Veggie Curry

March 13th, Wednesday:

DSCN4388

  • Vegetable Curry and Rice (Potato, Carrot, Onion, Green Bean)
  • Milk
  • Tuna Daikon Salad (Tuna, Daikon Radish, Cucumber)
  • Pork Sausage
  • Kcal: 1061

The flavor of daikon depends on the section of it. The upper part nearer to the leaves is sweeter, while the lower part has a more spicy taste. In salad, the thick upper part closer to the leaves is more often used.

野菜カレーライス
牛乳
ツナと大根のサラダ
ポークウインナー

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Mahimahi

March 4th, Monday:

DSCN4350

  • Miso Soup (Onion, Cabbage, Carrot)
  • Simmered Hijiki and Atsuage (Hijiki Seaweed, Atsuage, Carrot, Green Bean, Konnyaku, Chicken)
  • Breaded Teriyaki Mahimahi
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 814

Hijiki is a a food lots of Calcium and Iron, for which we need to build strong bones and prevent anemia. It also has a lot of zinc, which prevents distortion of our sense of taste.

Hijiki and atsuage is yummy! Today, I told my students that we call the fish today, “mahimahi” and they thought that was pretty amusing. Like Hawaiian, Japanese has many words made of repeating sounds, but most of them are onomatopoeia, so a word like “mahimahi” sounds a bit strange as a fish’s name. That said, it was tasty.

Anyway, I was reading a book about Moribe, a Japanese philosopher back in the day who stressed the importance of not abandoning Japanese classics in favour of Chinese\Western books. He argues that, in Japan, Japanese classics should be considered the base of knowledge but that foreign books are nice for supplementing them. And he compares this eating etc:

“Rice and fish are enough to fill one’s belly, but how much more satisfying it is to have vinegary dishes and seasoned vegetables. In much the same way, a man who already has a wife is still happy upon acquiring a concubine.”

I think this is an interesting quote, because it illustrates that in Moribe’s time, rice and fish were considered the basis of diet, and vegetables were considered more of a delicious addition, like dessert. Perhaps that mindset still as influence today, and explains why vegetables are better received by most Japanese children?

I love you Moribe!!!

DSCN4352

みそ汁
ひじきと厚揚げの煮物
シイラ照焼味フライ
ごはん
牛乳

Plummy! Simmered Saury

February 25th, Monday:

DSCN4319

  • Scallop Soup (Scallop, Tofu, Carrot, Chinese Cabbage, Burdock)
  • Simmered Dried Sliced Daikon (Dried Sliced Daikon, Satsuma-age, Hijiki Seaweed, Carrot, Green Bean, Sliced Konnyaku)
  • Plum Simmered Saury
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 846

Tofu 「豆腐」 is a food handed down from China.  The character fu 「腐」does not mean “rotten” in China, but means “something gathered from a liquid to make something firm out of something soft”.

To explain what the kyuushoku tayori means by the above, I should say that 腐 means rotten in modern Japanese, so the characters for tofu seem to literally say “rotten beans”, which does not sound the most appealing.

Anyways, the saury fish today is not that beautiful and rather hard to eat, but being plum-simmered gives it a really nice taste. I say this as a very picky eater. So frightening to behold, but delicious. I like hijiki and satsuma-age and konnyaku so much, so I really liked the simmered daikon, but judging from my students plates, the saury was far more popular than the daikon….

Other exciting things today was one of the boys split his entire soup all across his lap and we got to eat ぼっけもんsweets by 風月堂 from Kagoshima prefecture, since the superintendent brought them back as omiyage! I ate it before I could take a picture. I’m sorry.

  • ほたて汁
  • 切り干し大根煮
  • さんまの梅煮
  • ごはん
  • 牛乳

Penne Eating Contest!

December 29th, Tuesday:

DSCN4273

  • Cabbage and Ham Soup (Cabbage, Onion, Ham)
  • Penne Dressed in Meat Sauce (Penne Noodle, Pork, Onion, Carrot, Green Bean, Green Pepper)
  • Squash Croquette
  • Cocoa Bread
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 883

Penne has a diagonally cut mouth, and since this resembles a “pen”, it is called that. The small proves on the outside of the noodle are to help hold the sauce.

