Posts Tagged ‘Culture and Cooking’

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December 01, 2015: “Rice Noodle Fish”

December 1, 2015

RNF_Cover_smOne of the joys I have these days is the occasional contact from some of my students from my old job that choose to stay in touch with me. Not only is it a pleasure to see these fine people as they progress through life, but it makes me think that I just may have done a few things right in my old position.

Sometimes it’s fielding Facebook posts from Sarah on her career as one of the finest wedding photographers in New England. Once and a while I’ll get a very entertaining Twitter from Regan’s son, Mason…or perhaps a spirited comment here from her mom. Sweet Emma will chime in on FB, from time-to-time, with news of weird weather patterns, and even weirder wildlife from “the land down-under.” True to form, Isaac may suddenly show up out of nowhere to “kidnap” me to go see a movie, or like his last contact: a phone call to announce the birth of his son!

A couple of weeks ago, Regan sent me a link to an article on okonomiyaki (the comfort food that Yoshio has published a book about, and where this blog gets its name) that she thought I would like…and she hit the proverbial nail on the head! The story was about everything I try to write about in the blog: making good Japanese food in the most authentic way possible, while trying to explore Japanese culture as best a Westerner may. RNF_insert_sm

The story was about a Guatemalan chef who emigrates to Hiroshima to make okonomiyaki…something almost unheard of, as the Japanese can be wary of gaijin (foreigners) and almost never would accept a gaijin cooking what is considered to be Japans’ most hallowed comfort food! The first thing I noticed was the article was very well written: a story/tapestry of  history, Japanese food, travel, cooking techniques, the pursuit of excellence, all wound around a personal story of daring and success! Needless to say, I loved the article, but towards the end of it, I had one of those, “Hey! Wait a minute!” feelings.

Back up to a week and a half before. I’m at my local library, checking out films and asking for help with research on a piece I’m working on. I’m striding to the checkout desk with my usual brisk pace, when a book practically leaps out from the shelf at me!

This has happened a few times in my life, and it always has served me well to follow the instinct: one time, it was a rare book from a former teacher of mine that did the “leaping” and I still cherish that book to this day. So, whenever this happens, I just roll with it.

The leaping book was “Rice Noodle Fish” (Deep Travels Through Japan’s Food Culture) by Matt Goulding. “RNF” is published through Roads and Kingdoms (an independent journal of food, politics, travel, and culture.) The book seems to be strongly attached to Anthony Bourdain, who I gather is some sort of celebrity chef of some sort. I could not be less impressed by this part of it, but if this attachment got the book published… fine, but the writing (and some of the photography) is Matt’s.

My “Waitaminute!” moment was one of perfect synchronicity: Regan’s article to me was from a part of “Rice Noodle Fish” that I hadn’t gotten to read just yet. RNF Food Groups_smWhenever I pick up a new book, I look to the dedication. To my mind this sets the tone of the book, and Matt Goulding has nailed the right tone (and my interest and trust) with his:

“To the shokunin (artisans) of Japan, pursuers of perfection, for showing us the true meaning of devotion.”

With this measure of respect, one can continue, and the rest of the book is just pure fun: it is part travelogue (Matt divides the book into the separate regions of Japan); part etiquette book; and part history book. But the main focus is on the variety of the people and food of Japan. Best of all (for us) Matt’s perspective is from a Westerner, but one who is thoroughly open to Japan’s people and food. Like most of us, Matt freely admits he will never completely understand the myriad of subtleties of Japanese culture, but offers a handful of guidelines, tips, directions, and even some language, to smooth the road for the open adventurer who is looking for a taste of the unfamiliar.

Roads and Kingdoms have made portions of the book available online. It also offers some tips for those traveling to Japan: roadsandkingdoms.com/japan

[Much thanks to the Randall Library of Stow, Ma. for having stocked such wonderful leaping books and for my extension on my loan to complete my article.]

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August 30, 2015: European Breakfast

August 30, 2015

European BreakfastLast Christmas, Teja and Barb gave me a fantastic gift: a sturdy, white-ceramic lined 10″ fry pan. One of the most perfect cooking tools I’ve ever owned (I’ve never had a pan that so easily cleans to a spotless finish) it is too large for most meals I make for myself, and sadly, since I don’t entertain for large groups as much these days, I don’t use the pan as often as I would like.

