What the concept “One Rice…”
means to Japan, and to the world
History reveals that for at least the past eight centuries, the combination of “soup and three dishes” has been synonymous with the notion of a conventional meal in Japan. It’s more than a serving style. Professionals today, both in and outside Japan, recognize that the careful coordination of a stock-based dish with three complementary side dishes can provide a full range of nutritional balance. There is a fourth element, rice, but in Japan at least, its presence is so much a given that it’s not even counted as an additional dish. Contemporary Japanese find themselves too busy to regularly set aside the time and care that such meal planning requires. One by one the dishes have been abandoned, and now it’s common to combine the basics haphazardly in a “one-dish” style, and the consequent lack of nutritional range and balance has become cause for concern.
We started Nakahigashi in order to return the “One Rice…” idea to the world spotlight; to show how the centuries-old culinary tradition of a small island nation was born and thrived through continuous cultivation and refinement. We want to know that the betterment of life we’ve enjoyed through this simple philosophy of food lives on, by realizing it through the local foods and rich culinary experiences of cultures the world over, and for generations to come. We want its essence to live on by allowing its means to be transformed.
We believe that the style of what we call a meal may vary, adapt, and evolve, but its essence will always stand out as a beacon, no matter what the time or place.
During the Edo Period (1603 - 1868), when Japan achieved its highest level of social and institutional development, people were known to eat nothing but a simple, consistent meal of rice, plus a soup, stew, porridge, or other potted dish. Exceedingly simple, yet astonishingly complete and balanced.
This is what we propose as the perfect mealtime configuration, and we want to see it infinitely interpreted based on locality mixed with individual creativity and lifestyle. We believe the idea is so universal that everyone holds the knowledge to create their own “One Bowl of Rice, One Cup of Soup” in pursuit of a cuisine that benefits the mind, the body, and the environment; and we believe in a world to come that will embrace these ideals.