Next Saturday is my birthday and I will be making and serving Mizutaki to some friends! My father spent five or so years living in Japan in the 50s, and my parents both love Japanese food and lived in the San Francisco Bay area, so I grew up with a lot of Japanese food. Mizutaki is not "traditional" Japanese restaurant food. Rather, mizutaki is traditional food for (presumably poor) people of rural Japan. Mizutaki is essentially a boiling broth on the table, in which the participants put in the food they want to eat. Everything cooks very quickly. The family would have a Mongolian hot pot on their table, have some sort of broth (I use beef - but it could be vegetable, chicken, fish, etc.) and then veggies, tofu and hopefully some meat to throw in. The Mongolian Hot Pot is great. The bottom-most area holds the coals, (regular bbq charcoal works great - but crack a window as not to asphyxiate yourself) and a circular pot rests around the chimney of the device. Next Saturday, we will have a beef broth boiling in the pot, and a large platter with THIN sliced beef, tofu cubes, bamboo shoots, green onions, fresh mushrooms and other veggies. Each person will drop their choice of goodies into the pot, and it cooks almost instantaneously. We will scoop out our goodies and place it on our bowls of steamed rice, and then add mizutaki sauce (a WONDERFUL thin mayonnaise-like sauce.) I am salivating! I grew up eating this stuff, and on a couple of birthdays my present was my being able to invite friends over for a mizutaki supper. (My friends probably thought I was nuts.) A few years ago my mother passed along her old Mongolian hot pot and I have started eating it again. She found an electric Mongolian hot pot she was going to give me, but I freaked - no way I wanted a traditional coal based one - so she gave me her ancient one! Cant hardly wait!!!