Yakitori: Grilling Japanese Style

A majority of Americans celebrate our nation's day of independence with one of America's favorite pastimes: grilling. Most, however, do not realize that cooking over an open fire was integral to traditional Japanese life long before our country's foundation.  Yakimono , literally meaning "grilled things,” is one of the focal points of Japanese cooking and one of the primary courses that comprise the multi-course kaiseki meal. Chicken remains the principal ingredient for yakitori, in fact, most old-school restaurants serve nothing else. But grilling isn't just for haute dining, the Japanese have traditionally cooked without an oven, relying instead on fire to caramelize and roast foods. Most Japanese households prepared their meals on an irori , a square-shaped open fireplace that was built into the floor. These can still be found in houses with traditional hearths in the countryside, but in big cities like Tokyo, no one grills at home due to a lack of outdoor sp

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