pride in the food he makes. The pictures of food throughout the cookbook are all aesthetically pleasing. Every page with pictures of food on it is colorful and arranged to perfection. It feels like it would be a sin to eat any of these appetizing concoctions. Yamaoka clearly dictates that image is just as important as taste for the Japanese. In the cookbook Chinese Cuisine From the Master Chefs of China, the pictures of the food are less than flattering. Entress such as “Feicui furong jipian” and “Huayue sanbao” (Editors of China Pictoral 122-123) look unappealing in comparison to the colorful “Tofu dengaku” (Yamaoka 13). From these...
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