The Trip_2010The Trip To Italy

I’m a big fan of the two “The Trip” movies. These are about two friends who travel (the first in England, the second in Italy) reviewing food in restaurants as they go. The movies are much, much, more than this simplistic overview, but the food was the first hook for me. The big English Breakfast that the boys experience in the first film caught my attention. I remember similar breakfasts at B&Bs from my trips across Ireland and I found I missed them. As I was cleaning up, early this morning, I was looking at my beautiful pan and it all came together. I had all the makings for an European Breakfast!

Normally, the European Breakfasts are big on meat. The Irish ones were very meat-heavy ones: sausage-links, bacon, and even blood-sausage were prevalent at just about every B&B I visited. Since my visits to Ireland, I have been a steady vegetarian, but I keep an eye out for the best meat substitutes. The choice ones, these days, are made by Quorn, who have even developed a good bacon substitute (or “facon” as I know it) which is something I thought I never would experience (‘tho Quorn’s is closer to “Canadian Bacon” than what we know as bacon, it still is pretty good.) Their sausage patties are the best, so in a thin layer of olive oil, they were the first to hit the pan.

Next was a combo of sauerkraut with juniper berries that had been steeping in the sauerkraut juices for an hour. I like a slightly crisp edge to the sauerkraut, so that is why I put it in early.

Next, was a little bit of butter and 1/2″ slices of fresh tomatoes that my bosses, Jim and Wendy, had given to me from their garden. A grind of pepper, sprinkle of oregano, turning ever so often. No need to tamper too much with Nature’s (and a good gardener’s) perfection.

Then, it was pinto beans mixed with a little molasses. followed quickly by a couple of tablespoons of chopped leeks. Last was an egg, topping the leeks.

Altogether, ‘tho delicious, it was a little too much breakfast for me really, these days to be honest…I’m usually only game for a bit of cereal, a small yoghurt or some such, but I enjoyed the bounty…and an attachment to a memory of bounty, where a big breakfast like this took me 40-50 miles on my bike to the next destination…an Irish town I had just barely sketched out on my map…far from home.

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April 13, 2014: “Babette’s Feast”

April 13, 2014

Babfeast-banner

“Babette’s Feast” (1987) was one of the first ever DVDs I acquired for my movie collection. This film has a unique combination of being an “indie-foreign-foodie” category. It is based on a Isak Dinesen (the nom de plume of Karen Blixen, of “Out Of Africa” fame) short story. I’ve never seen a film that more perfectly communicates how excellent food effects humans: the artistry required to do it well, the generosity of making it, and how food not only satisfies and pleases, but may change one’s very outlook and attitude for life itself.

Babettes-Feast_6

The story takes place in Denmark, the Jutland coast, 1871. Two sisters, Martine and Philippa, are aging spinsters in a remote Lutheran village. The sisters spend most of their time (and money) doing good works for members of their dwindling and aging congregation of their father (now deceased) who was once minister.

Flashback to 40 years before. Martine and Philippa are young and beautiful, their father alive, and adamant about staving off all male attention to his daughters. The minister easily squashes the amorous advances from the young men in his congregation, but challenges arise from the outside world. The first is a young  ne’er-do-well lieutenant, banished to the Jutland coast to get his act together. Once Lieutenant Lorens Löwenhielm claps his eyes on Martine, he decides that she is the focus for a new life, one free from his child-like behavior with this beautiful angel by his side. By subtle means, the minister manages to unsettle the  lieutenant to the point that he sees Martine as a lost cause and then throws himself into a military career, giving up on true love…forever.

The second challenge takes the form of famed French opera star, Achille Papin, who craving solitude and silence, is visiting the Jutland coast. The silence only succeeds to point out to Papin that he is at to the end of his career. He happens to hear Philippa sing, and imagines tutoring not only a gifted protegé, but perhaps a lover as well. At a voice lesson the two practice Mozart’s Don Giovanni, which ‘tho classical to modern times, has enough “joie de vivre” to seems like porn to 19thC. Lutherans. Again with subtle pressure from the father, he compels Philippa to ask to stop voice lessons with Papin. […and the relish in which the minister does so…condemming as he has, both daughters to a lonely spinsterhood, far from their true capabilities and destinies, makes this viewer hate him not just a little.]

Back to 1871, on a stormy night, the sisters receive a visitor: a woman escaping the ravages of the French Revolution. She carries a letter from none other than Achille Papin, begging the sisters to take this woman into their service. He explains that General Gallifet has executed her husband and son, and that she herself has narrowly escaped with her life, but has lost everything. She is Babette Hersant, who Papin writes, “knows how to cook.”

