Food from the Regions of Japan: A Historical and Cultural Journey
Japan is a country with a rich history and culture, known for its delicious mix of flavors and textures in its food. The cuisine is characterized by fresh ingredients, simple preparation, and traditional Japanese cooking techniques.
In this guide, I’ll take you through the food of each region and everything in between.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 A Stroll Down Memory Lane: The Historical Origins of Japanese Cuisine
- 2 Chubu: A Culinary Adventure Through the Heart of Japan
- 3 Embarking on a Flavorful Journey Through Chugoku
- 4 A Culinary Adventure in Hokkaido
- 5 Embarking on a Kansai Culinary Adventure
- 6 Exploring the Flavors of Kanto: A Culinary Adventure
- 7 Embarking on a Culinary Adventure in Kyushu
- 8 Embarking on a Culinary Adventure in Shikoku
- 9 A Culinary Journey Through Tohoku: Unearthing the Region’s Delectable Delights
- 10 Conclusion
A Stroll Down Memory Lane: The Historical Origins of Japanese Cuisine
I remember the first time I set foot in Japan, the land of the rising sun, and was immediately struck by the rich history and tradition that permeated every aspect of life, especially the food. Let me take you on a journey through time, exploring the historical origins of some of the most popular Japanese dishes.
- Rice: The main staple of Japanese cuisine, rice has been cultivated in Japan for over 2,000 years. In ancient times, people believed that the gods themselves provided the rice, and it was considered a sacred food. Today, it’s still the foundation of many dishes, from sushi to donburi.
- Miso: Originating in China, miso made its way to Japan around the 7th century. This fermented soybean paste quickly became a staple in Japanese kitchens, and its rich, savory flavor is now an essential ingredient in many dishes, including miso soup and various marinades.
- Yakiniku: While grilled meat has been a part of Japanese cuisine for centuries, yakiniku (literally “grilled meat”) as we know it today originated in the post-World War II era. This popular style of cooking thinly sliced meats, often marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and other ingredients, is strongly influenced by Korean barbecue.
Edo Period: The Birth of Modern Japanese Cuisine
The Edo period (1603-1868) was a time of great change in Japan, and this transformation extended to the culinary world as well. As I wandered the streets of modern Tokyo, I couldn’t help but feel a connection to the past, knowing that many of the dishes I enjoyed had their roots in this era.
- Sushi: Although sushi has a long history in Japan, it was during the Edo period that it began to take on its modern form. The combination of vinegared rice, fish, and other ingredients became widely popular in the bustling cities of the time, and the tradition of eating sushi as a fast food continues today.
- Tempura: Introduced by Portuguese traders in the 16th century, tempura quickly became a favorite among the Japanese. The technique of deep-frying seafood and vegetables in a light, airy batter was a novel concept at the time, and it remains a beloved dish to this day.
- Donburi: The concept of a single-bowl meal, featuring rice topped with various ingredients, also originated during the Edo period. Donburi, or “rice bowl,” is a simple yet satisfying meal that has become a staple in Japanese cuisine, with countless variations available.
Regional Flavors: The Diverse Tastes of Japan
As I traveled throughout Japan, I was amazed by the incredible variety of regional dishes, each with its own unique flavors and ingredients. Here are just a few examples:
- Hokkaido: Known for its extreme cold and snowy winters, Hokkaido is famous for its hearty, warming dishes, such as ramen and seafood hot pot.
- Kansai: The Kansai region, which includes the cities of Kyoto and Osaka, is renowned for its refined, delicate flavors, often featuring seasonal ingredients and artistic presentations.
- Kyushu: Located in the southernmost part of Japan, Kyushu is known for its rich, bold flavors, with dishes like tonkotsu ramen (pork bone broth) and spicy mentaiko (pollock roe) reflecting the region’s diverse culinary influences.
As you can see, the history of Japanese cuisine is a fascinating tapestry of flavors, techniques, and traditions that have evolved over the centuries. From ancient rice cultivation to the bustling food culture of the Edo period, each era has left its mark on the dishes we enjoy today. So the next time you sit down to a steaming bowl of ramen or a plate of expertly crafted sushi, take a moment to appreciate the rich history that has shaped this incredible cuisine.
