Although I grew up on Chinese food (great thing about living in the city, a Chinese takeout place is never more than a block or two away), I never ate Japanese food until I was in college. I don’t know the reason why but I suppose in my childish naivete, I automatically equated Japanese food with sushi. I never thought there was anything to Japanese food beyond raw fish. Little did I know…
My freshman year of college I lived with a Japanese exchange student, Misako, and it was during this time that I became wonderfully entrenched in the Japanese culture. When I brought Misako home to Philadelphia to experience American home living, my parents and I decided to try out a Japanese restaurant that was down the street. We had Misako call to place the order as we thought it would be neat for her to do so in Japanese. Within 10 seconds of speaking, she handed the phone back to me and said, “the girl asked for me to speak in English.” We still laugh about that to this day.
As I got older, I fell in love with two Japanese foods-miso soup and udon noodles. I did try out sushi one time (I stayed away from the raw fish selections) and while I enjoyed the dining experience, I haven’t tried it again since.
A couple of months ago I purchased a Japanese cookbook. It’s part of a series that publishes cookbooks of different cuisines, all featuring relatively simple recipes with colorful pictures (my only critique is that they don’t include the name of the dish in the native language). But last weekend I finally christened the book and made chicken with onion sauce and miso soup (sans seaweed as I can’t stand leafy stuff of any kind).
Dashi-no-moto (soup stock base for the soup)