BabettesFeast_1

For 14 years, Babette is a servant to the two sisters. In that time, her Danish improves to the point that she has confidence to “tame” not only local merchants but also the constantly bickering congregation. Then, comes a communication from France informing Babette that she has won the annual lottery she has entered since her departure, to the sum of 10,000 francs! Babette asks the sisters to allow her to make a French meal for the 100th anniversary of the minister’s birth. As Babette has never asked for anything before, the sisters agree, but as materials start to arrive, they have second thoughts: live quails; a green turtle, WINE…what will all this do to the congregation?!!! Martine has a dream that the congregation ends up dead…or worse…dead drunk, because of the meal! Martine expresses her doubts to the congregation and they, comparing Babette’s meal to a “witches Sabbat” assure her that they will ignore the food as “no importance.”

A surprise, last-minute guest of the meal is non other than (now) General Löwenhielm, who acts as a kind of interpreter of how precious the meal truly is, to not only the congregation….but to the film viewer. His discoveries, observations, and amazements are lost on the other diners as they reply to his sophisticated exclamations with comments about the weather.

Babette’s Feast:
Green Turtle Soup (wine-Amontillado) [Green Turtle Soup served with turtle eggs]
Blinis Demidoff (wine-Veuve Clicquot 1860 Champangne) [a kind of pancake covered topped with sour cream, caviar and shallots]
Cailles en Sarcrphage (wine-Clos de Vouget 1845) [Babette’s’ own creation: a quail, stuffed with pate and truffle, baked in a puff pastry]
Salad of Belgian Endive with vinaigrette
Rum Cake with Candied Fruit, Cheese, and Fresh Fruit, for dessert
Coffee and Port

During the course of this meal, it is revealed that Babette was head-chef  at Paris’s famed “Cafe Anglais” and was most esteemed by the very General Gallifet who condemned her. Even more, Gallifet was quoted to say of Babette:

“This chef had the ability to transform a dinner into a kind of love affair, that made no distinction between the bodily appetite and the spiritual.”

One thing is clear: the special meal opens the hearts of the congregation to the point that past animosities are understood, forgiven, and forgotten, as…

“Mercy and truth have met together. Righteousness and bliss shall kiss one another.”

[The true generosity of Babette is only revealed in the last frames of the film. “Babette’s Feast” touches on the ability of the artist to change the perception of the world by giving of their best, the importance of service and to return one’s debt to benefactors. Oddly, there is also a harmonious meld of extreme religious belief with the sensual appetite in “Babette’s Feast.”

I recently posted a Tweet stating that if asked what I believe in, I would say, “A good sandwich.” I didn’t mean to appear casual or as caustic by this. I simply do not know what power(s) govern my life or the lives of others. What I cannot deny is that…once and a while…the sporadic generosity of the creator/universe/powers-that-be, present itself in a way to what both believers and the unbelievers may not contest,

Babette's feast

“Never would you give a stone, to the child who begs for bread.”]

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December 21, 2013: Boar’s Head

December 21, 2013

Boar's Head-MedievalAs they used to say at the beginning of every Monty Python episode: “And now for something completely different…”

You might need the intelligence and humor of a Python to fully understand the inventive, arcane, and fanciful dishes popular in the British Isles:
1. “Bubble and Squeak” [This one’s not so bad: just pan-fried potatoes and veggies.]
2. “Love In Disguise” [Stuffed calf’s heart. Yeah, “a rose by any other name” is still one pretty messed-up culinary concept!]
3. “Cullen Skink” [Haddock and potato soup. This one sounds quite good.]
4. “Star-Gazey Pie” [A fish pie with fish heads poking up through the crust!]
5. “Toad in a Hole” [Sausages in Yorkshire Pudding. Weird name. Sounds good.]
6. “Spotted Dick” [Yeeesh! Now you’re just pulling my leg!]
7. “Haggis” [Uggg! Don’t even ask!]

Which leads to an enduring dish of the Christmas Season, still celebrated with much pomp in Britain: “The Boar’s Head.” I’ve heard the carol many times and wondered at this odd dish, considered “the rarest dish in all the land” but I certainly never thought I would actually meet someone who has not only tasted it, but has prepared it…and that that person would be an American!