Chubu: A Culinary Adventure Through the Heart of Japan
As I ventured through the Chubu region, which stretches from the coast to the mountains and sits right between Kanto and Kansai, I discovered a treasure trove of unique flavors and famous dishes. Some of the highlights include:
- Miso: This fermented soybean paste is a staple in Japanese cuisine, and Chubu is known for its strong, sweet miso sauce that’s often used for grilling.
- Unagi: Freshwater eel is a popular delicacy in the region, and I had the pleasure of trying some expertly prepared eel, seasoned and grilled to perfection.
- Fugu: The infamous blowfish, a potentially poisonous fish that requires skillful preparation, can be found in Chubu, particularly along the Fukui coast. I was brave enough to try this challenging dish, and the poison had thankfully vanished thanks to the chef’s expertise.
Exploring Chubu’s Culinary Landscape
During my travels through Chubu, I found that each prefecture had its own special dishes and customs. Here are some of the standout experiences I had:
- In Aichi, I got to try miso katsu, a delicious pork cutlet dish topped with the region’s famous sweet miso sauce.
- Ishikawa is known for its firefly squid, a seasonal delicacy that’s served with a sour, pickled rice bran called nukazuke.
- Fukui is not only famous for fugu but also for its buckwheat noodles, which I found to be firm and packed with protein.
Chubu’s Seasonal Delights
As I continued my culinary journey, I discovered that Chubu’s cuisine is deeply connected to the seasons. Here are some seasonal dishes I enjoyed:
- Doyou no ushi no hi: This custom of eating eel on a specific summer day is believed to provide strength and stamina for the hot months ahead.
- Udon: This thick, wheat noodle dish is popular in the region and can be served hot or cold, depending on the season. I particularly enjoyed a bowl of cold udon topped with sweetened bonito flakes on a hot summer day.
Chubu’s Ski Resorts: A Haven for Foodies
Chubu is home to some of Japan’s leading ski resorts, and I found that skiing and hiking weren’t the only activities to enjoy. The region’s resorts also offer a chance for travelers to dine on delicious local cuisine. Some of the dishes I savored while taking a break from the slopes include:
- Tonkatsu: A breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet, served with shredded cabbage and a tangy sauce.
- Onigiri: These rice balls come in various shapes and forms, and I found them to be the perfect snack to fuel my skiing adventures.
As I explored the Chubu region, I was constantly amazed by the variety and quality of the food I encountered. From miso-glazed eel to expertly prepared fugu, Chubu’s culinary landscape is as diverse and exciting as the region itself.
Embarking on a Flavorful Journey Through Chugoku
As I strolled through the historic canals and gardens of Chugoku, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the enticing aromas wafting from the region’s many eateries. Chugoku, a region known for its diverse and unique cuisine, hosts an array of dishes that showcase locally grown ingredients and traditional cooking techniques. Some popular main dishes include:
- Fugu: A delicacy in the region, this pufferfish is prepared in various ways, such as sashimi or hot pot. But beware, only skilled chefs can safely prepare this potentially deadly fish!
- Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki: Unlike its Osaka counterpart, this savory pancake is layered with cabbage, batter, and various toppings, such as pork, seafood, and noodles.
- Jiru: A comforting soup made with chikuwa (fish paste), tofu, and daikon, simmered in a mild miso broth.
Discovering Chugoku’s Signature Rice Dishes
Rice is a staple in Japanese cuisine, and Chugoku is no exception. As I explored the region, I found several unique rice dishes that showcase the area’s distinct flavors:
- Onigiri: These firm rice balls are often garnished with a mix of ingredients, such as miso paste, seafood, or pickled vegetables.
- Tottori snow crab rice: A special dish from Tottori prefecture, featuring succulent snow crab meat mixed with rice and a flavorful broth.
Tasting the Fruits of Chugoku’s Labor
Chugoku is not only known for its savory dishes but also its sweet treats. The region is famous for its juicy, locally grown peaches, which can be enjoyed in various ways:
- Freshly picked: There’s nothing like biting into a ripe, juicy peach on a hot summer day.
- Peach-infused sake: For a more adult treat, try some of the region’s peach-flavored sake, which offers a delicate aroma and mild sweetness.
