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Fortunately, Kazuko strips away the mystery from Cold Soba, much as she does from many other café-style dishes you would find in Japan. And where words might fail, the fine color photography used throughout the Café series beautifully illustrates just the point the author wants to convey.
Small cafes and bistros in Japan specialize in one item, yakitori, say, or tempura. In other words, there's no such thing as a "Japanese" restaurant in Japan. Fortunately for the Western cook, Kazuko has pulled all these disparate specialists into one food court where ease and simplicity are the hallmarks of dining.
You will find familiar soups and appetizers such as Miso Soup with Tofu and Snow Peas, Clear Soup with Mussels and Watercress, Fried Giant Prawns, and Soft-Cooked Octopus. Main Dishes include Seared Yuan Salmon, Ginger Pork, Chicken Teriyaki, Udon with Curry Soup and, of course, Soba. There are many dishes here that define the popular palate in Japan, but remain more obscure in the West. Kazuko's great talent is making familiar what might seem exotic. If you have suffered a fear of cooking Japanese food, this is a great place to start. And the next time the sun rises on a Cold Soba kind of day, you'll know just what to do. --Schuyler Ingle