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Some passages in this article made me snort, but nevertheless an interesting sta...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Fri, 2015-03-20 10:36
Some passages in this article made me snort, but nevertheless an interesting starting point perhaps to talk about umami.

Relatedly, I was reading something the other day by a Japanese chef, and according to him the best, all-rounded dashi (which, by the way, just means "stock" in the end) is made by combining glutamic acid or glutamates, which largely comes from vegetable sources, and inosinic acid, which comes from animal sources. This is why the combination of bonito flakes (very rich in inosinic acid) with konbu seaweed (ditto for glutamic acid - possibly the highest natural source) makes such a satisfying dashi. A good ramen soup, for example, usually uses konbu as well as chicken and pork bones etc. Onions and garlic are also pretty high in glutamic acid, as are soy beans and green peas. The way to best extract the umami elements from each ingredient is where the skill of the chef comes into play.

Something to think about next time you're making a soup! ^_^


You Think You Know Umami
www.newyorker.com

In Japan, "stew" means a white/bechamel sauce based stew with carrots, potatoes,...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Thu, 2015-03-19 21:09
In Japan, "stew" means a white/bechamel sauce based stew with carrots, potatoes, maybe broccoli etc. and chicken or shrimp - like the one in this commercial for Hokkaido Stew from House Foods. (Hokkaido, because that's the region most associated with dairy products.) What does "stew" mean to you?

(The song used is Attakaindakara (Because It's So Warm) by comedy duo Kumamushi, a big hit and a major earworm.)


ハウスシチューのCM × クマムシ【あったかいんだから~♪】

・ 特別なスープ あなたにあげる あったかいんだから~

For what it's worth, I love cabbage (both the Chinese kind and the western kind)...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Tue, 2015-03-17 08:50
For what it's worth, I love cabbage (both the Chinese kind and the western kind), and have no problem with most other brassicas like broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Brussel sprouts cooked properly are OK too. I just taste something metallic or something in kale and it just turns me off, unless it's cooked with lots of bacon etc.

Which, you know, everything is better with bacon, so doesn't really prove anything. ^_^

(Also, both my sense of smell and taste buds seem to have changed since my teh cancer period. No idea why.)

I have a confession to make. I really don't like kale. (runs for cover)

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Tue, 2015-03-17 07:16
I have a confession to make.

I really don't like kale.

(runs for cover)

In France, chocolate fish are a thing for Easter. (Edit: the fish are originally...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Sun, 2015-03-15 10:24
In France, chocolate fish are a thing for Easter. (Edit: the fish are originally "April fish (poisson d'avril)" to do with April Fool's Day, but you do see them sold alongside the other Easter chocolates) So, these are chocolate fish and chips. O.O


Fish and Chips en cornet chocolat au lait et praliné - BienManger chocolats & gourmandises -...
www.bienmanger.com
Fish and Chips en cornet chocolat au lait et praliné : Un incontournable anglais revisité

Adorable Easter bunnies by master patissier Philippe Rigollot. If you've seen th...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Sat, 2015-03-14 11:18
Adorable Easter bunnies by master patissier Philippe Rigollot. If you've seen the great documentary Kings of Pastry, Mr. Rigollot is the one who has the (spoiler) very bad accident. The Guy and I have driven 4+ hours each way to visit his store in Annecy, and it's totally worth it!

https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpt1/v/t1.0-9/p100x100/10401348_815399478510002_670943395122276116_n.jpg?oh=7f9d0f8548da994c509b398ec6935f12&oe=55A60474

Pâtisserie Philippe Rigollot

Voici la bande de lapins Rigollot qui arrivent dans notre Patisserie, pour le plus grand plaisir des petits mais aussi des grands!!!!

Does anyone know what this weird snack is? Cybercandy identifies it as being fro...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Sat, 2015-03-14 08:31
Does anyone know what this weird snack is? Cybercandy identifies it as being from the UK. It definitely is not from Japan. The chop-chop font used, not to mention the Orientalist description, are kind of off-putting.

Edit: I got a tweet from Cybercandy that it's their own product. (I told them how I feel about the packaging!)


Salty Sakura Cherry Blossom Rice Pieces 85g
www.cybercandy.co.uk

Easter chocolate ads are popping up now here in France. The "Oeuf Infini" from P...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Fri, 2015-03-13 17:52
Easter chocolate ads are popping up now here in France. The "Oeuf Infini" from Pierre Hermé costs an eye watering 195 euros (about US $205). I'm not sure if you're supposed to eat it or just put it on display...

http://www.pierreherme.com/products/new/paques/oeuf-infini.html


Somewhat related to the last post: in 2009 I got mentioned quite a lot in a NY T...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Thu, 2015-03-12 12:58
Somewhat related to the last post: in 2009 I got mentioned quite a lot in a NY Times article about bentos. After that I got a few inquiries from agents and the like. I remember one I talked to wanted me to write a book about my life in France because she thought it would sell more than a bento book. That's not the book I wanted to write at all at that time, so that didn't go anywhere... A couple of months after that, I got an offer from the publisher who eventually published The Just Bento Cookbook.