Today, I think I accidentally stole Kyoto-Sensei’s lunch. He, of course, was so kind to pretend that it wasn’t so, but I still feel a bit bad about it. Today’s lunch was tasty though! Esp, I liked the western style soup. Although thinking about it, I pretty much love all soups. Penne and Squash are both pretty heavy foods, so I felt so full afterwards. One of the boys at my table today ate over two full school lunches–two milks, two rolls, two croquettes, and a ton of penne–which was amazing. Even his classmates were impressed.

キャベツとハムのスープ
ペンネのミートソースあえ
かぼちゃのコロッケ
ココアパン
牛乳

Daikon Yakusha

December 7th, Friday:

  • Miso Soup (Cabbage, Carrot, Daikon Radish)
  • Satsuma-age with Egg (Satsuma-age, Rgg, Onion, Burdock, Green Bean)
  • Salt Broiled Boarfish
  • Wakame Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 778

Poor actors in theatre are called “Daikon Yakusha (Radish Actors)”. Because daikon are easy to digest, even if you eat a lot of them, you will rarely get (lit. hit) food poisoning. Thus actors who rarely have a hit are called Radish Actors.

By the way, I asked my friend about this, and she said there were many stories behind this term “daikon yakusha”. One is that daikon are often grated (orosu) which sounds the same as the word meaning to be fired. And another story is that daikon are white and boring (they don’t have a strong flavour and are very common), and poor actors are white and boring as well.

Speaking of Japanese theatre, I was reading in a book the other day that in the Edo period, while the amount of people who actually went and watch theatre wasn’t that high, the amount of people who read books and papers about actors and theatre life was very great. As someone who has no interest in celebreties (theatre or otherwise), I thought that contrast was interesting.

みそ汁
さつま揚げの卵とじ
つぼ鯛の塩焼き
わかめごはん
牛乳

Cabbage and Bacon Soup

November 20th, Tuesday:

  • Cabbage and Bacon Soup (Cabbage, Bacon, Tomato)
  • Meatsauce Dressed Spaghetti (Spaghetti, Pork, Onion, Green Bean)
  • Baked Cream Croquette
  • Milk Bread
  • Grape Juice
  • Kcal: 681

The meatsauce used in school lunch, due to coming in a can, is premixed with the spaghetti. Enjoy the slighlty different taste as compared to Napoliton.

Today’s soup had a stronger than usual taste of bacon, I thought. But I have a soft spot in my heart for cabbage soup, so I thought it was good. The croquette was just that: a croquette of a thick cream. It sort of reminded me of like condensed cream of mushroom soup. Speaking of cream of mushroom soup, here is an amusing anecdote. When I was child, I didn’t like mushrooms because they looked weird. I mean seriously, my grandfather kept a jar of dried shiitake mushrooms on top of the refrigerator and do they not look weird?! But this led to me refusing to eat mushrooms of any variety, to the point I would pick out even the tiniest squares of mushroom out of cream of mushroom soup. Actually, that anecdote wasn’t that amusing, and really only served to show what a picky and selfish child I was. (-_-;)

Back to school lunch. I am not overly fond of spaghetti nor meatsauce/spaghetti sauce.  That said, I liked today’s spaghetti dish better than the spaghetti napolitan. The term used for today’s dish is actually rather interesting. Literally, it reads: Spaghetti Meatsauce Ae.  “Ae” is a type of preparation, usually meaning rather than cooking the dish it is “dressed” with a sauce like vinegar, or ground sesame, or mayonnaise. It’s really more like a salad than it is a pasta.

Oh, and yay for grape juice!

キャベツとベーコンのスープ
スパゲッティメートソース和え
焼きクリームコロッケ
ミルクパン
ぶどうジュース

Stonehunt Soup

November 19th, Monday:

  • Ishikari Soup (Salmon, Daikon Radish, Tofu, Carrot, Burdock, Chinese Cabbage)
  • Simmered Hijiki and Bean Curd (Hijiki Seaweed, BeanCurd, Carrot, Konnyaku, Green Bean)
  • Shore Fried Chikuwa
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 860

Stonehunt (Ishikari) Soup is a traditional dish of Hokkaido made with salmon. Threeflats (Sanpei) Soup is another Hokkaido dish. The difference is that threeflats soup is a salt based broth and stonehunt soup is a miso based broth.

