An attractive British import with much to offer anyone interested in Japanese cooking, whether vegetarian or not. Downer, who spent four years in a quiet provincial town, doesn't try to match the depth of detail on cooking technique in Elizabeth Andoh's At Home with Japanese Cooking or Shizuo Tsuji's Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art (both 1980). Her simpler approach will be less intimidating for many. The recipes are grouped into three main sections--vegetables, bean products and eggs. and grains. There are various clear soups, combinations of vegetables with miso, salads of cooked vegetables in the mild-flavored Japanese manner, and interesting stuffed presentations (eggplants with an unusual jelled sesame mixture, sweet-potato cakes stuffed with miso and walnuts). Several versions of chawan-mushi will please fans of this savory steamed egg custard; mixed-vegetable dishes include a couple of inviting tempuras and various one-pot stews. There is much information on how to make your own tufu, miso, and even natto (fermented soybeans) and yuba (sheets of dried bean-milk skin). A few minor disappointments (rice per se is not extensively covered, kelp simmered 20 minutes may produce a rather skunky stock) don't diminish the charm of this modest book with its illuminating autobiographical insights. A pleasant addition to the field.