October Cooking Log–Kurashi no techo

Kurashi no Techo, translates as “a notebook for living” has a history of 76 years. The first issue was published during post war era where everything was scarce in Japan. The first 2 years, the magazine was named “Style book” which the theme was to guide the women who wanted to live beautifully even though there was nothing available at the time. The magazine will be filled with beautiful illustration of fancy dresses popular in the west with suggestion of how to make it with patterns and used fabrics. This magazine was a hope for women during the post war. Later when the name changed to Kurashi no Techo, the theme included not just the fashion by the lifestyle as a whole.

When you open this magazine and flip through the pages, it is not like a regular fashion magazine. About 200 pages is covered with editorial works with some illustration or photographs but there are no advertisement all. Yes this magazine had never had any advertisement from the beginning up to present. I am amazed by this fact especially knowing that the magazine business had been struggling for the pass years and a lot had been discontinued in Japan.

I don’t usually buy a magazine. I’ve rather save the budget for 2 magazine and buy a book instead so when I buy, I do my best to get out of it. I grabbed this issue for it’s article about Shanghai home cooking, some easy pasta recipe and there was an article of how to make herbal balls. (the Thai style ones!!) There are more editorials about traveling, mental & physical health, money, knitting, nail care (lol), philosophy, history of an artist and list goes on and on. I love this magazine but the amount of the info are always very intimidating for someone who don’t read so much….. Anyway, all I wanted to share with you is that this magazine was always by the side of Japanese women. It gives us hints or questions us, are we OK? are we happy? Are there any other ways to make our life more fulfilled.. etc…

So, from this magazine, I cooked 3 dishes. 2 pasta dishes and one Shanghai style soup. (Pic below) For the pasta, I cooked the potato pasta and sausage pasta. Both recipe was recommended by a male photographer and it was very easy and good. Kurashi no Techo was a first magazine to be equipped with their own kitchen. The editorial staff who will be writing the recipe will have to test the recipe with the author and to make final adjustments and try cooking by themselves and see if they can reproduce it and finally the whole staff will test the food. This had been there tradition from the beginning and so therefore you can’t go wrong with it’s recipe.

The soup in the picture was a recipe from the magazine. It was a Shanghai home cooking kind of soup, nothing fancy with the simplest ingredients, salt, pork and soy beans (with a bit of ginger & scallion while braising the pork and later you discard it). I added coriander and ginger as a garnish but the recipe didn’t even asked for it. While I was cooking this soup, I was reading the episode of the author, about her 2 year stay in Shanghai as a student. Who she met, the culture and what she loved about it. It is always an eye opening to read such an editorial when you think you can gather all in info via internet. Sometime you need to buy a good quality magazine to inspire you.



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