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Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010

GIFT PICKS: For food lovers

Healthier post-Christmas dinner ideas

Special to The Japan Times



Christmas is near and the goose is getting fat. But you won't find any recipes for that bird — or any other fowl, fish or meat — in Elizabeth Andoh's excellent new book "Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions." Known as shojin ryori, this style of cooking originated in Buddhist temples, but its influence has permeated all of Japanese cuisine.

"Kansha" is a large, lavish book, beautifully packaged and packed with foolproof recipes. More than that, though, it is a detailed compendium of Japanese food culture, making it the perfect gift for anyone interested in cooking and eating, irrespective of whether or not they are vegetarian.

Bento and Co.

Bento and Co.

Nothing encapsulates Japanese food better than a bento, a square meal packed inside a highly portable container. And when it comes to buying these lunch boxes, there is nowhere like Bento and Co.

Set up two years ago by a French resident of Kyoto, it supplies just about any style of bento box you might want: wooden, plastic, round, oblong, traditional, contemporary and (of course) kawaii cute. Two standouts are: the sleek, modern mage-wappa michi, and the adorable little kokeshi. While you're there, check the selection of cups, bottles, chopsticks, furoshiki cloths and other accessories.

"Kansha" (¥3,070/$35) is published by Ten Speed Press and available on Amazon.com. Bento and Co. sells goods on en.bentoandco.com.


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