Cooking is one of the oldest arts and an important part of the cultural development of mankind. Its origins lie in the times of primitive society, when people learned to make fire and use it for cooking. However, the first piece of meat to be roasted was just the first step on the very long road that cooking had taken before it became a real art. This happened only when people realized that food is not only a means to maintain vital forces, but also a pleasure for the senses, and creativity, and a way to express their national characteristics.
Over the millennia of historical development, almost every nation has formed its own cultural traditions, and since cooking is an integral part of culture, the culinary traditions of all peoples are unique. And Japan is unique in this sense – its customs are so unique that they differ not only from European ones, but also from neighboring Asian ones, such as Chinese and Korean ones. This is due to the fact that for quite a long time Japan developed in extremely closed conditions from the whole world, so the traditions of other countries could not penetrate into its territory.
Japanese cuisine deserves a separate conversation. Its main difference is a deep respect for food. For the Japanese, food is both an art, a ritual, and a pleasure. In this country, hundreds of years ago, there were very strict requirements for products, so only the freshest, high-quality and healthy ingredients are used for cooking. The process of creating traditional dishes is clearly verified and does not allow deviations, and the appearance of the food must be perfect. According to the Japanese, only a person with a fine sense of beauty and a poetic attitude to nature can become a master of cooking – this is the only way to preserve the natural taste and appearance of products. Even in ancient times, chefs sought to ensure that even in the finished form, all the components of the dish remained themselves. As the great Japanese connoisseur Fosco Mariani said: “Japanese food is nature: root is root, leaf is leaf, fish is fish.”
According to archaeologists, the ancient Japanese learned to cook food on fire about 10 thousand years ago. Then people ate crushed nuts, plants, animal meat, fish, shellfish. Moreover, what particularly struck scientists, even in those days, the islanders fearlessly ate the poisonous puffer fish, although even today not every Japanese will dare to risk their lives for this delicacy. Later in Japan, they learned to smoke meat, and stored it, sprinkled with salt, in a kind of refrigerator-pits 3 meters deep. In the V century BC, the Japanese began to cultivate some plants: pumpkin, millet, buckwheat, green beans. Well, 2.5 thousand years ago, they began to grow the main product – rice. This marked the beginning of the rapid development of agriculture and laid the origins of traditional Japanese cuisine. Rice has become the most important component in the diet, which is why Japan has long been called the Land of rice ears.
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