The Museum of Kyoto's exhibit on Kyoto food culture
The poster looks tempting, or so I thought when I first saw it large outside the Museum of Kyoto, which is between my home and work, so I've seen the poster almost every day. What it says loudly in Japanese is nicely translated into English at the top: Traditional Food Culture in Kyoto – the history and charm of Kyoto cuisine and vegetables, and it's on display until April 16th. How fascinating. What might I learn, I thought, so when I finished work early one afternoon, I stopped by the museum on my way home.
(You may ask why Kyoto people have so much pride for their vegetables, which is easily explained if you look at a map. Kyoto is in the middle of the Japanese main island, about equidistant from the Japan sea in the north and Osaka bay in the south. Traditionally, there was little fish in Kyoto, which means also you don't go to Kyoto for their sushi… let's have a moment to sigh deeply… But their vegetable dishes can be exquisite in both flavor and aesthetics.)
However, after paying ¥1000 with an excited sense of anticipation, riding up to the fourth floor of the museum on an elevator, and getting off at the exhibit, I felt a little misled. I should have asked myself beforehand, "What could a museum exhibit about food?" Museums exhibit preserved objects for viewing. Food is for consuming and is difficult to preserve.
At least I got a general review of the different kinds of cuisine lumped together under the term "Washoku" (Japanese cuisine). Read the rest of this entry »