Forbidden Five Spice

February 12th, Tuesday:


  • Shrimp Ball Soup (Shrimp Dumplings, Chinese Cabbage, Green Onion, Shiitake Mushroom)
  • Spaghetti Carbonara (Spaghetti, Onion, Bacon, Parsley)
  • Tokachi Soybean Croquette
  • Apple Jam
  • Coppe Bread
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 923

Five spice (goshin五辛) contains garlic, rocambole (nobiru), Japanese leek (rakkyou), onion, and Chinese leek (nira). Because it has a strong smell, it is said from ancient times to clear away pollution and prevent sickness.

Last week’s cold was actually Type A influenza. So it’s my first day back to work after being in bed for a week. Being all influenza-y for a week didn’t incline me to cook much at home, so it was quite nice to eat school lunch as a change from rice, chikuwa, and tosa nimono.

Anyway, tokachi is an area in Hokkaido which is famous for growing beans. I am most familiar with their delicious adzuki beans, but apparently they also grow soybeans. Today’s croquette was quite tasty I thought: not as oily as usual and with a nice soft flavour. Eating it, I thought maybe it was curry flavoured, but rather it must be the Five Spice they used mentioned above. Looking up “five spice” in English, you will find a different sort of spice mixture that seems to be used in China. This “five spice” refers to the buddhist “five spices”, which we are told we should avoid, because they encourage avarice.

In other food news, this morning on my Foreign Policy site, there seems to be a scandal unfolding about European frozen beef dishes containing up to 100% horse meat. 100 percent! And Western Europeans are not happy with finding out they’ve been feeding their children that. I don’t personally find eating horse meat or even dog meat any more horrible than cow meat. As you’ll recall, I don’t really approve of eating meat in general. What I think is most interesting about this news item is two things:

  1. This is a problem related to modern globalization. Something like this is not likely to occur when the food you consume comes from the same country you live in, much less local farms.
  2. People have really unreasonable biases when it comes to food. As the article states, “the British consumers who are outraged about having been fed Polish horse meat were perfectly willing to buy lasagna made from cows that were likely raised and slaughtered in brutal factory farms and felt few moral qualms about it.”



About Motowori


2 responses to “Forbidden Five Spice

  1. I agree with the point about the illogical conclusions that people come to regarding eating animals. People associate with, and think anthropomorphic thoughts about, “nice” animals like horses, dolphins, dogs, and cats. Thus they are less likely to want to eat them. A fish or a chicken is so unlike a human, that many people who don’t like meat will eat fish or other creatures. However, basing what you eat for heath reasons (like red meat is hard to digest or “factory-farmed” animals are injected with hormones you don’t want) is perfectly sensible. If you think animals should be treated the same as humans and do not want to eat them because it is cruel, logically you should eat veggies only and go so far as to relocate slugs and grasshoppers rather than kill them because they are “animals” too. Personally, I enjoy the participating in the cycle of life and believe humans have divine souls and animals do not. So eating animals is not a conflict FOR ME. But I 100% respect others who feel differently and hope they follow their beliefs well. That said, I think point #1 above is very important no matter what you eat: shop and dine as local as possible and, if you can, have a relationship with those who grow and prepare the food you eat (or even grow and cook some yourself!) The more conscious you are in eating (and all things, really) the better you will feel and the better your soul and body will interact with other beings in this world.

    • tenmen

      I agree with you. When I say I don’t approve of eating meat in general, what I mean is that I really feel modern first-world nations overeat when it comes to meat. Indeed I feel it would be better to eat locally raised meat than it would be to eat special health-food plants that had to be grown in a oil-heated greenhouse far away. We have to eat but taking another life, be it of an animal, fish, bug, or plant is something that should be done with thoughtful consciousness indeed. That consciousness, as you said, is far more important than refraining from eating any one type of food.

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