Indulging in Chugoku’s Regional Ryouri
As I ventured through the different prefectures of Chugoku, I discovered that each area has its own unique ryouri (regional cuisine) to offer:
- Fuku-ryouri: Hailing from Yamaguchi prefecture, this cuisine features a variety of dishes made with fugu, the region’s famous pufferfish.
- Tokushima-ryouri: Known for its flavorful dishes, such as sudachi (a type of citrus) and myoga (Japanese ginger), this cuisine is a must-try for foodies visiting Tokushima prefecture.
A Culinary Adventure in Hokkaido
As I strolled along the bustling streets of Hokkaido, I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of seafood available at every turn. From the local diners to the modern restaurants, the freshness of the catch was evident in every bite. I was particularly drawn to the ika soumen, a unique dish of thinly cut squid served with a tangy ginger soy sauce. The sweet and tender squid was a delightful contrast to the sharp notes of the sauce, making it a dish worth trying.
Warming Up with Hokkaido Ramen
There’s nothing quite like a steaming bowl of Hokkaido ramen to warm you up during the long, cold winters. The rich miso broth, a staple in Japanese cuisine for centuries, is the perfect base for the hearty noodles and succulent slices of pork. I found that the local vegetables added a special touch to the dish, offering a burst of freshness in every bite. With so many different varieties to choose from, it’s no wonder that ramen has become a beloved comfort food in this region.
- Miso Ramen
- Shio Ramen
- Shoyu Ramen
Meat Lovers Unite: Jingisukan, Hokkaido’s Signature Barbecue
As a self-proclaimed meat enthusiast, I was thrilled to discover jingisukan, a traditional Hokkaido barbecue dish. Named after the famous Mongolian ruler Genghis Khan, this dish features grilled mutton and vegetables cooked on a special dome-shaped grill. The tender, juicy meat is marinated in a savory soy sauce, resulting in a mouthwatering aroma that wafts through the air. I found that the best way to enjoy this dish was with a group of friends, making it a great social dining experience.
Indulging in Hokkaido’s Sweet Treats
No culinary adventure would be complete without exploring the sweet side of Hokkaido. As I wandered through the lavender fields, I was delighted to find a variety of lavender-infused treats, from ice cream to cookies. The delicate floral notes added a unique twist to these classic desserts, making them a must-try for any sweet tooth.
- Lavender Ice Cream
- Lavender Cookies
- Lavender Honey
Ainu Cuisine: A Taste of Hokkaido’s Indigenous Culture
While exploring Hokkaido, I was fortunate enough to experience the traditional cuisine of the Ainu people, the indigenous inhabitants of the region. Their dishes, which often feature wild game and mountain vegetables, offer a glimpse into the rich history and culture of Hokkaido. One dish that stood out to me was the ohaw, a hearty soup made with seasonal ingredients and salmon. The flavors were bold and earthy, a true testament to the Ainu’s deep connection to the land.
Embarking on a Kansai Culinary Adventure
As I ventured into the Kansai region, I quickly discovered that this area is a treasure trove of delicious dishes. With a rich variety of flavors, Kansai cuisine is a delightful contrast to the food found in other regions of Japan. One of the main reasons for this is the use of soy and miso in many of their dishes, which lends a strong, sweet, and savory taste to their food. In fact, Kansai is often said to be the birthplace of soy sauce, with the ancient city of Nara being its spiritual home.
The Importance of Rice in Kansai
Rice is a staple ingredient in Japanese cuisine, and Kansai is no exception. In fact, the word “Kansai” itself can be translated to mean “west of the barrier,” which refers to the region’s location in western Japan. With an abundance of rice available, Kansai cuisine often uses rice as a base for many dishes, such as:
- Onigiri (rice balls)
- Donburi (rice bowls)
Delicious Dishes to Savor in Kansai
During my culinary journey through Kansai, I had the pleasure of trying a variety of mouthwatering dishes. Some of the most memorable ones include:
These doughy, octopus-filled balls are a popular street food in Kansai. The base of takoyaki is a batter made with flour, eggs, and dashi (a type of Japanese broth). The batter is poured into distinctive hemispherical molds, and then filled with diced octopus, pickled ginger, and green onions. Once cooked, the balls are flipped with picks and covered in a sweet and savory sauce, aptly named “takoyaki sauce.” You can easily spot takoyaki stalls by their distinctive griddles lined with hemispherical molds.
