When I eat at Kajitsu, a restaurant that practices an animal-free cooking tradition called shojin ryori, I am never shocked to find that I don’t miss meat or fish. When the Japanese have been working on an idea for hundreds of years, they tend to figure out a few things. To express wonder that Kajitsu’s chef, Ryota Ueshima, can fashion a delicious multicourse meal out of nothing but plants and mushrooms is like being astonished when a French baker makes dessert from flour, butter, sugar and eggs.