Sonoko Sakai’s blog

Sonoko Sakai is a local chef, teacher and writer. You can see her articles from time to time in the LA Times, and more regularly on her blog. She has a lot of good info on basic cooking tools and processes, like this LAT story on the donabe and one-dish meals (vegetarians and vegans, look at her recipes and articles on soba-making)~

Rice with chicken and dandelion. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

One of my favorite dishes that makes rice a satisfying centerpiece is maze-gohan — a one-pot rice dish made with a variety of seafood, meat and vegetables and cooked in a clay pot called a donabe.

My mother had a special love affair with donabe pots. Whenever we went on excursions, she bought us kamameshidonabe bento lunches that you could buy at the train stations throughout Japan. They were single-serving clay pots that contained rice with mixtures of meat, seafood and vegetables that varied from place to place. It was fun to eat the warm rice straight out of the cooking vessel in the moving train.

Her style and energy make for an interesting contrast to the fireworks and hyperbole that drives a lot of food writing in LA. She talks a lot, usually in passing, about local and often bygone food cultures, like the example above. She manages to get across a lot of information without making you feel like you are being force-fed “content.”

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