Kansai-style udon noodles are typically thick and chewy, served in a light, soy-based broth known as “koikuchi.” The flavor of the broth is less salty and fishy than its Kanto counterpart, with a focus on the natural flavors of the ingredients. Toppings can vary, but common options include:
- Green onions
- Fish cakes
Miso soup is a staple dish in Japanese cuisine, and Kansai’s version is no exception. The main difference between Kansai and Kanto miso soup is the type of miso used. Kansai miso soup typically uses white miso, which has a lighter, sweeter flavor than the darker, more pungent red miso found in Kanto. This results in a soup that is both delicious and comforting, perfect for a chilly day.
This savory pancake is made with a base of cabbage, flour, and eggs, and is filled with a variety of ingredients, such as pork, shrimp, and squid. The dish is then topped with a sweet and tangy sauce, mayonnaise, and bonito flakes. The result is a delicious, filling meal that is perfect for sharing with friends.
Exploring the Flavors of Kanto: A Culinary Adventure
Imagine strolling down the streets of Tsukishima, Tokyo, where the air is filled with the mouthwatering aroma of Monjayaki. This popular dish, native to the Kanto region, is a must-try for any food lover. Monjayaki, or “Monja” for short, is a savory pancake-like dish made from a thin batter mixed with various ingredients. The batter, which contains a blend of flour, dashi, and Worcestershire sauce, is cooked directly on a hot tabletop grill, creating a crispy, flavorful delight. Monjayaki is a social dish, best enjoyed with friends and family gathered around the grill, eagerly waiting to dig in.
- Monja Street (もんじゃストリート) in Tsukishima is lined with numerous Monjayaki restaurants, each offering their own unique take on this traditional dish.
Yakitori: Skewered Perfection
As I ventured through the bustling streets of Tokyo, I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of Yakitori shops, or “Yakitoriya” (やきとりや), easily identified by the red lanterns hung outside. These small, cozy establishments are dedicated to the art of grilling skewered chicken, a highly popular dish in the Kanto region. Yakitori is usually served with a sweet and savory sauce or simply seasoned with salt, making it a quick and delicious meal option.
- Yakitori can be found in various places, from street food courts to dedicated restaurants, offering a range of skewered delights to satisfy any craving.
Chanko Nabe: The Hearty Hotpot of Champions
In my culinary journey through the Kanto region, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to try Chanko Nabe, a traditional hotpot dish enjoyed by sumo wrestlers. This hearty, protein-packed meal consists of a variety of ingredients, such as meat, tofu, and vegetables, cooked in a flavorful broth. Chanko Nabe is a communal dish, perfect for sharing with friends and family while enjoying a warm, comforting meal.
- Chanko Nabe restaurants can be found throughout Tokyo, with some even offering all-you-can-eat options for the truly ravenous.
Yakimanju: A Sweet Twist on a Classic
As I continued my exploration of Kanto’s regional cuisine, I stumbled upon Yakimanju, a sweet and savory treat originating from Gunma Prefecture. Yakimanju is a skewered, steamed bun filled with a sweet red bean paste, grilled to perfection and coated in a sweet and savory miso sauce. This delightful snack is a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth.
- Yakimanju can be found at various street food vendors and specialty shops throughout the Kanto region.
Comparing Kanto’s Culinary Scene to Other Regions
The Kanto region, located in the eastern part of Honshu, is home to some of Japan’s largest and most populated cities, including Tokyo. This bustling metropolis offers a diverse and exciting culinary scene, with influences from all over Japan and beyond. As I compared Kanto’s cuisine to that of other regions, such as Osaka in Kansai and Sapporo in Hokkaido, I noticed a few key differences:
- Kanto’s cuisine tends to be lighter and more subtly flavored compared to the bold, rich flavors of Kansai and Hokkaido.
- Tokyo is known for its vast array of international cuisine, while other regions may be more focused on their own regional specialties.
- The Kanto region is home to a number of highly rated Michelin-starred restaurants, showcasing the region’s dedication to culinary excellence.
