At Work in the Criterion Test Kitchen

Some things those of us who work at the Criterion Collection are serious about: movies (maybe you knew that), getting the details right, and eating and drinking. So when the recipes for the absurdly delicious-looking food the Yokoyamas prepare in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Still Walking, which we’re working on now for release in February, came across our desks in the editorial department for inclusion in the booklet, we knew we ought to test them (they were ably translated from the Japanese by Criterion executive producer Fumiko Takagi). If pressed, I’ll admit that the idea of a little sake-fueled hanging out and cooking followed by actually getting to eat the irresistible food we’d seen taunting us from the screen (don’t watch this movie on an empty stomach—that way madness lies) was not exactly a deterrent. To those ends, Liz Helfgott, Michael Koresky, and our friend Sarah Finklea from Janus Films came over to my place in Brooklyn the other night—recipes for kinpira daikon, corn tempura, pork belly kakuni, and rice with edamame and myoga ginger in hand—and we documented the process and the results as follows. —Anna Thorngate

The recipes Kore-eda had his actors make in the film are based on those of his mother. We did some editing before we even started cooking to make them as clear as possible for American cooks. This is my first round of notes.

Michael’s House shirt and carrots: a study in orange.

Daikons, ginger, edamame, sesame seeds, oil for deep-frying, and oh yeah, sake.

Michael and I make corn tempura patties, a messy job.

What happens when you toss the tempura into the hot oil, a dangerous job that less hardy and dedicated souls would probably balk at. Bonus: pork belly simmering on the back burner for the kakuni.

Daikons, daikon leaves, and carrots merrily stir-frying for the kinpira daikon, and man, that pork belly is coming along. Too bad we’re not launching Smell-O-Vision until the next update.

The recipe for rice with edamame and myoga ginger calls for two ingredients we didn’t find: myoga ginger and pickled shiso. We substituted regular ginger for the myoga, and I improvised a quick pickle for the fresh shiso, which we did find. Soy sauce, mirin, more ginger.

The pork belly and hard-boiled eggs, after having simmered in all manner of deliciousness for hours, come out of the broth for a while. Very difficult not to fall on them like ravening wolves.

While you’re waiting for hours and hours for the pork belly to simmer, may we suggest some torch songs with your corn tempura? Also: sake.

From left: pork belly kakuni, kinpira daikon, rice with edamame and ginger.

Fall to! (Fall, too.)

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