So...I'm not sure what the point of that anecdote is actually ^_^ but I guess it's worth while to stick to what you want to do and not be distracted by what other people think is best for you. I'm pretty sure I could not have written a very good book about France at that point in time.... (Also, writing a book is Really Really Hard Work, so you really need to care a LOT about the subject matter! ^_^;)

An interesting essay about some kind of brouhaha going on in the world of cookbo...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Thu, 2015-03-12 10:02
An interesting essay about some kind of brouhaha going on in the world of cookbooks (that I was not aware of until I read the article). The thing that struck me though was the part about a cookbook these days having to sell a fantasy. Apparently, the cool way to do it nowadays is by selling your Lifestyle. If that's the case, I don't think I'm ever writing another cookbook. ^_^; I don't look remotely like a model for one thing, and neither does The Guy! We look like a dumpy middle aged couple!

Also...we live in France, in the countryside and all that (admittedly we have pretty nice views from the windows), but life here certainly ain't all dreamy morning walks with dogs and fascinating (expensive-ingredient) dinners and sipping wine on la terrasse! Dinner yesterday was leftover (Japanese-style) curry with steamed broccoli, washed down with l'eau appelation robinet*. ^_^

http://www.eater.com/forums/cookbooks/2015/3/6/8161215/is-it-sexist-to-judge-a-cookbook-by-its-pictures



*(the way we say "tap water" in our house when we're trying to be fancypants)


Is It Sexist to Judge a Cookbook by Its Pictures?
www.eater.com
Yes. But not for the reasons you think.

For some reason, this came to mind today: Whenever I have occasion to encounte...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Thu, 2015-03-12 00:33
For some reason, this came to mind today:

Whenever I have occasion to encounter a totally different reaction or opinion of something, or someone, from my own. I always think of a scene in one of my favorite books growing up, The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis - one of the books in the Chronicles of Narnia. The two children from our world, Jill and Eustace, that are the stars of this episode in the Narnia series, are eating venison for dinner in a Northern giant's castle with their guide and comrade, Puddleglum the Marshwiggle. Suddenly Puddleglum drops his fork and turns pale, and whispers to the children "Don't eat this meat anymore." He overheard two giants talking to each other about the deer they killed, and how it had said to them "Don't kill me, I won't taste that good." Jill and Eustace both stop eating of course, but their reactions are different. This is Jill's first time in Narnia and she's never met a talking deer, so she feels sorry for the deer, not much more. Eustace has been in this world before and has formed strong friendships with other talking animals from Narnia, so he feels horrified as if he's witnessed a murder. But Puddleglum is a Narnian; to him, talking animals are the same as humans or gnomes or Marshwiggles. So he feels physically sick and disgusted with himself, as we might feel if we found out we had unknowingly eaten a human baby.

Whenever someone is having a very different response to something, and you don't understand it, I think it's important to remember that where they come from and what they have internalized as part of their humanity may be very different from you. You may not understand it, but you can at least show respect for it.

If you have a couple of seconds: Go to http://www.yahoo.co.jp/, and type "3.11"...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Wed, 2015-03-11 09:30
If you have a couple of seconds: Go to http://www.yahoo.co.jp/, and type "3.11" (without the quotes) in the search box at the top of the page. Every time someone searches for 3.11 today, Yahoo! Japan will donate 10 yen towards the continuing recovery efforts after the March 11, 2011 earthquake. Thank you! ^_^


Yahoo! JAPAN
www.yahoo.co.jp
日本最大級のポータルサイト。検索、オークション、ニュース、天気、スポーツ、メール、ショッピングなど多数のサービスを展開。あなたの生活をより豊かにする「課題解決エンジン」を目指していきます。

It's now March 11th in Japan. I don't have a whole lot to say about the 4th anni...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Tue, 2015-03-10 17:36
It's now March 11th in Japan. I don't have a whole lot to say about the 4th anniversary of the March 11, 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake...so I hope you'll enjoy this related story on my new Funassyi blog.


We Love Funassyi — One of the most sought-after Funassyi products is...
welovefunassyi.com
One of the most sought-after Funassyi products is Bunshin Funassyi (Funassyi’s Alter Ego), a small, rather flat Funassyi doll with a blue tunic that’s fitted on the doll, rather than being part of the...