With its diverse and delicious culinary offerings, the Kanto region is a food lover’s paradise. From the sizzling grills of Monjayaki restaurants to the comforting warmth of Chanko Nabe hotpots, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this vibrant and flavorful corner of Japan.
Embarking on a Culinary Adventure in Kyushu
As a self-proclaimed food enthusiast, I couldn’t wait to explore the unique dishes of Kyushu, Japan. My first stop was to indulge in the region’s highest quality beef, the Kyushu Wagyu. This powerful and prestigious meat is produced in the prefectures of Kagoshima, Miyazaki, and Oita. I was fortunate enough to attend a recent competition held in Kyushu, where the best of the best wagyu was selected and showcased.
Raised in carefully maintained and unpolluted environments, the Kyushu Wagyu is known for its characteristic marbling, which results in a rich and mellow flavor. The strict regulations that limit the production of this beef ensure that only the highest grade is available for consumption. I found this exquisite meat in various forms at local restaurants, including:
- Shabu-shabu: Thinly sliced and quickly cooked in a hot pot
- Sukiyaki: Simmered in a sweet and savory broth
- Teppanyaki: Grilled on a hot iron plate
- Steaks: Cooked to perfection and served with a side of vegetables
Seafood Delights from Kyushu’s Bountiful Waters
Kyushu is also known for its strong seafood heritage, with the surrounding waters providing a rich and diverse selection of fish and other marine life. Some of the unmissable seafood dishes I encountered during my culinary adventure included:
- Kibinago: Silver-striped herring, usually eaten raw or marinated in vinegar
- Tobiuo: Flying fish, delicately prepared and served as sashimi or sushi
- Kame no Te: Barnacles shaped like a turtle’s hand, a rare and delicious treat
- Satsumaage: A signature fish cake from Kagoshima Prefecture, made from a blend of fish paste and vegetables, then deep-fried
Discovering Kyushu’s Sweet Side
My sweet tooth led me to explore the beautiful and delicious desserts of Kyushu. I was particularly drawn to the Takaokun, a traditional cake from the region. This mellow and sweet treat is usually enjoyed with a cup of tea, making it the perfect afternoon snack.
Embracing Kyushu’s Warrior Heritage and Traditions
As I delved deeper into Kyushu’s cuisine, I couldn’t help but notice the strong influence of the region’s warrior heritage. The traditions bequeathed by these ancient warriors have shaped the flavors and techniques used in Kyushu’s cooking. My wife’s personal favorite was the Satsumaage, which she claimed was a testament to the warrior spirit in every bite.
Embarking on this culinary adventure in Kyushu allowed me to experience the unique dishes and flavors that can only be found in this region of Japan. From the prestigious Kyushu Wagyu to the powerful seafood offerings, my taste buds were treated to a journey like no other.
Embarking on a Culinary Adventure in Shikoku
As I set foot on the island of Shikoku, I couldn’t help but notice the locals’ love for noodles. In particular, the region is famous for its udon, a type of thick, wheat-flour noodle. Sanuki udon, originating from Kagawa, is the most popular variety here, and it’s easy to see why. With its firm texture and simple yet satisfying taste, it’s the ideal comfort food. I’ve tried udon in different parts of Japan, but nothing compares to the experience of slurping down a steaming bowl of Sanuki udon in its birthplace.
Ramen is another noodle dish that has a special place in Shikoku’s cuisine. Tokushima ramen stands out with its unique combination of ingredients and flavors. The dish features a soy-based sauce, which is lighter compared to the heavier, pork-based broths found in other regions. The noodles are topped with slices of pork, a raw egg, and green onions, creating a delightful symphony of flavors.
Seafood Delights: Tataki and Uwajima Tai-meshi
Shikoku’s coastal location means that seafood plays a big role in the regional cuisine. One of the most famous dishes I had the pleasure of trying is tataki, a preparation of seared, sliced fish or meat. Kochi is particularly known for its bonito tataki, which is lightly seared on the outside and served with a tangy soy sauce. The contrast between the charred exterior and the tender, raw interior is simply divine.
Another seafood dish that left a lasting impression on me is Uwajima tai-meshi, a classic Ehime specialty. This dish combines rice, snapper, and egg, cooked together in a savory stock. The delicate flavors of the snapper and the richness of the egg create a harmonious blend that’s both comforting and delicious. Sashimi lovers will also find plenty to enjoy in Shikoku, with the region’s abundant supply of fresh, high-quality fish.
