Yukari Rice!!

November 9th, Friday:

  • Miso Soup (Cabbage, Carrot)
  • Stirfried Butterbur (Butterbur, Konnyaku, Bamboo Shoot, Satsuma-age)
  • Sweet Salt Broiled Salmon
  • Yukari Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 699

“Yukari” is red perilla sprinkled on rice, and was first introduced as a product by Mishima foods. It is related to the poem in the Kokin Wakashuu:
Murasaki no hitomoto yuye ni Musashi-no no
Kusa ha minagara ahareto zo miru

As you can see, yukari rice turns a lovely red when mixed with the red perilla. I like perilla a lot, so I was happy to eat it, but I think the colour/ slightly sour taste turned some students off of it.

As our school lunch menu told us, yukari gohan was first formulated by the company Mishima Foods in the 1960s. The name “yukari” is an archaic word for purple and they were inspired to name the product purple by the 867th poem in the “Collection of Poems, Old and New“. I typed out the romanji of the poem above, but the meaning is something like this:

Because of a single purple plant, everyone is moved by the sight of the Feild of Musashi’s grasses.
紫のひともとゆゑにむさしのの草はみながらあはれとぞ見る

I should mention that the kanji used to write yukari is not the same as the one used to write murasaki, but is interestingly used when writing the word for perilla. Because waka poetry is very beautiful, I will give you a silly waka I wrote myself:

Amoung the bamboo,
wind pawing at your white sleeves, paused in your hurry,
Was it only accident that you looked my direction?

みどしる
ふきの炒め煮
鮭の甘塩焼き
ゆかりごはん
牛乳

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Mountain Veggies!

October 11th, Thursday:

  • Udon with Meat and Mountain Veggies Sent from Shimukappu (Butterbur, Fernbrake, Bamboo Shoot, Winter Mushroom, Signorina Mushroom, Green Onion, Pork)
  • Milk
  • Furano Minced Meat Dumplings
  • Furano Wheat Kabocha Cookies
  • Kcal: 708

Again, “furusato kyuushoku”. Warabi (fernbrake) is more commonly translated as “bracken” in English, but since the term bracken immediately brings up the image of “bracken water”–not a good thing–I feel fernbrake has a more appetising sound. Signorina Mushrooms are “maitake” in Japanese, which means something like twirling mushroom. The cookies were handmade apparently… they skipped the factory.

  • 占冠から届いた山菜とお肉のうどん
  • 牛乳
  • ふらの荒挽き肉しゅうまい
  • ふらの小麦のかぼちゃクッキー

Butterbur Stirfry

September 3rd, Monday:

  • Miso Soup (Cabbage, Carrot, Tamogi Mushroom)
  • Butterbur Stirfry (Konnyaku, Butterbur, Bamboo Shoot, Satsuma-age)
  • Many Veggies Meatballs
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 749

Many veggies meatballs, besides chicken and onions, also contain various ingredients like carrots, soy beans, trifoil, green onions, and cabbage.

Today’s was a classic miso soup full of cabbage and mushrooms. Since the weather is quite warm (88 degrees according to my computer’s forecast), eating hot soup only makes everyone rather more hot, but it’s still tasty. And serving soup cold is a horrible faux pas, so it’s better hot than that. Butterbur stirfry has a solid and filling texture. I could see how some people might find it a little bland, but I personally prefer it that way. Finally, the meatballs had a sort of ketchup-ish sauce on them, which was good, but I think I like teriyaki style better.

A difference between Western foods and Japanese foods is the former is always expected to be freshly finished and hot, while the latter is fine cold and can be eaten anytime. Tanizaki Jun’ichiro talks about this in his essay “Randa no Setsu”. Thus the time of a Western style dinner is very strict, and if someone is very late, it upsets the whole situation. But in the case of a Japanese style dinner, the food can be prepared easily ahead of time, so the guests can take their time getting to the event. Of course, rice and soup should be served hot. That’s why soup bowls always have lids and the reason behind why rice cookers were invented. Indeed, there is a Japanese proverb: 「冷や飯を食う」 literally, “to eat cold rice”, which means to be treated be badly. As for cold food related proverbs in English, we have the sound advice: “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”

Relatedly, I’m not sure how much Japanese people are aware of this, much less care about it, but there is technically a proper order in which to eat a Japanese meal. Any respectable etiquette book will tell you this (or at least, all the ones I have read do), and there is an aesthetic reason behind it. Rice, as the staple, is of course eaten first, followed by sampling the soup broth, and then some more rice. From there, you can eat the side dishes at will, although you should eat a bit of rice before eating a new side dish. Each dishes proper taste can be fully appreciated then.

  • みそ汁
  • ふきの炒め煮
  • 野菜いろいろ肉団子
  • ごはん
  • 牛乳

Sesame Teriyaki Young Chicken

June 4th, Monday:

  • Miso Soup (Daikon Radish, Wakame Seaweed, Carrot)
  • Simmered Butterbur Stirfry (Butterbur, Konnyaku, Bamboo Shoot, Satsuma-age)
  • Sesame Teriyaki Young Chicken
  • Rice
  •  Milk

There is the phrase, “kamingu 30”. It means you should chew 30 times before swallowing. Why don’t you try this?