What is the most important ingredient in Kyoto cuisine?

WATER

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In order to be a great chef you need to learn the nature of things deeply and also learn how to think.

Many chefs go everywhere in the world to do STAGE work placement for free from one day – a year etc  inorder to gain experience and also to build up there CV’s. I regularly read about young chefs that  have been here and there traveling then making a restaurant. In japan that does not go down so well as training to be a very good chef is through discipline and long years as a apprentice . Being in a lot of places of high acclaim does not make you a good chef necessarily.

It is important to do these stages of course  however the most important thing to develop as a chef is often overlooked and that is to develop an interest to try to really understand as much as one can about the natural nature of things and how to think for yourself. Ferran Adria more then anything really wants people/ chefs to do exactly this.

Nobody expects you to become a professor but the intention to try to make a deeper relation to the nature of nature is something that will benefit your cuisine much more then you can imagine.

You have to ask yourself or with others questions inorder to come closer to what you really want and need to know.

I just want to encourage everyone to look at water for example more deeply. Not just follow but try to experience Water and learn about Water if you are a chef or not.

How you want to do this is up to you the internet is a great starting place and see what you can find. Please send me anything that you might particularly find interesting and I keep adding links to this article for others to have a look at.

I will just briefly share some things about Kyoto and the significance of water in Japanese culture.

In Kyoto WATER is and always has been a very significant natural element that is at the center of Kyoto Ryori.

Kaiseki (懐石?) or kaiseki-ryōri (懐石料理?) is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. The term also refers to the collection of skills and techniques that allow the preparation of such meals, and are analogous to Western haute cuisine.

There are basically two kinds of traditional Japanese meal styles called kaiseki or kaiseki-ryōri. The first, where kaiseki is written as 会席 (and kaiseki-ryōri, 会席料理), referring to a set menu of select food served on an individual tray (to each member of a gathering). The other is written 懐石 or 懐石料理, referring to the simple meal that the host of a chanoyugathering serves to the guests before a ceremonial tea, and which is also known as cha-kaiseki (茶懐石).

In Kyoto Dashi ( a very specific stock used for the base of dishes ) is a fundamental key to the hart of Kyoto Ryori and water is extremely specific as to what atributes it has to have.

Many of you may have read or seen japanese chefs from kyoto use Volvic bottles of water when away from kyoto.

Murata-san the grand master of Kikunoi in Kyoto has worked with local university researchers to find out the optimum method for making dashi by extracting the maximum umami flavour from the ingredients.

Firstly you need soft water, like the water they have from the mountains that surround Kyoto (the city is famous for its water which is why its sake, tofu and fu are so renowned throughout Japan). If your water is too hard, it won’t extract the best flavour which is related to  PH values etc. Volvic being the closest alternatieve.

When Murata-san traveled to a book launch to London, he brought his own water with him. There was one restaurant in the UK that claimed they flew in there water from Kyoto specially.

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So now, even though I agree that Water is fundamental in Kyoto Ryori, I also see the implication the information above could have on the environment if everyone jumps on the bandwagon with out thinking about this in more detail. One also needs to understand a little about the natural constitution of Kyoto historically, the wells, the sake culture, the mountains that surround kyoto basically something about how water behaves and has behaved in the past and present. Water always changes and adapts there are reasons for the water to have its unique “flavour” depending on what is going on in and around or what is influencing the water at that moment in time.

Is water really significantly determined by hardness or softness? The flavour of this, the hardness, is definitely very distinctively different however- what I want to really investigate is, the total capacity of what the miracle of water is and that there are other aspects to look at inorder to find the best possible water for Kyoto Ryori or for what ever you are wanting to produce from beer to Sake, Tofu etc.

There is so much more to say about the significance of water in Kyoto/ Japan and I will update as best as I can on my blog in the future.

Indeed there is so much more to say about WATER and our relationship to it GLOBALLY.  Everyone has seen something about the terrible things that have and are happening to our water and the overfishing and global warming etc. and it is really urgent that we all try to do our best to get to know water on a more intimate and personal level no matter who you are. It is really overdue to recognise that water unites us all and gives us life itself and we need to take care and show gratitude.

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Dr. Masaru Emoto offers prayers before shipping out boxes of “Love and Gratitude Water” to afflicted peoples of Japan effected  in the afflicted areas of Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate prefectures in Japan. This is a great thing to do and it is importnat to collectively show our gratitude to our Water.

I wish we would adopt a global world water day tradition because it is an important practice for us human beings beyond anything else in life, to acknowledge what is our life force before anything else!  It would be educational and awareness enhancing to all generations and it may help to inspire people to spend more attention to our WATER!