Exploring Shikoku’s Unique Ingredients and Flavors
As I ventured deeper into Shikoku, I discovered that the island’s cuisine is as diverse as its landscape. The region’s natural bounty provides a wide variety of ingredients, which are used in both traditional and innovative ways. Some highlights include:
- Sweet bean paste: A popular ingredient in Japanese desserts, Shikoku’s sweet bean paste is known for its smooth texture and subtle sweetness. It’s often used in local confections and as a topping for rice cakes.
- Green soybeans: These young, tender beans are a staple in Shikoku’s cuisine. They’re usually boiled and served with a sprinkle of salt, making for a simple yet satisfying snack.
- Mountain vegetables: Shikoku’s mountainous terrain provides a wealth of wild, edible plants. These are often used in traditional dishes, adding a unique, earthy flavor that’s hard to find elsewhere.
A Journey Through Shikoku’s Culinary Heritage
Shikoku’s regional cuisine dates back centuries, with each area boasting its own unique dishes and flavors. As I explored the island, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the rich culinary history and the dedication of the locals to preserving their food traditions. From the bustling noodle shops of Kagawa to the serene, mountainside eateries of Ehime, each meal was a testament to the love and care that goes into the preparation of Shikoku’s cuisine.
A Culinary Journey Through Tohoku: Unearthing the Region’s Delectable Delights
- Originating from Akita Prefecture, kiritanpo is a dish that truly showcases the region’s love for rice.
- Made from freshly cooked rice that’s mashed and molded around skewers, these rice sticks are then grilled to perfection.
- Kiritanpo is often served in a hearty stew featuring miso, soy, and delicate pieces of chicken and vegetables, making it the perfect dish to warm you up on a chilly day.
Yamagata Soba: A Noodle Lover’s Dream
- Yamagata Prefecture is famous for its soba noodles, and I found myself slurping down bowl after bowl of these delicious, buckwheat noodles.
- Served in a variety of ways, from hot in a flavorful broth to cold with a dipping sauce, Yamagata soba is a versatile and satisfying dish.
- Don’t forget to finish your meal with a small cup of sobayu, the hot water used to cook the noodles, which is said to aid digestion.
Gyutan: A Taste Sensation
- If you’re a fan of yakiniku (Japanese grilled meat), then you’ll love gyutan, a dish that hails from Sendai.
- Gyutan is thinly sliced beef tongue, grilled to perfection and usually served with a side of rice and miso soup.
- The unique texture of the tongue combined with the smoky, savory flavors of the meat make this dish a must-try for any adventurous foodie.
Imoni: A Hearty, Regional Specialty
- Imoni is a beloved dish in the Tohoku region, particularly in Yamagata Prefecture, where an annual Imoni Festival is held in September.
- This thick, hearty stew is made from taro, a starchy root vegetable, and is cooked with beef, soy sauce, and a variety of vegetables.
- The result is a comforting, flavorful dish that’s perfect for sharing with friends and family.
Inaniwa Udon: Delicate Noodles with a Rich History
- Hailing from Akita Prefecture, Inaniwa udon is a type of udon noodle that’s thinner and more delicate than its counterparts.
- These hand-stretched noodles are served either hot or cold, and their silky texture makes them a delight to eat.
- Be sure to try them in a simple, light broth to truly appreciate their unique qualities.
As I reminisce about my culinary journey through Tohoku, I can’t help but feel a pang of longing for the incredible flavors and warm hospitality I experienced there. From comforting kiritanpo to the unique taste of gyutan, the Tohoku region offers a diverse array of dishes that are sure to delight any food lover. So, the next time you find yourself in Japan, be sure to venture off the beaten path and explore the delicious world of Tohoku cuisine.
So there you have it- a look at the food from the regions of Japan. The Japanese have a long and rich history with food, and the traditions have evolved over the centuries to become the amazing cuisine we know and love today.
It’s a fascinating tapestry of flavors, techniques, and traditions that have evolved over the centuries, and has become the amazing cuisine we know and love today. So go on, give it a try!
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.