Another article of mine is going to be used for English study (or even in an act...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Mon, 2015-03-09 09:25
Another article of mine is going to be used for English study (or even in an actual exam? Not too sure) by a Japanese university. I'm pretty fond of this one so I'm happy it's going to be used this way ^_^

However...when looking for the article, I realized that it's been cited quite a bit, AND that half the citations spell my name wrong, even though it's spelled correctly in the byline! It's Itoh, NOT Ito. I feel pretty strongly about it because it's the spelling my late father chose when he first ventured out into the English speaking world. Itoh! Itoh!


Japan's traditional washoku cuisine feeds body and soul | The Japan Times
www.japantimes.co.jp
Whenever I am away from my homeland for too long, there is one meal that fills my dreams. At the center is a bowl of plain steamed rice, white and glisteni

I tend to agree with a lot of what this says. What do you think? The title is "W...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Sat, 2015-03-07 20:49
I tend to agree with a lot of what this says. What do you think? The title is "Why do food recommendations keep changing?"

Since the post is geared towards US readers, it states that the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is in charge of nutritioinal guideline recommendations. (Although I believe the Department of Health and Human Services also participates). What government department/ministry etc. is responsible for similar recommendations in your country? In Japan it's the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).


lolo connect
blog.lolofit.com
Instead of controlling the situation and changing one variable to see the results between the test group and control group, epidemiological studies look back at large groups of people with a similar illness and then tries to INFER POSSIBLE CAUSES based on similar patterns.

Well, it had to be done. I've started a blog (well, a Tumblr) about Funassyi. Ev...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Fri, 2015-03-06 13:56
Well, it had to be done. I've started a blog (well, a Tumblr) about Funassyi. Eventually I want to try to explain some of his appeal to the English speaking world... (or something.), but for now, it's mainly videos and photos. ^_^

恥ずかしながら、英語のふなっしーブログを立ち上げました。英語圏に少しでもふなっしーの魅力を伝える為に…

http://welovefunassyi.com/


We Love Funassyi
welovefunassyi.com
An unofficial blog in English about Funassyi, the unofficial mascot of Funabashi, Chiba, Japan. Not...

The latest article of mine that will be used in a university entrance exam prep...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Fri, 2015-03-06 08:44
The latest article of mine that will be used in a university entrance exam prep textbook in Japan is this Spaghetti Napolitan one. (Several articles I've written have been used this way (a couple have even appeared in actual exams), and it always makes me both happy and feel the weight of responsibility for writting teh propre englisch ^_^;)


Spaghetti Napolitan is Japan's unique take on pasta | The Japan Times
www.japantimes.co.jp
On Aug. 30, 1945, newly appointed Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers Gen. Douglas MacArthur landed at Atsugi Airport in Yokohama and headed straight t

In Japan, Valentine's Day is marketed as a day when only women can give chocolat...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Thu, 2015-03-05 12:32
In Japan, Valentine's Day is marketed as a day when only women can give chocolates to men, never the other way around. The chocolate makers and other interested parties also came up with "White Day", March 14th, which is the day when males who got Valentine's Day gifts are supposed to give back a gift to the woman/women. In both cases (but more on Valentine's Day), the vast majority of chocolates (or other gifts, but mostly chocolates) exchanged are not between lovers or spouses or to show your feelings towards someone you have a crush on etc. They are "giri choco" or "obligation chocolates", given to bosses and teachers and colleagues and so on. But the days are still used to show your feelings of love and affection towards someone.

(Another point: Valentine's Day is not such a big date day per se. The biggest "date night" day in the Japanese calendar is Christmas Eve.)

Anyway, here is a TV commercial from Godiva for White Day chocolates. I fear that quite a lot of young Japanese women have "prince on a white horse" expectations....


ゴディバ 2015年ホワイトデーTVCM メロディー「Serenade」篇

◆ゴディバ公式オンラインショップ「ホワイトデー」 http://www.godiva.co.jp/onlineshop/SearchCategoryTop?CID=38 ◆ゴディバ公式サイト「ホワイトデー」紹介ページ http://www.godiva.co.jp/whiteday/ 2015年ホワイトデー限定 ...

Funassyi in NYC! The pear fairy goes to Times Square, Empire State Building, NY...

Facebook JustBento-JustHungry - Wed, 2015-03-04 11:12
Funassyi in NYC! The pear fairy goes to Times Square, Empire State Building, NY Fashion Week, City Hall with Birdie the weirdly thin GreeNYC mascot. With English subtitles.

I seriously want that dress he wore on the runway.

(Note: I do try to keep my Funassyi obsession to a minimum on this page, I swear. ^_^;)


ふなっしー in NY! 日米友好の架け橋に...

2月19日 日本で人気のあの「ふなっしー」がニューヨークにやって来ました。その目的は単なる観光ではなく、実は重大な任務が待っていたんです! FCIウェブサイトはこちら Check out our company website at http://www.fujisankei.com/ 登録してね! Subscr...

some of my flickr photos


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