During his first foray to a Kyoto food market, Tad was so excited and intrigued by the beautiful displays of strange ingredients that he vowed to learn to cook Japanese food. He poured over photo-illustrated cookbooks and magazines, learning to read Japanese characters from the pictures. Whenever he encountered a new dish, he hunted down the recipe, searching for cookbooks in old bookshops and at the book fairs of Shimogamo Shrine and Chion-ji Temple. With his Japanese “family,” he spent hours at the dining table and in the kitchen absorbing the flavors and cooking methods of kyobanzai home cooking. He bantered for advice from fishmongers, vegetable sellers and tofu makers. At kaiseki restaurants he trained his eye: from kappo restaurant chefs he stole snatches of technique, from a Zen monk he learned the importance of respecting ingredients just as they are. He cooked and cooked and cooked. Today, over twenty years since his first visit, he loves to share his knowledge and enthusiasm about the many delicacies of Nishiki Market.
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