September 13th, Thursday:
- Salt Ramen (Pork, Bean Sprout, Bamboo Shoot, Carrot, Onion)
- Chicken Nuggets
- Stick Cake
- Kcal: 792
Stick Cake was often requested. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? This time, it is “La France” flavour. Be sure to finish up eating quickly, so can have lots of time to savour the taste.
When I first came to Japan I would often be asked what my favourite fruit is. Despite growing up on a tropical island abundant in fruits–or perhaps because of it–my favourite fruit is the cold weather delicacy of the pear. They have just the right mixture of sweetness and flavour and their texture is crispy yet soft. I was told the word pear is “nashi” in Japanese, so this was how I answered. Imagine my distress when I actually tried a “nashi” pear. It tasted for more like a bland apple than the pear of my memories. Thus I unhappily discovered a nashi is not a pear, despite whatever genetic resemblances they may have. What I would call a pear, is called a “La France” in Japanese. It’s not a popular fruit at all, but one occasionally sees it used as a flavour, as in today’s stick cake. Apparently, the European pear was introduced to Japan in that great age of enlightenment, the Meiji period. The original cultivator, a certain Claude Blanchet, was a French man, thus France is commemorated in it’s name of “La France”. I encourage everyone today to eat a delicious La France pear and see how loverly they are.
But some more about the stick cake. It is, thankfully, really more of a miniature loaf of sweet bread, than it is the revolting concoction of cream and white flour that the word cake usually conjures up. It had a nice homemade feel and, of course, tasted deliciously of pears. It had a little more oil than I prefer, but from what I understand, I prefer my bread dryer than most people. Finally, it was made in conjunction with Nippon Food Action, which means it uses local ingredients, including Japanese rice flour and pears from Yamagata.
Also, I discovered today that pears can be fermented into a drink called perry. I have never had perry, but it is no doubt delicious if it is made from pears. Interesting, the commander of the black ships that opened up Japan at gunpoint, was also named Perry. His ancestors probably came from a place known for pear cultivation. I am afraid from now on, I shall always associate the two.