Finally! I found something about my mysterious cooking pot, Iwachu Nabe or Mabe or Nebe.
Eating from this pot which is placed on the table over a heater usually, and dipped from by the whole gathering is supposed to bring relationships into being and bring folks together as they share from the pot. What a cool present.
I baked a chicken in it and the wooden lid infused the chicken with a delicate wonderful flavor, the skin browned nicely and I was so tickled. Can't wait to try to traditional Japanese fare now. But no Pufferfish, (a prized fish that if prepared carelessly can kill the diner), I promise.
The cast iron is great for anemic people as the iron leaches out into the food.
I waded into reading some of the history of Japanese cooking and its really quite interesting. Nationally, I am told the Japanese have a low incidence of overweight individuals. Looking at some of the dishes, I don't wonder why! But some look incredibly delicious, so I definitely need to make a visit to the Japanese warehouse market for ingredients and begin to put the pot through its paces.