Water in my personal opinion needs to be looked at much more holistically and Ho2 is only describing water very basically and impersonally for example. Any isolated characteristic is only an aspect:  so what or who is water?

If water is so changeable what is my relationship with water? As we are predominantly made of water we should know so much more about water, should we not?

What does the fish know of the water that it lives in? Probably more then us to be honest.

Certain instruments have made it possible  to record the fact that within each water memory cell it contains

440 000 information panels! Each of which is responsible for its own type of reaction to the environment.

Water has a structure like a nervous system which reacts to any irritation.

Water in its NATURAL form in its NATURAL ENVIRONMENT is incredibly alive and has intelligence amongst many other atributes and I doubt that by transporting water in tanks abroad or in bottles that it is really what we should be looking for in our water. To challenge this I am suggesting more research and study of what the true nature of water is.

Were did water come from Theory National Geographic:

http://www.howstuffworks.com/environmental/earth/geophysics/water-come-from.htm

The next question is what is the water like were you are, what is happening to your water, why are things added into the water, should I test my water, were is a natural water source closest to were I live, what does water mean to you, what is your relationship with water, how can the relationship with water make me a better person and a better chef, how can I help to treat water more better………we need to have gratitude to water, water is our best friend and it is what connects as all and more!

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From Masaru Emoto
Emoto Peace Project:

2013年3月8日金曜日

My sincere request to the concerned people in the world

March 11th, 2013 will mark 2 years after the Great East Japan Earthquake devastated Japan. Measuring at a magnitude 9, the earthquake created a huge tsunami to follow, that hit the Tohoku area of Japan at 2:46 pm that day.Literally destroying everything in its path, including victimizing 18,574 people. Sadly there are still 2,694 people who are missing as a result of the tsunami’s powerful surge, taking them back out to sea. In addition, the earthquake created meltdowns at the Fukushima Nuclear reactors that resulted in a lot radioactive substances leaking into the ocean waters of Japan, contaminating the Pacific Ocean.In 1997, I was with a Buddhist monk, Rev. Kato who cleansed dirty dam water with his prayers at the Fujiwara dam lake in Gunma Prefecture of Japan. I would like to share this important story with you.
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Me with Rev. Kat
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Water Crystal Photo – before the prayer
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Water Crystal Photo – after the prayer
My interpretation of the 2 photos is that they were certainly a good indicator about the condition of the lake at that time. The water crystal before the prayer shows design that looks like a figure of suffering female face. On the other hand, the water crystal after the prayer turned out to be divine in showing lights around the water crystal.
Another example of how our prayers effect water, In the early morning of July 25th in 1999, 340 people were gathered for a water ceremony at Lake Biwa the biggest lake of Japan. At that time, Lake Biwa was so polluted that horrid odors were emitting from the lake. A few days after we went there to offer prayers, the local newspaper reported that suddenly there was no longer bad odors emitting from Lake Biwa.
So from these experiences, I learned that if our prayers and intentions are pure, with using water as medium, multi-dimensional power can take place.
I would like to help those missing 2,694 people who are still missing after 2 years past from the disaster. I would like to protect and heal the oceans from contamination of radioactive substances. I am sure that you feel the same way. In order to do so, we need numerous numbers of people at the same time to join together to send pure prayers to souls of the victims.
I speak of this well known Einstein theory at my seminars:
E = MC2  Mass–energy equivalence by Albert Einstein
I believe the true meaning and power of this equation is
ENERGY = # of people x CONCSIOUSNESS2
The amount of energy or power of the prayer is determined by amount of people who collective connect their pure hearts at the same time. Therefore, I would like to request the everyone around the world to join together for a Simultaneous Global Prayer at exactly 2:46pm Japan time on March 11th. Together we will collectively send our sincere prayers with the following words.
To the victims lost in the oceans and to the water in Pacific Ocean which has suffered radioactive contamination from the nuclear accident in Fukushima.
“I am sorry, please forgive me, thank you and I love you.”
(Repeat 3 times)
Where: Right from where you are.
When: Match 11, 2013
Time: 2:46pm Japan Time
*** Use this Time Convertor Link to find out what time 2:46pm Japan time is in your time zone.  http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html
My sincere love and thanks to each and every one of you for your simultaneous participation in collectively connecting to your heart for this powerful global prayer.
With sincere love and gratitude,
Masaru Emoto
Emoto Peace Project
Water the future:
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Rudolf Stainer

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Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner (25/27 February 1861 – 30 March 1925) was an Austrian philosopher, social reformerarchitect, and esotericist. Steiner gained initial recognition as a literary critic and cultural philosopher. At the beginning of the 20th century, he founded a spiritual movement, anthroposophy, as an esoteric philosophy growing out of idealist philosophy and with links totheosophy.

