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ホーム | Webマガジン|愛子さんの大阪の暮らし Living in Osaka – Aiko’s history
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料理研究家 田中愛子さんの“ 食 ”のエッセイ

愛子さんの大阪の暮らし Living in Osaka – Aiko’s history

1

The taste of white miso

Dynamic Meiji era – From small towns to the big city Osaka

I was born in 1949, in the midst of baby-boomer age and grew up in downtown Osaka, I can proudly say that I grew up together with the post-war restoration of the city, when Osaka was really and truly Osaka, proudly demonstrating the energy and flavor of my beloved city.

I was living at that time with a family of four generation, great-grandmother, great-grandfather, mother, my young sister and I. My grandfather was born in Namekawa, Toyama prefecture in 1896. My grandfather was a sixth son of a farmer’s family. Our family in Toyama still have a big farm going on for 23rd generation, but at that time, the economy of the countryside of Japan was never easy, thus many children, except the oldest son of a family, had to leave to the big cities in order to get a job. My grandfather was no exception, he couldn’t attend the elementary school graduation, left his hometown all alone at the age of eleven. He wore brand new kimono and his mother gave him many rice balls and as he stepped onto the locomotive train, his mother was waving hand for as long as she could. He used to tell me this story when he was having after-dinner sake. This kind of firm mother-to-son determination is unimaginable nodaways, and this very memory has kept my grandfather to face each challenges of his life.

In Osaka, after 30-40 years of Meiji restoration (1876) there ware so many young boys from countryside to work here, and their energy created a new Osaka. I had many merchants class friends at my Osaka Shoin School, some of their father made a fortune in just one generation. A grandfather of my classmate Setsuko Adachi was Mr. Zenko Adachi, a founder of “Adachi Museum”, and many others parents were doing their own businesses in Semba, Doshucho or Macchamachi.

We have indeed this strong heritage of free and open-minded Osaka legacy from those old times, and in 1950’s, backed up by the tremendous economic rise, and “It’s Not Post-War Anymore” slogan, Osaka was strong, had a full confident and going toward the success for the future.

My grandfather had meals twice a day. He ate rice and baked fish, salt-cured black squid from Toyama preserve, pickles, miso soup for breakfast at 6:00a.m. For dinner he ate boiled fish or raw fish (sashimi) instead of baked fish, some simmered vegetables, sweetened vinegar vegetables and 2go (360ml) of dinner-time sake.

His motto was “don’t eat rice porridge it is a waste for rice”, “Work hard for a whole day”, “Tap the water faucet firmly”, “Never catch a cab, use bus or train”. That was his way of living.

And he always taught me “Na’s” and “U’s”
“Don’t cry, don’t give up, and worst of all is to be lazy (In Japanese context, it all starts from “N”) ”
“Don’t tell a lie, don’t betray, and worst of all is don’t be conceited (In Japanese context, it all starts from “U”)”

My grandfather sounds quite stubborn, isn’t he? But he also loved going to the tea house (geisha’s) In order to enjoy geisha’s evening, he had to take lessons of Japanese songs and bamboo flute (Shakuhachi) One day, he wore a nice hat and coat, holds a small suitcase and said that he will be going on a trip with his best friend, Hamaya the bald guy, he will go pick him up to his house then off they’d go, But the truth was he was acting it up, Hamaya the bald guy was actually going on a trip with his favorite geisha, so it was a plot! After he sent those couples off at Osaka station, he felt such a relief so he went for a drink to relax, then oops! oh no! Hamaya’s wife saw my grandfather! Hamaya’s wife went crazy,※写真:毎日新聞社 lamenting her husband’s secret rendez-vous trip with Geisha woman to my grandmother, meanwhile, my grandfather could not bear this awkward moment so he sneaked out from his house and ran away! This scandal went for days, I was a little girl but it was so fun to see this whole incident with my little sister. My grandmother complained “He always does thing by halves! How can he have a drink at place where she could easily find him! He is so moron!”

Powerful women at home

Looking back now, my grandfather had his entire family, some maids, far-relatives to visit him, my house was always full, living at least 10 people every time. There were some minor incidents and trouble at all times. My grandmother was the one to manage all this. With a bunch of visitors and her hectic days, her motto was “let’s live happily” and in order to live happily, my grandmother knew that full tummy is the key. So she always prepared whole kind of dishes, kombu kelps, toppings for rice, pickles, miso soups so that anyone can eat something at any time.

In the end of November, we dry Daikon radish in outside to make Nukaduke (Pickles to make by bury into the rice bran paste to ferment) then we cook rice and mix with Koji (rice fermented with mold) and place it inside of stove table to make the essence of Amazake (sweetened sake) Together with ginger and sugar, bring it to a boil to make delicious Amazake. We keep a portion for Amazake and rest of it by adding crushed baked beans and salt to ferment, it will be Shiromiso (white miso) As time passes by, the color changes to beautiful amber, and it’s delicious every and each time. But at the end of the year, we receive from this prestigious “Komechu” white miso from Edobori, Osaka. Although it was simple and delicious our home-made white miso, “Komechu” white miso was somewhat sophisticated, sweet and mild, it was one of my new year favorite!