Boar's_head_heraldryWild boar has been considered a delicacy throughout the ages. The Romans served it first at their banquets. The Norse sacrificed boar at the Winter’s Solstice (December 21st) to gain favor from their sun-god, Freyr. The Celts revered the boar as a gift from the Otherworld and at their feasts. Celtic warriors would compete over the choice parts of the boar. The best example of this in Irish literature being “Bricriu’s Feast.” That choice part was most well deserved. One needed the courage and strength of a warrior to even attempt to bring down a hundred pound-plus of an intelligent, pissed-off, muscled and tusked monster in the wild!

"Boar Hunter" Dionisio Minaggio "The Feather Book" 1618 McGill Library

“Boar Hunter” Dionisio Minaggio “The Feather Book” 1618
McGill Library

In addition to emotional fortitude, one tool needed for a boar hunt was a boar’s pike. This was usually made of a short-ish and thick  staff of ash or oak, capped at the bottom with a short metal spike and topped with a longer pike with the most important part: a strong metal crossbeam. The trick then was to find and corner the boar and (providing you could stand your ground) the boar would do all the work. As the tusked behemoth charged, you planted the bottom of the pike into the ground and leveled it at the boar’s chest. The boar would run himself through the pike trying to get at you! The crossbeam (usually) stopped the boar’s charge and prevented him from running straight up the shaft and skewering YOU with his tusks, instead!

Being a vegetarian for some years, getting carnivores to talk about the odd meat dishes they’ve had, is bit like going to see a horror movie or a having a near-miss on the freeway for me: I know I’m ultimately safe, but the rush remains! It was a recent discussion about “favorite organ dishes” with the owner of my company, Jim, that I was surprised that his immediate answer was “Boar’s Head!” From previous discussions about food with Jim, I understood him to have a very adventuresome, but discriminating palate, so I trusted his opinion.

Bringing_in_the_Boar's_HeadJim had boar’s head years ago, as an English student attending college in Buffalo, NY. Close to Christmas, a British exchange-student, knowing Jim had a culinary talent, asked him to help prepare a boar’s head for a Christmas party. As boar is unheard of in America, they settled for a pig’s head from the butchers, and started the laborious (three hours worth) process of preparation. First they soaked the head in warm water to loosen the skin of the head. They carefully made a short incision at the back and peeled the skin off. They then removed the brain, eyes, and tongue of the beast for later. In a large pot they added boiling water to the skull to further remove any remaining meat and discarded the skull.

Now that they had all the meat, they chopped it all up (yes ALL…brains, eyes, tongue…the works) and added pork butt to extend the meat from the head. Added to the meat was stock, beaten eggs, leeks, onions, mincemeat, celery and spices (sage, thyme, and probably bay.)  To extend the stuffing further, they added cooked rice (Jim pointed out that bread would have been more traditional.)

Next, was reassembling of the head, putting the stuffing back into the “pig’s mask.” This, Jim says, was definitely a two-person job: one to hold the head together, another load the stuffing in and to stitch the back with butcher’s twine and a bone needle. Once assembled, the ears were covered with foil, the head was glazed with a jam or cherry sauce and the whole thing baked for several hours until the skin was crisp. As decoration, whole parsnips were placed in the mouth as tusks and cherries for the eyes, an effect Jim says was “demonic.”

Boars_Head_XmasJim told me that Boar’s Head is served with the main course, not as the main course, so would’ve traditionally been served with a roast (beef, goose, or turkey) on a silver platter surrounded by candied root veggies and greens (traditionally evergreens, bay, rosemary, and holly.) Boar’s Head is usually served with a gravy or hunter’s glaze.

This being college, the boar’s head was served with much liquid Christmas cheer, and being Buffalo, also with the ubiquitous “Suicide Chicken Wings.” Jim says the students “attacked” the dish with relish, but when asked about the whole process, he summed it up nicely, “Ah…not for the faint of heart.”

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April 29, 2013: Chilled Tofu

April 29, 2013

Chilled TofuOh, dear…I’m afraid I may lose some of you with this one. [sigh] Well, who must do the hard things? Those who believe they must!

Chilled tofu is probably not your first choice of foods. In fact, drawing from a quick poll of friends and fellow-workers provided info that it was no single persons first choice of foods! But it is (often) MY first choice and I hope to tell you why. I can particularly hear my sister Mary Lou’s voice in my head “TOFU…bleeech!” Well, I will make a deal with Moo and the rest of my readers. Make it through this one, and I promise to concoct one very rich and decadent recipe at some point in the future (…and yes, I will entertain suggestions!)