There is much more to say about Rudolf Stainer however for this article I want to specifically focus on bio dynamic farming.

The development of biodynamic agriculture began in 1924 with a series of eight lectures on agriculture given by philosopher Rudolf Steiner at Schloss Koberwitz in SilesiaGermany, (now Kobierzyce in Poland east ofWrocław). The lectures, the first known to have been given on organic agriculture, were held in response to a request by farmers who noticed degraded soil conditions and a deterioration in the health and quality of crops and livestock resulting from the use of chemical fertilisers. The one hundred and eleven attendees, less than half of whom were farmers, came from six countries, primarily Germany and Poland. The lectures were published in November 1924; the first English translation appeared in 1928 as The Agriculture Course.

Steiner emphasized that the methods he proposed should be tested experimentally. An “Association for Research in Anthroposophical Agriculture” (Versuchsring anthroposophischer Landwirte), directed by the German agronomist Erhard Bartsch, was formed to test the effects of biodynamic methods on the life and health of soil, plants and animals; the group published a monthly journal Demeter. Bartsch was also instrumental in developing a sales organisation for biodynamic products, Demeter, which still exists today. The Research Association was renamed The Imperial Association for Biodynamic Agriculture (Reichsverband für biologisch-dynamische Wirtschaftsweise) in 1933. It was dissolved by the National Socialist regime in 1941. In 1931 the association had 250 members in Germany, 109 in Switzerland, 104 in other European countries and 24 outside Europe. The oldest biodynamic farms are the Wurzerhof in Austria and Marienhöhe in Germany.

In 1938, Ehrenfried Pfeiffer‘s groundbreaking text Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening was published in five languages – English, Dutch, Italian, French, and German; this became the standard work in the field for several decades. In July 1939, at the invitation of Walter James, 4th Baron Northbourne, Pfeiffer travelled to the UK and presented the ‘Betteshanger Summer School and Conference on Biodynamic Farming’ at Northbourne’s farm in Kent. The conference has been described as the ‘missing link’ between biodynamic agriculture and organic farming because, in the year after Betteshanger, Northbourne published his manifesto of organic farming, Look to the Land, in which he coined the term ‘organic farming’ and praised the methods of Rudolf Steiner.

Today biodynamics is practiced in more than 50 countries worldwide. GermanyItaly and India are reported to be the leading countries in biodynamic agriculture based on biodynamic hectares.Demeter International is the primary certification agency for farms and gardens using the methods.

Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming that emphasises the holistic development and interrelationships of the soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system. One of the first modern ecological farming systems, it emphasises a sustainable approach to agriculture.

Biodynamics has much in common with other organic approaches – it emphasizes the use of manures andcomposts and excludes the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include its treatment of animals, crops, and soil as a single ecosystem; an emphasis from its beginnings on local production and distribution systems; its use of traditional and development of new local breeds and varieties; and the use of an astronomical sowing and planting calendar.Biodynamic agriculture uses various herbal and mineral additives for compost additives and field sprays; these are sometimes prepared by mystical (and controversial) methods, such as burying ground quartz stuffed into the horn of a cow, which are said to harvest “cosmic forces in the soil”, and appear more akin to sympathetic magic than modern agronomy.

As of 2011 biodynamic techniques were used on 142,482 hectares in 47 countries; Germany accounts for 45.1% of the global total. Biodynamic methods of cultivating wine grapes have been taken up broadly, including by notable vineyards There are independent certification agencies for biodynamic products; most of these agencies are members of the international biodynamics standards group Demeter International.

Biodynamic agriculture has been characterized as pseudoscience. Its founder, Rudolf Steiner, and its developers characterize it as “spiritual science”. They advocate taking a holistic view rather than areductionist view.

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It is easy to see how aggressive comercial mass farming is only resulting in negative effects for humans as well as for our worlds ecological system/ environment however it never seems to be clear enough and there is a sense of urgency to give alternative methods a chance in order to improve our human condition on this planet.

The great mistake is that we see us humans as an isolated privileged and superior individual, a separate factor from nature which is obviously not the case and by reserving such a view and operating with such a view we are just creating damages.

I want to suggest that the first step would be too observer the inter-connectiveness of all life.

