So I’ve got these 5 little shot cups.  I like ’em.  They say things in Russian, I think it is.  I have no idea.  I picked them up from a dishware store in Nara, Japan.  Five little metal Russians vessels nestled in a neat padded box, surrounded by lacquer ware and pottery. I wonder how they got there.


But I know what they’re waiting for.  They’re waiting for sake.

In Japan last March, I had the opportunity to tour a sake factory in Yamagata Prefecture.  I admit to getting lost amidst the vats and pressure gauges… I missed much of the explanation of it all.  Precision plus technology plus craft divided by chemistry… equals the hotsweet rush of sake to follow a delicious dish.  And that’s where the math fails, when the savoury buzz fills the palette.  Alchemy is alive and kicking, thank goodness.

I’ve been hard at work designing the layout of a book about Japanese cuisine, culture, and the frequently arduous path that led Avi Sternberg – the book’s author – to become a skilled chef in the tradition of Kaiseki cuisine.  As I sift through my photos and match them to passages of Avi’s story, I remark how fortunate I’ve been to be part of this project – to explore such an interesting story through the eyes and taste buds… now that’s the kind of alchemy I thirst after.


Follow this blog or like my facebook thing to get updates on the book… we’re aiming for Christmas release (provided I stop blogging and get back to work).   Until then, my five thirsty little Russians will have to wait.

(try a little sampler)


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