January 2008 Newsletter 
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2008 Volume 2, Issue 1

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Natural Import Company Newsletter

Letter From the Top...

Dear Friends,

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support this past year, and wish you all the best for 2008.

In this issue we are proud to feature our very special Japanese cast iron cookware. Many of our customers ask, "What makes your cast iron unique?"

Our genuine cast-iron is exclusively imported from the Iwachu Casting Company. "Nambu Tekki" or cast iron ware has been made by hand in the small town of Morioka in Iwate Prefecture. Morioka is a famous area known for their 400 year history of skilled casting in the northern capital city of the Nambu clan. This tradition has been honored by succeeding generations of Nambu feudal lords and Iwachu remains the oldest and largest producer of traditional cast iron in Japan today.

Their traditional designs bridge the gap between present day needs and the grace and simplicity of the past. Fine Japanese cast iron is both beautiful and practical to use. The cast iron we offer is of the highest-quality in all the world.

January is considered by the Japanese to be the heart of winter and a time when the body needs warming foods, which when cooked slowly in cast iron brings strengthening energy and extra needed iron to our body.

Looked after properly, your Japanese Cast-Ironware will last a lifetime.

Happy New Year!

Bruce S. Macdonald



The Fine Art of Japanese Cast Iron
Our high-quality authentic cast iron is made by the Iwachu Company, located in Morioka Prefecture, Japan. Iwachu is the most well known and respected manufacturer of traditional Nanbu-style ironware. Today, craftsmen at Iwachu pay respect to this ancient tradition by creating each Iwachu product with precision and hand craftsmanship. Iwachu's ironware has earned a well deserved worldwide reputation for their superior quality, beauty, and lasting durability.

The production process of making traditional cast iron consists of 64 to 68 steps. At Iwachu, most of this process is still done by hand and quality is strictly maintained and controlled by a master craftsman known as a "kamashi". It requires at least 15 years to become a full-fledged craftsman, and 30-40 years to become a "kamashi."

The Japanese craft of Nambu-tekki (cast iron) sprang from the middle of the 17th century and remains popular today. Nambu Tekki, Japanese cast iron has been crafted in the northern capital city of the Nambu Clan (present day Morioka in Iwate Prefecture) for over 400 years. Cast Iron is quite famous for cooking various Japanese winter dishes called Nabemono or "one-pot" cooking. The superior insulating properties mean that the heat is distributed more evenly and stays warmer for a much longer period of time than regular cookware. For this reason, using cast iron to cook at the table for everyone to share has become an enjoyable practice and a great way to appreciate not only the ready-made food but the beauty of the Nambu. The Japanese usher in the New Year serving winter dishes to their guests using cast iron because it is a viewed as a status symbol in Japan. Cast iron is also used for making Tempura, delicious deep-fried vegetables or seafood. Cast Ironware is also preferred for sautéing and baking. Traditional Japanese cast iron ware is a boon for cooks since it heats evenly, retains heat well and lasts virtually forever. In addition to the health benefits, one of the main advantages of using Japanese cast iron is that it is extremely durable. The versatility of the iron pot or skillet is unrivaled; use it on the stove top, grill, or in the oven. The fact that you can first use on the stovetop and then pop the same pot in the oven makes for quick and easy cooking!

Health Benefits of using Cast Iron: Good-Quality Cast Iron yields important health benefits. Iron-deficient diets are all too common these days and food or liquid cooked in cast iron ware provides significant traces of this essential mineral. Just as foods cooked in aluminum absorb some of the aluminum, foods cooked in cast iron absorb iron. For example, one 100-gram serving of spaghetti sauce prepared in cast iron cookware may contain 87.5 milligrams of iron compared to only 3 milligrams when cooked in a glass vessel. Since iron is essential for good health, cooking in cast iron can be an easy way to increase your daily intake of of iron.
Crystal's Corner
Steaming Saké Soak - Long ago, when saké was entirely handmade a Japanese monk visited a saké brewery and was astonished to discover all the saké producers had amazingly youthful, smooth, soft hands and arms. This was due to the brewmasters exposure to the...Read More
Spiced Saké "O-toso" - Toso or Medicinal Wine is drunk in Japan at the New Year to ensure health for the coming year and is served in specially decorated vessels. Every family has their own special recipe for...Read More

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A Japanese caster or "kamashi" turns a hand-mill pouring liquid iron into a mold

This Month's Feature:

Iwachu Cast Iron

Seasonal Recipes

"Osechi" (New Year's) Tempura

Cast Iron used in making Tempura allows for much more control, and the...read more

Iron Wok Tofu Stir-fry

The secret to fantastic Stir-frying is a Cast-Iron Wok. Cast-Iron provides for even...read more

Skillet Blueberry Upside-down Cake

Melt away your winter blues with this scrumptious warm blueberry...read more


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