If we cannot develop consideration for all things then our plans are only plans that are one-sided. It never has been more urgent to develop holistic plans, designs, systems etc-  no matter what kind of company you are what profession you are in or what you do! New thinking and applying consideration is key.

We as chefs are at the heart of one of humanities big problems and we need to do more to suport sustainability and holistic visions for our food sources.

Many great chefs have already began great works and collectively we all must continue to strive for more mindful systems. We must continue creating awareness and education.

Profit driven projects would be so much better if integrated with new holistic consideration.

We cannot only be always taking and the principle of the American Indian of only taking what you need but also giving something back couldn’t be more important then in this day and age right now!

A very first and simple step is to try to see how everything in life is connected, nature is all holistic system then tried to develop consideration for everything and everyone as best as you can. From this trying to make better decisions and choices.

There is so much scientific and other very relevant researches that explains the nature of plants and animals and the world we live in.

A plant or an animal or human being is not a cardboard box  yet we treat everything like a cardboard box thinking that we can just create more if we run out and that we have a endless resource of different kinds of sciences to create recourses of food and artificial environments designed to make us one day live completely independent from nature and still be able to survive.

Spain’s greenhouse effect: the shimmering sea of polythene consuming the land

To grow food all year, Almería is cloaked in plastic. But soil-free farming is bringing prosperity and problems

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/sep/21/spain.gilestremlett

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Some people mistakingly believe that all the environmental issues etc is just in effect of the increase of the human population and that artificial planning solutions, design solutions and so on are necessary for our human continuity.

This is just one example of how your vegetables arrive in the supermarket surely good for profit only!

Think local think seasonal and you do want to know where your food comes from!

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We slaughter animals without consideration we used poisonous substances and artificial fertilisers to manufacture vegetables without consideration we make designs and architecture create cities without consideration for example by just adding consideration into your everyday life collectively we have the absolute potential to improve every single aspect of our future.

I just want to discuss the misconception of that animals don’t have feelings or don’t need consideration in the way that they are handled, fed or being slaughtered.

Just because they do not talk and express emotions like we do does not mean they have no feelings of fear, anxiety, pain etc:

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So just because the face of a fly or animal does not express the way our face expresses emotion does not mean they do not share similar basic emotions like we do!Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 00.30.28

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. It is a chemical messenger that helps in the transmission of signals in the brain and other vital areas. Dopamine is found in humans as well as animals, including both vertebrates and invertebrates.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.

So in a nut shel animals have a similar ” make up” as us humans to some degree so able to feel emotions as fear, depression, anxiety etc!

Many chefs and good produces understand very clearly that the way our produce and how we cultivate animals or fish and farming in general effects the taste, quality and nutritional value. More so they know they need a efficient eco system to support there farming isolated farming is not good you need to build a natural ecosystem.

If I only want to grow carrots for example and I dont have a ecosystem to help me grow them then I need to go buy fertilisers and so on leading to isolated farming that is potentially not as effective and environmentally friendly as a holistic cycle inlace to cultivate produce. If you have few animals plants etc and build a cycle of fertilising and growing naturally this will result in many benefits and healthier foods. This is just in a nutshel I know most of you who read this may hopefully know all this already.

Chefs do try to filter these messaged into our society for example at River Cottage: ( http://www.rivercottage.net/ ) not officially biodynamic but a  good example of an active community and holistic approach.

(It is not important to name biodynamics  what is important is how we think and how we work)

Home

By treating things well nurturing and adopting a more considerate holistic system like Biodynamic principles for example we will be able to change our existence considerably.

This is only one of these alternative solutions that we can learn from. I am not saying this is the ultimate solution for everything and this is what everyone has to do however we have to look ourselves for ways in order to not poison ourselves and this planet.

I am not a professional writer ,DR, Scientist etc as everyone knows and it’s difficult for me to express these important ideas and examples, there are many other people like Rudolf Stainer who articulates things much more then I ever could do,  however I do feel a sense of urgency and therefore share my views on my blog in order to support and help improve our collective awareness and consideration and responsibilities that we have as human beings on this planet to safe our natural environment that we are so blessed to have.

I did not add the entire documentary links just go to you tube to see the rest of the documentary please….

