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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

OZONI: MY FIRST MEAL OF THE YEAR

I awoke to a rainbow this morning and took the following photo:


If you've been to my roof, you should be shocked.  Everything is gone, save for a few plants and the water lillies, which will be adopted by Debbie and Dan Bent:


No, I'm not leaving.  My condo is in the process of re-painting and re-lining my roof, and, it was a heart wrenching decision to dispose of everything.  I got to give Matt and his company, Got Junk, kudos for taking care of everything.  In tune with my general theme, this is a new year, and I will continue on with another kind of new life this year.

I prepare my own ozoni every year.  This is the soup at breakfast in Japan on January 1 and is consumed for good luck.  There are a million recipes, and I do something different every year.  Last year my base stock was from Peking Duck.  

My ozoni usually occurs for a late brunch.  This year, my soup base included the following:


I bought some accompanying chu-toro and abalone:


To have with the following drinks:


The Sapporo beer because Kenjiro came from that city when the population was only a few thousand, the sake is some kind of Junmai Daiginjo (I think--perhaps one of my friends who reads the language can so let  me know), and the Blue Label because I dropped a jigger of it into my ozoni.  Here is my first meal of 2013:


The ozoni, sometimes known as zoni and mochi soup, also has various vegetables and mochi.  This is a traditional start of the year rice paste ceremonially made by pounding.  You need to be a bit careful with mochi, for the process can crush your hand and the glutonous product when eaten can kill.  The other items are namasu and kinpira.  This latter dish is made from burdock (right) or gobo.  No one in the USA voluntarily consumes this vegetable.  Even in Japan you don't see it in salads or at receptions where broccoli or cucumbers might be served.  Why?  It tastes odd.  I still remember at a University of Hawaii versus University of Nevada at Las Vegas football game when an old man sat by himself and waved this dark brown root.  At about halftime it finally occurred to me that that gobo also symbolized "Go Bows," which was being cheered when he gesticulated.  We are the Rainbow (or Bows) Warriors.

HAUOLI MAKAHIKI HOU!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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