Ok. So tofu….now wait….giiiiiive it chance!….tofu has a number of things going for it. Shall I list them?

Healthy: Yes, tofu is so healthy, that it has been virtually a cliché connected with health since…well…forever! As tofu has a naturally neutral flavor on its own, we are always tempted to either fry tofu or add gravy (sometimes both) all of which reduce the natural health factor. Instead, I find a light sauce, spices or just tasty veggies add flavor to tofu without adding excess calories. My litmus test for a healthy food is any one that I can eat and immediately go on my 5 mile run. Raw tofu, fresh fruit, and a chilled salad are the only meals I know that I can easily do this.

Variety of Texture: Tofu comes in a many textures to appeal to individual tastes. I prefer a very firm texture, but if you like softer textures, you can go for a silken tofu which is very much like custard in texture. Every texture between firm and silken exists.

Speed of Preparation: Preparing raw tofu is a quick two-step process: wash tofu and put under a press for about 10 minutes to remove excess water. The only added time is limited only by the time needed to prepare the food served with the tofu.

Decorative: Raw tofu adds a white base that combines well with other bold colors to make a simple, but attractive hors d’oeuvre.

Versatility of Tastes: As tofu takes on the tastes of any food it is served with, that means you have practically an infinite variety of taste combinations.

I can hardly consider the meal I made above to be a “recipe” per se, it was so simple. I cleaned and pressed tofu and cut fairly large pieces. I grated a carrot, chopped a spring onion, and grated a small piece of ginger. The sauce is half a commercial “spicy, brown, bean sauce” and half shoyu. As I mentioned, the variety of things you may add is limitless. My other favorites: toasted sesame seeds; thinly sliced nori; steamed, drained, cold spinach; grated daikon; and hot sauce.

I believe the reason many people hate tofu is because they have never had a good brand. Sadly, the stuff they sell in super markets are the worst examples. The best you will find is the home-made kind found in a Chinatown kind of market. The next best you can buy is at a health-food store.

Chilled tofu is wonderful on a hot Summer day, delicious with green tea, beer, or sake.

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February 22, 2013: Complex-Simplicity of Soba

February 22, 2013

Simply Soba

The dichotomy of Japanese cooking is that although it can be prepared in elaborate and exciting ways, the basic ingredients are usually very simple. The ingredients for zaru soba (cold soba noodles) have such a simplicity. The dish seemed so plain, in fact, that I was beginning to wonder if I had got it right. As always when doing a new recipe,  I consult three different sources to assure that I am on track. Yes, zaru soba is indeed this simple, and it is that simplicity of each ingredient that combines for a surprising complexity.

[My addition to this classic Japanese dish is my vegetarian dashi, which if you are used to the classic dashi may be too mild for you. I omit the bonito flakes which make it too “fishy” for my taste. I find the more mellow “ocean” taste of the wakame and shiitake mushroom to be just right.]

Vegetarian Dashi: Bring 1 Qt. H2O +2 Tblsp. sal de mer to a boil. As it approaches boiling add 4 medium-sized dried shiitake mushroom, 2 pieces of 6″ kombu; 1, 6″ piece of each wakame and smoked dusle. When the H2O comes to boil, remove mushrooms and cut in quarters. Return to stock. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1/2 hour. Strain veggies from stock and return to medium heat. Add 2 Tblsp. each mirin and shoyu. Leave cover off and reduce until 1/3rd stock is gone.

Take 1 bundle (100g.) of soba noodles and add to 1.5 Qt. boiling, lightly salted H2O, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes. Soba should be firm, but tender. Immediately drain, immerse in cold H2O. Do this twice, to arrest cooking. Leave to drain. 1 bundle of soba will make a good side dish for two people or as a main for one.

Toast 1/2 sheet nori, and crumble (or cut into strips for a more decorative look.) Slice two scallions thin and add to dashi. Top soba noodles with the toasted nori, and dip into the dashi with a small dab of wasabi paste added. [If you are not used to wasabi, try a little to start. You can always add more.]

This dish combines the a tender buckwheat noodle with the crunch of the toasted nori, and the mellow dashi with a slight sharpness of the wasabi to exemplify my seemingly contradictory catch-phrase for Japanese foods and culture: “A complex-simplicity.”

