there is a special place in my heart for what i call “errant foods.”
i find that when a food manages to make its way across national borders (and sometimes oceans) to establish itself in a new locale, is worth giving a try once or twice at the very least.
i firmly believe that there should be a division of anthropology devoted to the study of errant food. errant food never develops in a vacuum; it is the result of cultural interaction, which means the resulting recipes can be used as a sort of historic landmark for when, where, and how culinary traditions from different cultures collided.
whoever decided to call this stuff “fermented bean paste” clearly had no concept of what sounds appetizing and what does not. if i were asked on the street, “excuse me, would you like a bowl of fermented bean paste soup?”, you can bet your butt i would say no. but “miso soup”? i would be all over that like white on rice.
tofu and… avocado? has the poor man finally lost his mind?
while the answer to that question might be “yes,” this is still a pretty dang tasty recipe i threw together the other day.
i am a firm believer that some of the world’s best soups are those that are just as good hot as they are cold, which is certainly the case of some of my favorites. this soup in particular was inspired by none other than vichyssoise, one of america’s most classic soups.
as with some of japan’s greatest foods, the key to this soup is its mildness. it contains no shocking flavors, no expensive ingredients, and requires no complex cooking methods at all. literally any person with a food processor or a blending wand can make it. and therein lies its beauty.
guess what? that beautiful girl i was talking about the other day is still sick. which means the barrage of soup will continue until she gets better.
so far, we have had japanese soft shell turtle hot pot (a.k.a. suppon) at makoto‘s restaurant, miso ramen, kitsune udon, and potato bacon and leek chowder. and all the while, i’ve been cramming tea into her every opportunity i get.
so when a friend and coworker of mine decided to hand me what appeared to be every leaf from an entire fully grown basil plant while we were at work the other day, i immediately began thinking of delicious things that might lift the curse of the common cold. after about five minutes of deliberation, what i decided upon was toasted italian bread, a few slices of cheap man’s chashu, and creamy tomato and basil soup.
yeah, i know. it’s a great song, isn’t it?
don’t worry, this post doesn’t have anything to do with the 80s. it does, however, have to do with one of the simplest and most delicious foods japanese cuisine has to offer.
when my beautiful female better half came down with a nasty cold last week, i vowed that i would do everything within my power to make her better. did i bike to and from the store a bunch of times every day? of course. did i pick her up two different kinds of fruit tea so she wouldn’t get tired of drinking yuzu and honey all day? that’s a given. did i give her a neck massage and tuck her into bed every night? goes without saying.
but when your hubby tells you that they don’t want to eat because “nothing just looks that good,” you have to make some tough decisions. after all, you have to bolster their strength so they can fight off that nasty illness, but you can’t exactly go around making heinously spicy burritos or steaks without breaking their delicate little sick stomach. in such situations, i tend to turn a good friend of mine.
and that friend’s name is udon.