May 17th, Thursday:

  • Yakisoba (Pork, Sausage, Tsuto Surimi, Carrot, Cabbage, Onion, Bean Sprout)
  • Milk
  • Chinese Egg Roll
  • White Peach Jello

The roots of yakisoba lie in the Chinese “Chow Mein”. Chow mein is a general term for fried Chinese noodles and it’s said there are over a hundred varieties.

Today’s yakisoba was popular among the students, but I have to say it was, as usual, too greasy for me. In relation, I would like to share a quote from the Cambridge World History of Food

“Lack of meat and dairy products in the Japanese diet produced an aversion to oily tastes, so that even vegetable oil was not commonly used for cooking. Tempura, fish or vegetables fried in a vegetable oil, is one of the best-known Japanese dishes today, but it became popular only after the mid-eighteenth century.”

I think this is still true for many Japanese people. However, school lunch was first instituted on the Western model with the ambition of building up the physical stature of the Japanese people, and this influence is still seen in the milk, meat, and oil focused menu. When children were under-fed at home, a high calorie school lunch was very important. Now, with Japan’s first world affluence though, it seems unnecessary. Of course, children tend to like things high in fat and dislike vegetables, so that probably contributes too. As an aside, the danger of buckwheat allergies in children makes the real soba that I desire to eat in school lunch remain but a dream.


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