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January 21, 2013: Here There Be Dragons

January 21, 2013

Brussel Sprout & Miso-WalnutI suppose, all in all, I have had my few brave moments. I did manage to get the “highest initials in the oak tree” (our childhood game/challenge) when I was a younger. True, I was lighter than most of the boys in the neighborhood, but I reached those top, thin, swaying branches on pure guts. Then, in college, there was rock-climbing. I was always the first one up…and off, the cliff. These days, with my precarious economic condition, I suffer a kind of enforced day-to-day bravery, so I find I tend to seek less challenges. There is, however, a built-in safety net with cooking. Food, to me, is a kind of mini-adventure: it will most likely not kill you unless you do something really bad, so I am more apt to try more weird stuff.

Last weekend I was dying to try my miso-walnut sauce once again, and having all the ingredients, it was just a matter of finding another worthy vegetable. My first choice was pearl onions. I suspected that the natural glossy texture of these onions would not hold the sauce as well, but I wanted to give it a try. I still think this could work, but after the holidays my store no longer stocked pearl onions. Rats. I guess I was still in “small, round, veggie mode” because what I finally settled on was Brussel Sprouts.I know that I have lost about half of you right there because I am aware that Brussel Sprouts are a bit of an acquired taste. I knew it would be a weird East-meets-West combination, but I also thought it just might be weird and wonderful East-meets-West combination.

Brussel Sprouts with Miso-Walnut Sauce
The brussel sprouts are the easy part of dish. I took a bag of frozen sprouts and put them in boiling, salted H2O for about three minutes. Drain and add Miso-Walnut Sauce. I topped this off with toasted white sesame seeds and toasted nori crumbles.

Miso-Walnut Dressing:  Toast 1/2C. walnuts in pan on stove top on low-medium heat, turning often until toasted, but not black. Grind walnuts in suribachi or any other mortar and pestle (or grind in food processor) until smooth-ish. Add 3 Tblsp. dashi or veggie broth; 1 Tblsp. mirin; 1 Tblsp. sweet white miso; 2 Tblsp. shoyu; and 1/4 teasp. sal de mer. Whisk.

I was fairly pleased with the combination. I think the onions might have been a better mix overall, but this recipe was indeed a weird and wonderful second. Last weekend, I got a very nice visit by my good friend Teja, who grew up in Japan, so I wanted to give him a taste of my latest concoction. Poor Teja. One taste and he almost gagged! As he is handing back the bowl, he said “Sorry.” and I replied, “No…no. For years now, I’ve been begging you guys to give me good feedback on how my recipes are coming along, and I just got the most clear opinion ever!” But now comes the hard part: Why didn’t he like? At first, I thought it being a “leftover” may have changed the taste, but no…the sauce had separated somewhat, but the taste was fine (to me.) “Are you just unfamiliar with brussel sprouts” I asked him. Turns out, that he regularly grills sprouts for the girls, so that wasn’t it. So, then I asked him to taste the sauce alone, and that was it! He thought the combination was just awful! The sauce…while certainly my variation, was derived from a bona-fide Japanese recipe. Now, Teja will freely admit that despite growing up in Japan, he like most people, limited himself to the food there that he knew but he certainly knew that my dish was not for him!

I feel bad for making Teja into a guinea pig in an experiment where it all goes wrong for the pig, but I really think that in this case it is was just a matter of individual taste. The one thing a cook cannot control. To Teja, whom I’ve made many, many delicious feasts, I promise to do better the next time, for you. I however, really enjoyed the leftovers!

Here There Be DragonsLook, if you are a cook and you want a safe recipe, make chocolate cake. I’ve tasted all sorts of “bad” chocolate cakes in my day…dry ones, squishy ones, even vegan ones and all of them were just fine and more than edible!

But the cooking world needs pioneers. People who stir the pot (metaphorically and actually) the other way. It’s like that (probably apocryphal) story of the cartographer’s map from the ancient mariner days which read “Here There Be Dragons” when the charts were unknown. The explorers who went ahead anyway, you read about in eighth grade history. The rest, turned back to the harbor and to obscurity, presumably munching on their chocolate cake (OK…it was more like a chocolate biscotti, back then… a chocolate hardtack if you will, but you get the point.) It’s also like the moral to the old Aesop’s fable, “Do Bravely What You Do At All.”

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