I was so excited to eat this amazing white miso. We make white miso pot-au-feu (Zouni) for every new year. Now that this pot-au-feu became my own recipe, and each and every year it brings us many fond new year memories.

At our home, on 7th or 8th of January, when we are about to finish festive season of the new year, we make “Fukuakashi” it is a rice porridge with Kabura and Daikon radish, green leaves, and our last precious “Komechu” white miso.

This porridge is really delicious, it has all taste and flavor derived from vegetables, and sweet white miso soup. Whole family ate this white miso porridge simmering hot., my grandfather, my great grandmother, my grandmother and my mother. Then we have our new year festive season to an end. Starting from tomorrow, another busy days coming!

In chilly winter evening, four generations of all ages of our family gathers at a table. The taste of white miso reminds me of the warmth of my family.

Clear soup for a new year with white miso
Clear soup for a new year with white miso
  • 【Ingredients】
    Round mochi rice cakes 8
    Dashi soup stock 4cups
    White miso 130g
    Sake 1Tbsp
    Kintoki carrot 50g
    Mizuna
    (potherb mustard)
    100g
    Shrimp 4〜8
    Grilled conger 1
    Chicken thigh meat 100g
    Soy sauce 1tsp
    Sake 1tsp
    Kamaboko fish paté
    (in pink and white)
    1/4〜1/2
    Dried bonito flakes
    (in thread)
    5g
    Hegiyuzu Japanese citron 4slices
  • 【How to make it】
    1. Boil Mizuna until color changes more brightly、cool it down with water then drain, cut in 5cm length.
    Cut carrot in 5cm juliettes, boil, drain and put it aside.
    Cook the shrimps and remove the shells.
    2. Cut Anago conger in 1cm. Cut Kamaboko in 5mm.
    3. Cut thinly the chicken, sprinkle sake and soy sauce.
    4. Boil Dashi soup stock in a sauce pan, put chicken and remove lye.
    5. Put white miso into 5.
    6. In a serapate sauce pan, boil Mochi rice cakes.
    7. Place Mizuna first on a soup bowl so that the Mochi will not sink. Place Mochi.
    Pour hot Dashi soup with chicken and garnish with carrots, Mizuna, grilled conger, Kamaboko. Also, garnish thread bonito flakes and Hegiyuzu Japanese citron.
写真 宮本 進
デザイン 田中 稔之

INDEX

Aiko TanakaProfile

  • Osaka Shoin Women’s University, professor
  • World Home-Cooking Specialist
  • Cooking book author
  • Edible Herb Garden Association, Chairman
  • Association of Japanese Cuisine for Future, Chairman

Born in 1949, in Osaka, Japan. Graduated Osaka Shoin Women’s University, majored in English Literature. After marriage with an entrepreneur and raised a boy and a girl, Aiko Tanaka entered and apprenticeship to Ms. Yoshioka Akiko, cuisine specialist, to master basic home-cooking and as well to be an expert in “Foods”
In 1987, Her husband opened a high-end Japanese Restaurant in the 5th. Avenue, New York City. Due for her husband’s business in New York City, Italy, Australia, Tasmanian Islands, Hong Kong, Korea, etc. she helped and promoted many party arrangements in various places.
She had acquired many valuable experience in overseas and as a fruition of her work she published her first book “Good Gathering From New York” in 2001. Soon after she started to appear on TV, magazines, medias as a cooking expert. As a part of food study activities, she promotes “Philosophy On The Table” (Food study) theory. In 2014, as a professor at Osaka Shoin Women’s University, she had established “Food Study” course, and is very first in Japan nationwide. In 2016, at Food Study Conference in USA and Toronto, Canada, she lectured about the crisis in Japanese cuisine and was highly recognized and appreciated. In order to expand Japanese cuisine, she tirelessly does many cooking classes and seminars in Japan and all over the world. She has written many books such as “Tasty and Fun Good Gathering From New York” (Bunka Shuppansha, Co.,Ltd.) “Japanese Cuisine Gathering”(Asahiya Shoten.Co.,Ltd.) and her recent launch is “Philosophy On The Table” (Asahiya Publishing, Co.,ltd.)

  • 田中愛子主催の料理学校 世界の食学と健やかな暮らしを学ぶ 料・理・学・校 LISTA Culinary School
  • 田中愛子の食育活動 食育ハーブガーデン協会 食育 HERB Garden協会
  • 田中愛子オフィシャルブログ 「倖せのレシピ」  (Ameba)

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