Minestrone Filled With Vegetables Of Spring Is 'soothing' Food

Minestrone filled with vegetables of spring is 'soothing' food

French chef Fumio Yonezawa has been serving as a volunteer once a month at the Ronald McDonald House Setagaya in Tokyo where his cooking helps lift the spirits of those who stay here.

The house, which is run by a public-interest incorporated foundation, is a facility for families and their children, who need to stay in or visit hospitals located far from home to receive advanced medical care. Some NPOs and other organizations have set up these type of accommodations near the hospitals to relieve the burden on young patients and their families.

'koya-dofu' Plus Soybean Flour Makes Plain But Nutritious Snack

'Koya-dofu' plus soybean flour makes plain but nutritious snack

When snack time begins at 3 p.m at Fukasawa Mill Nursery School, expectant children come running into the lunchroom where nutritionist Tomoko Ikeda waits, asking, "What are we having today?"

Ever since she was an elementary school student, Ikeda loved to eat and also observe her mother cooking. After studying cooking in high school, she gained certification as a nutritionist at a vocational school. She thought that she could make it a "job for life."

'cat In A Bath' Curry And Rice Spices Up Pupils With Allergies

'Cat in a bath' curry and rice spices up pupils with allergies

Of the 110 pupils who attend Fukasawa Mill Nursery School in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward, nine have food allergies, from the "big three" of flour, eggs and milk, to nuts and kiwi.

At the nursery school, the kitchen staff chooses the ingredients and recipes carefully so that everyone can eat the same school lunch as much as possible.

Kindergarteners' Favorite Salad With Cabbage And Strawberries

Kindergarteners' favorite salad with cabbage and strawberries

The open-ceilinged canteen at Fukasawa Mill Nursery School in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward is a sunlit, expansive place. At lunchtime, pupils holding trays line up at a counter where Tomoko Ikeda and others stand ready.

When serving the salad, the 43-year-old nutritionist asks each child, "Shall I serve less?" or "Can you eat bell peppers?"

Simmering 'oden' Hotpot, The Soul Food Of Shizuoka

Simmering 'oden' hotpot, the soul food of Shizuoka

The soul food of Shizuoka, where Yoshiaki Takei hails from, is "oden," a hotpot consisting of various ingredients in blackish broth.

As a child, Takei would return home from school, grab some change and head to an oden shop. When he slid the door open, he would see an oden pot simmering on the sunken hearth.

Basque Country Chili Pepper And Salt Seasoning For Any Dish

Basque Country chili pepper and salt seasoning for any dish

All kinds of seasonings are a passion of Yoshiaki Takei, editor of the website "Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun," who enjoys overseas travels that allow him to experience local life through cooking.

He visits markets and stores; chats with the proprietors; learns where and how ingredients are grown and how they should be cooked.

Yoshiaki Takei's Shallow-fried 'ichibo' Steak, Inspired By Paris

Yoshiaki Takei's shallow-fried 'ichibo' steak, inspired by Paris

He has grilled meat in Paris, simmered jam in Helsinki and made mixed sushi in Prague.

Yoshiaki Takei is a seasoned editor of travel books who likes to stay for about 10 days at a hotel equipped with a kitchen when traveling overseas. The 52-year-old has been enjoying such trips for about 10 years, buying ingredients at local markets and shops to cook for himself.

Tofu With Walnut Sauce Features In Expanded Menu For Nara Monks

Tofu with walnut sauce features in expanded menu for Nara monks

The Shuni-e (commonly called Omizutori) ceremony has been held at Todaiji Temple in Nara since the Nara Period (710-784).

Although the large torches that shower sparks on people are famous, they are simply meant to lead the monks to the temple hall. The monks pray for the happiness of all living things and go through the cycle of penitence and prayer.

Nara-style Tea Rice Brings About Aroma From The Edo Period

Nara-style tea rice brings about aroma from the Edo Period

Besides teaching Japanese cuisine in Tokyo's Akasaka district, Naoyuki Yanagihara frequents libraries to read documents from the Edo Period (1603-1867). He believes that studying the originality and ingenuity of his forerunners will show him the path he should take.

"I try to learn the changes in the ingredients and cooking procedures and make use of them today," the 39-year-old cooking expert says.

Strikingly Red, Tomato-flavored Macaroni Gratin Absorbs 'umami'

Strikingly red, tomato-flavored macaroni gratin absorbs 'umami'

The word "gratin" may conjure images of a white-sauce-based dish. But at Shiseido Parlour's main restaurant in Tokyo's Ginza district, the red color of the tomato-flavored gratin stands out.

"Some guests are surprised to see a dish that is quite different from what they had imagined," says Naohisa Inoue, the 50-year-old grand chef of the restaurant.