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Archive for the ‘Japanese Cooking and Culture’ Category

What are little girls made of
Sugar and spice
And all that’s nice
………….. ”

Hina Matsuri Dolls 1

Surely peaches and cream, too! March 3rd is Hina Matsuri – the Doll Festival in Japan. Parents pray for the health, happiness and well being of their daughters. The celebration for girls is also known as “Momo-no-Sekku” or the Peach Blossom Festival. The seasonal event originated in ancient China and has been celebrated in Japan since the Edo Period. Peach blossoms symbolize the feminine traits of decorum, composure and feminine beauty. The blossoms also represent hopes for a happy marriage.

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Kinton

Last month the company wives from Komatsu America Corp gathered at a private home to prepare a taste of Osechi-Ryori for their American friends. Osechi Ryori is a collection of special foods the Japanese people eat at the beginning of the New Year. Generally, Osechi isn’t found on regular restaurant menus and is a specialty enjoyed at home. (more…)

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My friend Yuri Kita is an exceptional cook who lives in North Carolina but has many ties to Columbia, SC. Here are a few more of her recipes for entertaining. Her husband, Roy Kita is a skilled photographer who takes snapshots of his wife’s artistic food. The photos in this post will give you an excellent idea of how talented this couple really is.

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I met Yuri and Roy Kita quite by happenstance at a Japanese Obon Festival in Charlotte NC. The event was crowded; at lunchtime, my companions and I searched for a place to sit. The Kitas graciously extended an invitation for us to join them at their table.

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Kids love to play with their food so capture their attention and transform a few of the basic foods into whimsical creatures or flowers. A big part of kid’s enthusiasm for food occurs if you can get them involved in the cooking process.

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O-bento (bento) foods are artfully arranged in unique compartmentalized containers. Half of the meal usually consists of cooked white rice and the remainder is made up of okazu or side dishes of fish, meat, cooked eggs, vegetables and pieces of fruit. The variety of okazu is endless, arranged in infinite ways within the lunch box. The variety and creativity of bento foods rests with the bento maker, usually the (female) homemaker.

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One of my favorite aspects of the O-bento (portable lunch) in Japan, is the creative, delicious cuisine created especially for kids. Bento lunches packed by Japanese mamas differ vastly from brown bag lunches in America. Even the lunch boxes are cute and original. Childen’s bento boxes are difficult to find in many areas of the United States, except where Japanese populations exist. Recently, I discovered a unique school lunch box by Obentec that was inspired by the Japanese bento.

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