National Geographic : 1987 Jul
flooding into the room will seem to buoy itup like a balloon and send it soaring through the color bursts of autumn foliage. The chef, Teiichi Nakagawa, is a young man with a broad experience of the world; he has eaten at, and was unimpressed by, Maxim's in Paris. "Art is limited," he began, in a tone that made it clear that he was mak ing no idle observation but reciting the core of his faith as a cook, "but the taste of nature is unlimited. No matter how a dish is pre pared, if it is served and eaten often enough, it will no longer convey nature's taste. The preparation of food changes so as to keep people open to the taste of nature." He then brought in a dish composed of pieces of tofu that had been cut to a thickness of about one-third of an inch. Sheets of sea weeds of different colors-blood orange, golden brown-had been pressed on the tofu tiles, which were then cut to the shapes of maple and sycamore leaves. Finally, these were arranged over a pile of silver fibers pulled from a Chinese radish, which were teased up through the tofu forms. The effect achieved was that of a heap of autumn leaves that had been raked casually into a pile and set on fire. The first public notice of the arrival of lowing like liquid gold, soy oil, which is heated during the refining process, is the world's most plenti ful vegetable oil. Fermentingsoy beans and wheat are checked at Wisconsin's Kikkoman Foods (below), producersof seven million gallons of soy sauce annually.