Tai hyakuchin ryori himitsubako [trans.: Secret Treasury of One Hundred Sea Bream Dishes].
Illus. title-page & one illus. in the text. 31; 26 folding leaves. Two vols. 8vo, orig. patterned wrappers, orig. block printed label on upper cover of Vol. I (lacking on Vol. II), new stitching. Edo & Kyoto: 1795. First edition of this early work on the sea bream and its role in Japanese cuisine. This is one in the "hundred tricks" series of recipe books, which also included books on tofu, eggs, whale, rices dishes, conger eel, and devil's tongue, issued between 1782 and 1846. "An author who wrote under the name Kidodo dominated this genre of writings. Little is known about this mysterious author. Kidodo may have worked as a professional restaurant chef in Kyoto, where all his books were published...[one of his writings] refers to him as a cook (ryorinin), and invites readers to visit the author if they have any questions about food preparation...Judging from his publications, which are the only record we have for him, he was certainly prolific and imaginative...Kidodo wrote six of the sixteen hundred-tricks texts, far more than any other author. This is all the more remarkable for the fact that five of his books appeared in printed in the same year."-Rath, Food and Fantasy in Early Modern Japan, pp. 176-81-(& see the whole passage for more fascinating insights). Sea bream is a very versatile fish, used in many kinds of preparations. During the Edo period, sea bream was considered the "king of fish," and, having auspicious qualities, was frequently presented at celebratory banquets (weddings, New Year's parties, etc.). The recipes included in this work come from various regions in Japan. In the preface, Kidodo relates that he went around to all the leading families and asked for their favorite secret family recipes for sea bream. Rath, in error, cites 1785 as the date of publication. The preface is dated "1785" but the imprint is "1795." Very nice copy. Minor marginal worming. . (Inventory #: HillBibl-5382)
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