lunes, 30 de diciembre de 2013

Best of 2013 #8: Food

PingMag : Art, Design, Life - from Japan

This month weve been looking at some of the highlights of 2013. But when alls said and done, forget product design and architecture and all that jazz. People ultimately care more about their stomachs. And thats why we had to include Japanese food in our round-up. For this we asked food director Fumie Okumura for her selections from the past year. What were the ten developments in Japanese food that made the biggest impression on you in 2013?BreakfastThis year has seen a bit of a vogue for breakfasting. From Hawaiis Cafe Kaila to bills from Sydney, there are always long queues outside places where you can eat luxury pancakes from the morning. Also check out World Breakfast All Day, where the menu changes every two months per breakfast dishes around the globe. Or for those who fancy making something themselves, how about this book of breakfast recipes by the Grand Hyatts Executive Sous Chef (Western Cuisine) David Bellin. Youll be sure to stumble on new discoveries when making simple recipes like eggs Benedict and French toast properly.Granola MuesliIn my household, muesli may make an appearance not only in the morning for breakfast but even sometimes for the evening meal too. Just add seasonal fruits, yoghurt, milk or honey to the mixed cereals of oatmeal, dried fruits, nuts and pumpkinseeds. Muesli comes from Switzerland while Granola was born in America. Both are light and nutritionally balanced, and have come to the fore in tandem with the breakfast craze. Shops like Home and Oats and Ganori specializing in handmade varieties are opening all the time.Yomigaeri RecipeThis documentary by director Atsushi Watanabe astutely tells the story of the people and seeds behind Yamagata Prefectures produce, from the people growing to those cooking, researching and, finally, eating it. The film is filled with people who realize the importance of passing on what already exists. Turning the concept of new product development on its head, it tells us about indigenous crops, a prescription (recipe!) for the future of Japanese food.New KabukizaThe original Kabukiza first opened its doors in 1889 and now for its 125th year it has been re-designed by Kengo Kuma. The link between Kabuki and food is deep. In the Edo era Kabuki used to be staged from sunrise to sunset, and even today a performance will last over four hours. When a show was on there were special bento lunch boxes for audiences to eat. For the re-opening earlier this year, I was involved with the direction for some special sweets for the Kabukiza with Eitaro, the veteran Japanese confectionary retailer who continues to nurture Edo culture today. Pop one of these sweets in your mouth and the clamor of an Edo-era makeshift playhouse will almost be re-staged in your mindShikinen SenguThis year saw the 62nd Shikinen Sengu ceremony. This is ritual that happens every 20 years in which the whole of Ise Shrine is reconstructed. Why 20 years? Well, its probably connected to rice. A type of steamed and dried rice called hoishii is stockpiled in the Ise Shrine granary. There is a theory that its storage life is 20 years. Architecture, vessels and ceremonies all form the foundation of Japanese food design. In Kanda in Kusubecho in Ise City, cultivating rice for offerings to the gods continues solemnly even today.Design AhDesign Ah is an educational TV show on NHK E-Tele with general direction by graphic designer Taku Sato. As a spin-off, this exhibition opened at 21_21 Design Sight in February and in its roughly four-month run attracted 200,000 visitors. The exhibition fostered and explained to kids about the discoveries, mysteries, oddities and beauty to be found by examining everyday life. And as part of this, sushi also made an appearance. Visitors could be thrilled by the sushi by looking at it through a magnifying lens.Takeo City LibraryTakeo City in Saga Prefecture is already known for its rather individual regional gusto, such as having a Lemongrass Division and a Boar Division. And now Tsutaya has made this special municipal library for around 50,000 residents in the city. It includes a Starbucks and you can also buy the local specialty, lemongrass. There are many regional brands that can make special local products but have nowhere to sell them. A library is a perfect example of how to showcase a lifestyle.Flavored WaterThere are plenty of a non-alcoholic drinks that can make a meal special: Elderberry cordials, ginger syrup and lemongrass cocktails, tomato and black pepper smoothies These have started to get popular in Japan now with the release of lots of flavored water products this year. These are refreshing and quenching with their herb and fruity fragrances and tastes. Personally, the flavored waters in sweets researcher Rika Fukudas book always do it for me.UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Food Mislabeling ScandalThe end of years food news was dominated by the decision by UNESCO to register washoku (Japanese food) as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. However, on the other hand we had the issue of food mislabeling at famous hotels and restaurants. Since the Tohoku disaster, interest in both Japanese food culture and food safety has increased. There are many issues surrounding Japanese food, not least aging farmers, the fashion for fast food, the Fukushima accident and the future of agricultural and marine products, as well as the decline in our lacquerware and ceramic centers. I hope that this becomes an opportunity for trying and testing new things. Finally, what Japanese foods are you looking forward to for 2014?Through collaborations between food and design, food and art, and food and media, interest is growing in the diverse values to be found in food, not only if something tastes good. I think a central part of this will be regionalism. I feel that more and more in the future people will be recreating local food cultures from around Japan.I am also currently preparing for the Kome exhibition at 21_21 Design Sight from February 28th next year, themed around rice. Please come along for encounters with rice both familiar and unknown!Thank you, Fumie Okumura!Fumie OkumuraFood director and president of Foodelco inc.She works in designing food from product development to branding Japans culinary culture. She has strong connections with regional producers and artisans, and works widely to bridge the gap between those who eat and those who make food. Major projects include design direction for Eitaro, brand direction for 800 for eats, and regional produce development for communities in Yamagata and Yamanashi prefectures. Her work on Hikotaroumochi won a Good Design Award in 2008. She was one of the producers for the Tema Hima exhibition about Tohoku food and living at 21_21 Design Sight in 2012. http://www.foodelco.com

 

 

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