I like ishikari soup and hijiki so much. They are both very tasty. Yum! Yum! I like chikuwa a lot, but it was a little bit oily today. Speaking of chikuwa, lately I’ve been buying this chikuwa with Furano onions mixed in with the fish and it is extremely delicious, straight or on rice. Besides this, it is very low in fat and pretty cheap comparatively speaking.

By the way, I always mispronounce the word “salmon”. Most people do not pronounce the “l”, but since all my knowledge comes from books, I tend to pronounce the “l”. Anyway, I reading the other day that reason salmon has an l is due to my beloved Latin! The word “salmon” comes from Latin word “Salmo”.

石狩汁
ひじきと厚揚げの煮物
ちくわの磯辺揚げ
ごはん
牛乳

Kinpira

November 12th, Monday:

  • Miso Soup (Potato, Wakame Seaweed)
  • Five Ingredient Kinpira (Burdock, Carrot, Pork, Satsuma-age, Konnyaku, Green Bean)
  • Local Teriyaki Mackerel
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 811

Gomoku (five-ingredient) means to have five items or to mix in a variety of thing. In cooking, there is also the case of when you combine fish, meat, or vegetables.

When I was a child, I had this awesome cookbook called “Five Ingredients or Less”. It was awesome because it was more likely we already had all the ingredients in the house and the recipes were pretty simple. My favourite recipe in that book was “Egg Drop Soup”, which is basically similar to the egg soup we eat here in Japan.

That said, there is a saying in Japan that you should eat at least 20 (25? I forget) different ingredients a day. This makes sense, because if you eat lots of different ingredients then you will get lots of different nutrients. Japanese meals naturally lend themselves to this as well by serving lots of different dishes in small quantities. Judging from my friends, the most basic meal seems to have at least two different side dishes plus soup and rice. And I’ve seen a friend of mine throw together a 7 dish meal for an unexpected visitor based on things she had in her kitchen at the time.

As for myself, one of my main eating flaws in trying to live on white rice alone. Seriously, I’ve had literal nightmares about getting beriberi. Yum!Yum! But slowly, I am trying to be more diverse.

みそ汁
五目きんぴら
国産さば照り焼き
ごはん
牛乳

Shore Simmered Soybeans

October 26th, Friday:

  • Miso Kenchin Soup (Tofu, Trefoil, Burdock, Winter Mushroom, Daikon Radish)
  • Shore Simmered Soybeans (Hijiki Seaweed, Satusma-age, Carrot, Green Bean, Soybean, Konnyaku)
  • Mirin Dried Herring
  • Rice
  • Milk

Konnyaku comes from the konnyaku taro, which is related to taro. It has lots of fiber, which prevents constipation and cleans out your intestines.

I caught a cold today.

みそけんちん汁
大豆の磯煮
にしんみりん干し
ごはん
牛乳

Dried Daikon Stirfry

October 18th, Wednesday:

  • Egg Drop Miso Soup (Egg, Green Onion, Wakame Seaweed)
  • Dried Daikon Stir-fry (Dried Daikon, Satsumaage, Carrot, Hijiki, Green Bean, Konnyaku)
  • Salt-Broiled Trout
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 753

Kiriboshi (Dried) Daikon is daikon radish that has been cut into narrow strips and dried in the sun. Drying them in the sun gives their nutrition and sweetness a power-up.

I liked today’s lunch. I am a fan of hijiki. It has such a lovely wholesome taste that makes me feel energetic and healthy after eating it. Not to mention I also love konnyaku and satsuma-age, which were stirfried with it. Salt broiling is a nice way to cook fish as well, as it gives it a clean ungreasy taste. And you can’t really go wrong with egg drop soup. It was one of my favourite dishes to cook when I was a school child.

  • かきたまみそ汁
  • 切干大根の炒め煮
  • ます塩焼き
  • ごはん
  • 牛乳

Two sweets I received at my desk. The red one is 亀田の柿の種 (Turtlefield’s Persimmon Seeds), a sort of rice cracker snack from Okinawa that goes well with beer. The other one is called 楡の街 (Elm Quarter), from a sweet shop in Wassamu, Hokkaido. It is a sort of biscuit made of crystallized sugar and egg, embedded with almond or pumpkin seeds.