- Kenchin Udon (Udon, Bamboo Shoot, Spinach, Shimeji Mushrooms, Bean Curd, Carrot, Daikon Radishes, Green Onion, Plum Gluten, Konnyaku)
- Local Squash and Mincemeat Fry
- Baked Pudding Tart
- Kcal: 724
A Year of Japanese School Lunch
November 22nd, Thursday:
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”.
October 22nd, Monday:
Shiitake is the most commonly used mushroom in Japan. It contains lots of vitamin D, which helps our body absorb calcium.
My favourite dish today was the aburaage stirfry. I like all three of its main ingredients, and it was dressed with sesame seeds, which I really like too. But the amberjack and soup were of course good too. I didn’t think to take a picture of the rice lid open, but it has wakame seaweed mixed in with it. Wakame rice quite popular amoung students, but to be honest, I don’t like it too much. I find it overly salty, and personally, you can’t improve of the sweet, divine, wonderfulness of plain white rice.
I talked to a student today, really one of the best in the school, who said he wanted to become a doctor or dentist. I asked him why, and of course money was one of the reasons, but also, he said, that he wanted to be able to know what was happening when he was sick. For example, if he had cancer he would be able to understand precisely what is wrong and what can be done to treat it. It was an interesting reason, and one I can understand. On the other hand, I talked to another student who wants to be nurse. Surprised he wanted to be a nurse over a doctor I asked him why as well. He felt that nurses could have a closer connection to their patients than doctors, and he wanted that personal relationship. While both students are smart, the difference is interesting. I personally wouldn’t want to be a nurse or even a doctor… dealing with sick people all day: bleh. Now becoming a psychiatrist, plumbing the depths of insanity that sounds a lot more fun.
So here is a trailer to a book of insanity and madness by H. P. Lovecraft, one of my favourite authors!
October 3rd, Wednesday:
Strangers Rice Bowl (Pork, Egg, Green Onion, Onion, Bamboo Shoot, Shimeji Mushroom)
Miso Soup (Wakame Seaweed, Gluten Croutons, Green Onion)
Salt-Grilled Fatty Mackerel
I didn’t eat school lunch today.
August 22nd, Wednesday:
Bibimbap Rice Bowl uses soybean sprouts. Some types of beansprouts include black mappe sprouts, soybean sprouts, and mung bean sprouts.
The second trimester of school has started again and I got to eat school lunch again after a long while. My diet at home, as I have mentioned, consists almost entirely of white rice and soymilk. While such a mild diet prevents stomach pain and makes me happy, it is somewhat lacking in vitamins. So the bibimbap–with its multitude of interesting vegetables–and miso soup–with the distinct flavour of trefoil and its soft mushrooms–were a much needed repast.
School resumed on Monday, but I hadn’t any class because I had the fortune to present at a certain meeting for foreign teachers. It was held at the lovely Akarenga, built the twenty-first year of Meiji and more formally called the 北海道庁旧本庁舎. The Akarenga is built, as its name implies, of red brick, and in an American new baroque fashion. Baroque has a connotation of overwhelming decadence, but that is not the feeling the Akarenga displays. She is elegant, but simple. She was built beautifully, but only for the purpose of encouraging good and pure thoughts in men endeavoring to shape the future for the better. Abiding in such a charming building, especially for such a short time, truly reminds me how sad and lifeless modern architecture is.
Unrelatedly, while I generally considered myself a rather unfashionable person, I received so many compliments on my charming clothing during my stay there, I am beginning to think I ought to be more arrogant.
July 13th, Friday:
Chop Suey (lit. Eight Treasures of Ingredients) is a chinese dish made by frying many types of meat, fish, and vegetables and then thickening it with potato starch. If you put sauce from the chop suey on top of today’s tofu, it tastes delicious.
June 1st, Friday:
Twice Cooked Pork is apparently some sort of Sichuan Chinese cooking, but I can’t say I like Chinese food. I have never been to China, so maybe real Chinese food is different. But while I find the taste ok, the food’s texture greasy and slimy. On the other hand, Japanese fish is so tasty. Today’s salmon was in fact so tasty, adorned in it’s shiny silver skin, that I couldn’t help but bring to mind the riddle Gollum tells Sam while crossing the Dead Marshes:
Alive without breath
As cold as death
Never thirsting, ever drinking
Clad in mail, never clinking.
Drowns on dry land
Thinks an island
Is a mountain,
Thinks a fountain
Is a puff of air
So sleek, so fair!
What a joy to meet!
We only wish
To catch a fish,
May 11th, Friday:
Atsuage is thickly cut tofu fried in oil. It is an ingredient that combines the virtues of tofu (lots of protein and calcium) and frying (giving body to the food).
April 26th, Thursday:
Note: The plum blossom shaped ingredient in the soup is a food called “fu” made of wheat flour. Originally, it was invented by monks who did not eat meat.
April 13th, Friday:
Notes: Rice lack the amino acid called “lysine”, but miso soup makes up for it with protein from soy beans. “Rice and miso soup” are the best combination.