Why Biodynamic is so important ..Alex Podolinsky

“There are laws against humans killing each other – Societies to prevent cruelty to animals – Ecology targets plants

Mother Earth is treated like dirt”

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WORKING WITH NATURE

Alex (as he asks to be called) took up Steiner’s challenge of making the Bio-Dynamic method available to “all farmers”.  By applying and refining the method on his own farm, and then by working closely with other farmers from a multitude of enterprises since the early 1950’s, he was able to bring the teachings of Steiner’s down to a more practical level.  He supported his very keen observations with a clear and conscious methodicity of explanation and understanding.  He was the first to recognise that plants have two types of root systems;  one for the uptake of water which supports the transpiration process; and much finer white “hair roots” which are the feeder roots.  Under both natural, and correctly managed Bio-Dynamic systems, these two processes occur independently of each other  (read more).  With artifically fertilised, or even organically fertilised systems, the feeder root system is often impared or even destroyed.Alex Podolinsky is one of the outstanding pioneering individuals in Bio-Dynamics. He is mainly responsible for the wide spread and highly successful application of Bio-Dynamic farming in Australia.  Where it is practiced in situations from small market gardens up to 10,000 acre (4000 ha) wheat and sheep farms, and large Station properties.   Every conceivable crop is produced Bio-Dynamically.

Due to Alex’s life long dedication to the Bio-Dynamic Method, he has been at the forefront of providing farmers world wide with a sustainable, health imbibing alternative Agricultural method.  Many Australian, as well as European and from elsewhere have embraced this practical application of the Bio-Dynamic Method, which, if correctly applied, does not rely on large amounts or even any, of off farm inputs, The mark of true sustainablity.  The results of their efforts are clearly visible in the humus formation and soil re-structuring that occurs on their farms, often in a very short space of time.

In Australia, virtually every aspect of farming has had to be reinvented by the Bio-Dynamic growers, due to the fragile state of the denatured soils, the harshness of the climate and the absence of price supports.  Bio-Dynamic farmers on larger farms have had to fashion the technological means to till, plant, and spray out the preparations on thousands of acres in a narrow window of time.  This ability has resulted in a new culture of farming that is able to create biologically active soils of highest quality out of the most hostile conditions imaginable.  As Alex puts it, “Bio-Dynamics gives a chance for total redemption of soils”.

Alex has dedicated more than 55 years of his life to organic and bio-dynamic activities.  By the 1970’s he was already a member of IFOAM.  All  those who have witnessed him representing his subject comment on the animated fire and inspiration with which he delivers his message.  He is uncompromising in his insistence of highest professional standards in Bio-Dynamics, and rock solid in his understanding of how Bio-Dynamics works.  When he walks over field and garden, he seems tireless and spry, his small, wiry frame full of quickness and ease.  His observing, which he calls “Active Perception”, is unceasingly in practice.  He is constantly on the look out for some aspect of cultivation or management that can be improved by more careful application of the Bio-Dynamic method.  With real farmers and gardeners, his conversations are brief, to the point, and professional.  He knows they can understand from the practical aspects of what he says.

Although Soil, the Earth and Real Food for consumers are Alex’s priorities, he has also been exceedingly active regarding his other interests:    In Education for instance Alex found both the Melbourne Steiner and Gilgai Schools, as well as founding homes for children in need of special care, and training many Steiner and Curative School teachers.  In  ‘Art and Beauty of Environment’  he both designed and built numerous buildings, ranging from domestic houses, to Kindergartens, School and Curative Function Rooms, and even a Skyscraper.   He has a background of education and psychology;  was a performing child and youth musician and sculptor;   has a strong sense for world history; and was a successful dairyman and orchardist.

The remarkable success Bio-Dynamics has achieved inAustralia, which can be traced back directly to Alex’s efforts, makes it clear that it truly does have enormous potential in world agriculture.  These achievements are certainly awe-inspiring and are why a number of farmers in other countries have sought his assistance, and taken up the challenge of that practical advice.  Linda Bullard (former IFOAM President) after attending one of Alex’s lectures and field walks in Italy in 1999 wrote:  “…I count myself very lucky to have been able to hear Alex Podolinsky lecture and then to see his teachings so effectively applied at Agrilatina.  That soil transformation was a miracle!  I have never seen anything like it!…”

Alex has not rested on his achievements. Despite his age, he continues to farm and to travel around Australia and overseas, always providing his advice and insight free of charge. Last year he gave an important lecture to the staff at FiBL (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture) in Switzerland, followed by farm visits detailing practical aspects of the Bio-Dynamic method.  Many joined in with the FiBL team when they wrote to him expressing their thanks and gratitude for his “mission to open peoples eyes  –  and minds.”

Read the Address presented by Alex Podolinsky at the  IFOAM 2005 World Congress held in Adelaide, Australia.

For further information on the Bio-Dynamic Method, or about publications and teaching videos by Alex Podolinsky visit:  http://www.demeter.org.au

Info from IFOAM

Biodynamic UK: http://www.biodynamic.org.uk/