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DATE: 2021/10/25

This summer, I met a book called THE BOOK OF TOFU written by William Shurtleff, a zen master and was a disciple of Masudaya Tofu Shop where runs their family business over 150 years in Kamakura. If there is a book telling me the meaning of FIND VEGGIE, this is the one.This book is a answer of why I had started and a guide of further exploration of vegetables for FIND VEGGIE. To me it was like a miracle destiny to find this book.

Published in 1975, contents of THE BOOK OF TOFU, the 350 pages long with many charming illustrations presents various aspect of TOFU such as nutrition of TOFU, 500 cooking recipes with TOFU, Japanese farmhouse TOFU and practice of making TOFU. This book is still very unique yet avant-garde, and even like a clue to the new way of our living while it is certainly a lesson from pathfinder.

In this book, Mr.Shurtleff explained about Mr.Masuda, the 3rd generation of Masudaya Tofu shop as “Deeply impressed with the feeling of alertness and care in his work. His movement were precise and graceful, joined in an effortless rhythm that, at times, flowed like a dance. A true master, he held in highest esteem the traditional, natural way and the spirit of fine craftsmanship. Like the traditional sword maker or potter, his daily life was a practice, spiritual path or, as the Japanese say a Way. It was obvious that his work was more than a means of economic livelihood. For him, the joy of fine craftmanship was its own fulfillment and reward”.

When I had interviewed Ms.Masuda, the 4th generation, I emphasized the same with Mr.Shurtleff’s appreciation by her beautiful manner under holly and calm atmosphere at 3:30 in the morning. I was touched by her words that the reason taking over family business was because of the bond with customer who wish to continue.

Here is my favorite line by Mr.Shuftelff’s words.“I realized that perhaps our finest teacher had been tofu itself. Like water that flow through the worlds, serving as it moves along, tofu joyful surrenders itself to the endless transformation”.

In the past, Japanese palace carpenters used trees that grew on the south of the mountains to build the south side of the building and trees that grew on the north for the north side. They believed that the different plants, flowers, insects and birds that live around the trees all affected the trees and the soil where they grew and therefore respected and utilized them to the best of their abilities.

The same spirit has been passed down to the chefs that FIND VEGGIE has encountered. The appreciation of the vegetables they have in front of them and their continuing effort to cook is based from the respect they have for nature and agriculture.

Copyright @ 1975 by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi