Tuesday, February 13, 2024

The Kamogama Food Detectives, A Review


 What an absolute charmer! This is truly the comfort food of detective novels. Translated from the Japanese, The Kamogama Food Detectives by Hisashi Kashiwai is the story of Nagare Kamogawa and his daughter Koishi who endeavor to recreate favorite memory-filled recipes from people’s past, all of which they do from their restaurant, advertising their detective business via cryptic ads in the local culinary rag.

It was fun reading about the lengths to which they would go in order to do so to present their client with exactly what he or she was looking for. I have to admit, being unfamiliar with Japanese food as I am, that the names of food stuffs and vessels frequently sent me googling, but I came away from this book feeling as though I had learned a great deal, not only about the culture and the people of Japan, but about the cuisine as well.

The book is made up of six individual sections, each of which reads like a short story. I struggled a bit with the names because, being immersed in western culture as I am, none of them were familiar enough to me to be able to 100% keep the characters straight, but I managed well enough. I loved being immersed in Japanese foodie culture, and where else would I find a phrase like “itinerant tofu salesman.” I loved every morsel of this book. As an aside, I must say that the translation is brilliant. Clearly, it was done by an Englishman, because phrases like “chalk and cheese,” “let’s tuck in,” and “mum” appear throughout, and brought me a smile every time they did.

If you enjoy learning about other cultures, or appreciate truly fine food writing, this is absolutely the book for you. You will fall in love with Nagare and Koishi.  I highly recommend it.

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Donna said...

How interesting! I'll have to look for it...I love any and all cozy mysteries!
Thanks for the review!

thepaintedapron.com said...

I love cozy mysteries, but this sounds more like a cookbook?

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

Jenna, it’s neither. More a sweet novel about love and the mysteries of food.