One of the great pleasures of this foodly life I lead is reading books that others write about food. A recent one to come my way is Oishii: The History of Sushi by Eric C. Rath. A historian specializing in pre-modern Japan and traditional Japanese food culture, Rath weaves together a scintillating tale of transformation, economic policy, and social change that never fails to surprise. Thoroughly and rigorously researched, Oishii is conversational in tone and very approachable. Read the full review at my author website, and then go read the book!
Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti