Wednesday, September 02, 2009


When you've lived in another country for as long as I have - especially in another countryside, where the traditions prevail - after a while you tend to become inured and no longer see the difference from the culture you were born and raised in; you lose the instinctive ability to compare, that you had when you first arrived.

So in order to maintain a reasonable spiritocultural balance, I've made it a habit to every once in a while force myself to look at the moment with all the original eyeball I can muster, such as I did at lunch today. After a morning of working in the garden I sat down at the table to eat and managed to observe how utterly different this looked (and was) from an American lunch, such as in a truck stop, The Four Seasons, a Nebraska farm kitchen, any one of the countless places that comprise a nation lunching.

Laid out before me on the table was a lunch comprising:

Brown rice with yuzukosho
Kinpira gobo (using mini-gobo)
Fresh mountain tomato, eighthed
Sesame tofu with wasabi and tamari shoyu
Stew of green beans, carrots and shiitake
Dessert: a piece of pear later

No meat, no dairy, no fat, no pesticides, lots of fiber, organics from our garden (beans, tomatoes, gobo-- Littlefoot got my September carrots in July) or from the local co-op; organic rice from the elderly rice farmer across the lake.

Delicious, filling, light, low cost, varied, visually nourishing (especially the tomatoes, and the green wasabi atop the amber of sesame tofu (talk about 'mouth feel'!) with dark-brown tamari poured over), not to mention a whole summerful of nutes, all sauced with a morning's work in the garden.

Way different from lunch at the Union Diner, as I recall.


Tabor said...

Japan was the only country where I did not miss my American food until the 20th day there. The beauty of presentation enhances everything.

R. Brady said...

The subtleties of flavor and presentation in Japanese cuisine are a whole new territory for Western taste.

Mary Lou said...

sure beats the double chili burger plate I had for lunch at a truck stop in Wyoming one year long ago! I will never forget that one! Yours looks soooo good!

vegetablej said...

Gobo kinpira, yum!!!! Now if I could only get the gobo over here. And I do miss the fantastic brown rice available in Japan, AND the rice cooker to cook it with. I _have_ managed to get some good tamari, from Japan of course. But what is yuzukosho? I know yuzu but the kosho is a puzzle.

R. Brady said...'s another link for the yuzukosho, but a brand I haven't seen, so can't vouch for it; they do vary:

And surely you can get a good (Japan-made) brown rice cooker outside of Japan??

You can grow your own gobo, if you have a garden with an empty corner... it's just highly developed/cultivated/selected burdock... I grew mini-gobo this year, does well.