Forbidden Five Spice

February 12th, Tuesday:

DSCN4283

  • 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.”

エビボールのスープ
スパゲッティカルボナーラ
十勝大豆コロッケ
りんごジャム
コッペパン
牛乳

Okome de Apple Tart!!!

January 24th, Thursday:

DSCN4228

  • Char Siu Ramen (Char Siu, Bean Sprout, Bamboo Shoot, Carrot, Green Onion)
  • Milk
  • Xiao Long Bao
  • Okome de Apple Tart
  • Kcal: 900

From Jan. 24th to 30th is “School Lunch Week”. Let’s eat lunch considering by what people’s efforts we are able to be served the school lunch we so thoughtlessly eat every day.

Today we had the always popular Okome de Tart! It is really delicious. The name of the tart in Japanese is “okome de kokusan ringo no taruto”, which literally means “Tart made with rice and grown-in-Japan apples”.

When we first received the lunch menu for this month, I could overhear some of the teachers talking about it. One of them said it was strange that the tart’s name specified that the apples were “kokusan” ie: grown in Japan. His comment was that, of course! the apples should be grown in Japan: not imported from overseas.

But the sad truth is over half of food consumed in Japan is imported. Something surprising is this is a fairly modern development. As recently as the 1970’s Japan was food self-sufficient.  I don’t really know how this figure changes so dramatically and so fast. But I thought it was interesting the natural thought for that teacher was that “kokusan” should be a given, not a rare and special trait.

☆~お・い・し・い~☆

☆~お・い・し・い~☆

  • とんかつラーメン
  • 牛乳
  • ショーロンポー
  • お米de国産りんごのタルト

Fox Udon

November 22nd, Thursday:

  • Kitsune Udon (Chicken, Shimeji Mushroom, Daikon Radish, Green Onion, Plum Guten)
  • Milk
  • Rice Cake Stuffed Bean Curd
  • Ironman Apple Cheese Dessert
  • Kcal: 661

Mochi (rice cakes) are made from steamed mochi rice. It is a type of very sticky rice. The rice we normally eat isn’t as sticky and it called “uruchi rice”.

Uruchi rice (medium grain rice) may not be as sticky as mochi rice (short grained rice), but it is far more sticky than the dry long grained rice that most westerners eat (ew!).

As I mentioned yesterday, dishes characterized by the addition of bean curd often use the word “kitsune (fox)”. Today’s kitsune udon is basically udon with a pouch of age (bean curd) in it. It’s so delicious. I love it so much!!

The apple dessert was a sort of whipped cream cheese like mouse with apple bits in it. Being a dessert, it was tasty, but to be honest, I don’t really like the whipped cream texture that characterizes many Western style desserts. It is probably supplemented with iron, which is why it is called “ironman”.

  • きつねうどん
  • 牛乳
  • もち入り味付きあげ
  • 鉄人アップルチーズデザート

Bean Curry and Rice

September 12th, Wednesday:

  • Mame Curry Rice (Soybean, Chickpea, Pork, Edamame, Mushroom, Carrot, Onion)
  • Milk
  • Nata de Coco Mixed Jelly (Pineapple, Peach, Apple, Coconut Milk)
  • Almonds and Fish
  • Kcal: 922

Let’s eat beans! Many people don’t like beans. Beans are the plant for extending the life of the next generation. Because the plants have an abundance of nutrition, they are very good for your body.

Apples were a nice addition to the jelly today. I am not overly fond of the tiny niboshi style fish (are they niboshi?) in the “Almonds and Fish” despite the charming baseball cap its wearing on the front of the package. So I pawned off my package to one of my students. I really like the bean curry. For some reason beyond my comprehension, a lot people don’t seem to like beans. This seems to be true both here and in the West. Really, beans are like miniature potatoes, and who doesn’t like potatoes? But I must confess I have unusual tastes.

  • ビーンズカレーライス
  • 牛乳
  • ナタデココ入りまぜまぜゼリー
  • アーモンドフィッシュ