Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Home cooking

Masayoshi Maeeda is an enterprising young man. One day in the distant future he  plans to open a country B&B (or at least the Japanese equivalent) and being currently in between jobs has decided to gain some experience (at the same time indulging his culinary passions) by cooking hearty, healthy dinners and inviting people over to join him in his one room apartment  - for a small fee. 

 This night he was joined by his gorgeous friend Kika who not only came to meet us on a designated corner so she could guide us to his address but also helped dish up and pour wine (and I am pretty sure stayed to do the washing up too!). Hasuoka san - a fascinating character (owner of a local children's bookstore and kindergarten and well- travelled part time monk), Myong Hee and myself made up the rest of the party. 

We feasted on a chicken and vegetable saute with miso and tomato, Sabuchi ( an indian spicy potato and cabbage dish), Shiroae ( vegetables mixed with a tofu dressing), a wonderful broth with nikudango (meatballs) and fungus - and of course rice and pickles - eggplant narazuke (made by a friend in Nagano) and Tsukudani  - kombu simmered in soy and mirin - made by another local friend. 

For dessert we chomped on piping hot annoimo - a very sweet, sweet-potato roasted in an japanese style dutch oven on the stove top - which also doubles as a room heater... It was the perfect finish. 

We talked about Buddhism, food (of course), Okinawan shamisen music, and how antique Japanese teapots made of iron can help if you have vertigo. We drew with chopstick tips on leaves that were the forerunner to paper  - the pictures and words magically appearing after a minute or so - while we sat warming ourselves under the old style kotatsu that uses charcoal instead of electricity.  

It was a lovely, cosy experience with an interesting group of strangers and I hope that Masayoshi might just realise that dream sooner than he thinks... Gambatte ne!  


  1. Two of our friends in Rotterdam have set up similar 'home cooking' restaurants in their apartments many years ago. I was very intrigued with their ideas. It's usually through word of mouth. Strangers & friends got together and plenty of interesting conversations.

  2. Hey Ellie, yeah popularity in "guerilla" dining trend has been increasing all over the world during the last few years - I have had a couple of people hoping for book deals out of it....