Japanese kitchens contain lots of gadgets and utensils made for convenience and presentation.
The modern Japanese kitchens have evolved from an irori, or fireplace, in rural homes to a gleaming modern room with gas stoves and other appliances. Running water has replaced hauling from a water source. In the ancient Japanese kitchens, a kamado, a ceramic charcoal-fired grill, was originally an earthen vessel used like a stove or an oven. Kamados have become very popular in Western kitchens as well.
Various pots and pans may be found in Japanese kitchens, including a rectangular pan used to make the extremely popular tamagoyaki, or rolled omelette.
Almost every cook will have a large pot for boiling noodles and a metal or bamboo steamer. The otoshibuta is a light wooden lid put over boiling vegetables to keep the temperature even and the vegetables under the water without crushing them.
All shapes and sizes of cooking brushes are traditionally used to apply sauce to foods, such as a Western-style pastry brush. Good knives are especially useful in the Japanese kitchens, including one for fish, one for vegetables, and a carver for meats. The Japanese people have a loving relationship with their food, and presentation is everything. Great skill with the knives ensures an aesthetically pleasing plate and ease in handling morsels with chopsticks.
A bamboo colander, or zaru, helps drain or cool hot foods. Bamboo is also used for steamers and cooking utensils, such as rice paddles. Rice cookers may be found in modern Japanese kitchens and can be used to make much more than this staple grain. As families become busier and sit-down meals become rarer, convenience devices such as this one make it easier for family members to eat according to their schedules.