Harumi Kurihara, the Martha Stewart of Japan
It is about this time of year that we start dreaming – just a little – of a landscape that isn’t blanketed in white. It’s a proverbial thaw, a mental window of opportunity, albeit a fleeting one, that should be taken advantage of with gusto. In our case, it is to start plotting out what to plant for still-distant but impending growing season. And this year we are going to try something different, to start with a cookbook. This is still that broody, holing-up time that is ever-conducive to reading and thinking too much. To channel our thoughts into something productive rather than into a spiral of self-doubt and Lars Von Trier-esque nonsense, we propose the following: pick out a new cookbook, pour over its pages, hone in on several recipes, then on the vegetables the recipes call for; search out a seed catalog, locate the seeds for the corresponding vegetables, order them, plant them, plan your menus, wait; then harvest, cook, and eat. Our pick for a cookbook is Harumi Kurihara’s Everyday Harumi. The deceptive simplicity of Japanese food requires the freshest of ingredients, vegetables whose flavor alone can almost carry the dish. What better way to provide the ingredients for these recipes than to grow them oneself?
Seed Savers Exchange annual catalog
For seeds, we turn to Seed Savers Exchange. We love the back stories that accompany so many of the seeds in the catalog (re:/a la Hungarian immigrants from Szeged brought this variety of tomato over back in. . .), and the selection will keep you busy for many an hour narrowing down the best option for your plot and recipe. Heirloom daikon, perhaps?
So go forth and read, dream, plant, cook, eat.