frankly, i’m not a big fan of british cuisine.
as a quick disclaimer, i’m not making some sort of grand proclamation denouncing the deliciousness of all food served in the united kingdom. britain has become a country rife with cuisine from all kinds of cultures, so much so that i have a few friends that joke about tandoori chicken being the national food of the uk. i will gladly agree with any person asserting that britain has some really tasty food.
i don’t like british cuisine because, once you ask that person who asserted the deliciousness of british food to provide an example, the first thing they come up with is fish and chips.
not mince pie. not bread pudding. not kebabs or tandoori chicken. fish and freaking chips.
the conversations we have while we eat are pretty amazing sometimes.
while i was at school the other day, i decided to eat my school lunch in one of my first grade classes. i love eating with my first graders, and for the most part they love eating with me, too. i always get bombarded with all kinds of awesome questions, and i am always more than happy to answer them. “misha-sensei, what is your favorite color?” “misha-sensei, are you married? do you have kids?” “misha-sensei, do you like mini-tomatoes?” the list goes on.
a few days ago, however, i was shocked and a little saddened by a question a little girl sitting next to me asked. about halfway through the meal (during which i was making faces and goofy jokes and thumbwrestling kids), she turned to me all of the sudden and asked, “misha-sensei, are you really from america?” i was a little confused and taken aback, but i said yes.
what she said next threw me for a loop. “but you aren’t scary. americans are scary, right?”
as an american in japan, what do you say to something like that? what can you say?
think about any pasta salad you have ever had. did it involve copious amounts of mayo and/or butter? yeah, that’s what i thought.
as a midwesterner, i am far too familiar with that cloying texture. the sound of pasta salad squelching as you dig a spoon into it still haunts my nightmares. i have learned to fear the gradually deepening yellow color of the salad as it becomes warmer and warmer in the intense heat of outdoor barbecue parties. yes, i begrudgingly enjoy it now and again. but i can feel my arteries screaming in pain as i masticate every bite.
imagine eating a big fat plate of the southern-style pasta salad i just described as the main course of lunch. imagine the unending stomach pains that would result. imagine the huge spike in your blood pressure. imagine all those veggies, still half-buried in their fields somewhere, calling for the imposter “salad” to be deposed.
luckily, somewhere in a lab deep beneath the earth, japanese scientists and farmers were cooperating to create a new breed of pasta salad implementing an innovative hybrid noodle. a noodle with texture, a noodle with flavor, a noodle so fresh that veggies would shriek and swoon at the prospect of being mixed in the same bowl (if they could shriek or swoon).
and they called that noodle harusame.
made of mung bean starch, water, and magic, they are the perfect choice for a fresh, filling, and absolutely delicious summer salad.