Photograph above: Yamanashi hot pot udon noodle dish “hoto”
Felipe Fernandez-Armesto writes in his essential read “Near a thousand tables ” when talking about our ability to boil food in animal innards but frying required manufactured vessels that “in Japan, the oldest examples which recognizably belonged to pots date from the eleventh millennium B.C.”
Whether they were used for boiling or frying initially is a mystery but what is not up for debate is that it was used as a cooking and social interaction that is still prevalent in homes today.
At our house, at least once a week, the gas apparatus is quickly set up at the dinner table and plates of vegetables, fish and meat are laid out in waiting for the grand entrance of the clay earthenware pot half full with a stock(dashi) of kombu, miso, fish or whatever inspiration has planted itself into the chef for the evening. And then we commence the careful and stress free pleasure of sharing a delicious healthy meal, the responsibilities of execution and good conversation as was the case thousands of years ago, without any electronic devices!!
Take a shot at our nabe recipe as a starting point on your culinary quest into this highly satisfying experience.