Cutting Carrots Like a Makanai

Amaranth Journal, one of the most beautiful art and food publications I know, has just published my essay entitled Cooking Carrots Like a Makanai. If you’ve watched the Netflix Series “The Makanai; Cooking for the Maiko House” directed by the famous Kore-eda, you might appreciate my piece. But even if you never cook, have no interest in Japan,and eschew Netflix, please enjoy!

To read the entire piece, please go to the link below.

Here’s how it starts:

Perhaps all you need is a really sharp knife. And a grandmother back in Aomori. I like to think that if I possessed both those things, I could be a cook like Kiyo, the exuberant and competent young woman at the heart of Kore-eda’s beautiful Netflix series, The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House. As I watch the show’s intro, I’m filled with a sort of awe and jealousy. I wanna cut carrots like that! Tidy, perfect matchstick carrots, sliced with a gentle bend of the wrist.

Kiyo doesn’t set out to be a cook. She leaves her hometown at sixteen and comes down to Kyoto with her best friend, Sumire, in hopes of becoming an apprentice geisha. She flunks out as a maiko, but she blossoms as a makanai, or maiko house cook. Of course, thanks to her grandmother’s example, she knows how to cook before she leaves home.

Published by

Gabriella Brand

Gabriella Brand is a writer, adventurer, and educational consultant. She can't stop teaching and learning foreign languages. She would like to walk on all the continents (three more to go!). Her husband is extremely patient and her children are, fortunately, all grown up.

4 thoughts on “Cutting Carrots Like a Makanai”

  1. J’adore ça! Et….tu es plus comme Kiyo que tu saches… Cuisinier…nourriciére, prof…

    et….je n’ai pas oublié te contacter pour fixer une date pour faire une randonneé…mais ce déménagement nous occupe énormément à ce moment….

    et….. je pense souvent au deuil ta famille et le souffrance de Donald.

    A mercredi… Elisabeth



  2. Gabriella,

    Thank you for this delicious piece!

    And thank you for sharing not only nutritious and satisfying fare but also your love of languages!


    div>I will have to check out th


  3. Thanks, Gabriella. Really enjoyed reading about something I know nothing about, but more importantly appreciating the very meaningful connection you have with this Japanese chef.I will tell you that Julia Child held a very special place in my life during a very particular time in my life, so I do understand how these ties can be formed. All best,Louise


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