Unexpected Lessons from a Japanese Chef


Every time I walk through the local grocery store I am overcome with amazement, confusion, curiousity, and grief.

I am amazed at the selection of pickled vegetables, seaweed, fish and seafood; confused by the characters on the labels; curious as to how everything tastes; and grievous that I don’t know how to prepare any of it!

All of that changed last night…

The Home Economics teacher at Shimane Chuo High School offered to have me over for dinner at her apartment so that she could teach me to prepare a Japanese meal. We went to A-Coop together so we could buy the primary ingredients:

Ika (squid)
Nodoguro(black-throated fish)

At her apartment, she walked me through the process of preparing the squid and the fish…a completely new experience for me! We even found a baby fish in one of the squid’s stomach!

It wasn’t until later that I found out she had studied at a cooking school in Matsue (the capital city of Shimane)!

Other ingredients we used to make the meal delicious:

Cooking Sake
Tiny Dried Fish for Miso Dashi
Mirin (like a very sweet, less alcoholic sake)
Shoyu
Eggplant
Myoga (edible flower buds)
Sushi Taro Rice Mix (lotus root w. seasonings)
Nori (Seaweed)
Goma (Sesame Seeds)
Firm Tofu
Umeshu Rokku (plum wine…on the rocks : )

The meal was incredibly delicious, and the umeshu was a perfectly sweet touch to compliment it.

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