Mummy dear, Mummy dearSupertramp may have inspired me to try kippers, but my husband’s love of deli breakfasts made it all possible…
You have no idea of my joy and excitement when I found out what kippers were and how frequently they were on the menu at local Jewish delis. You see, I grew up eating kippers. My mother cooks a really good kipper dish, which I always asks her to make when I go home to visit. In Japanese, kippers are called nishin. My absolute favorite way to have it is by soaking dried kippers in water overnight, then cooking them in a soy sauce based broth until they’re tender.
When you travel to Japan, check the menu for migaki nishin. It’s not as popular as sushi, still, I highly recommend that you try it. It’s usually served on warm soba noodles, but at home, I just eat it with rice. “Boy, you are courageous”. a veteran waitress told me when I ordered kippers at a Jewish deli in L.A.. I guess it’s not the most popular item for breakfast in America, but those like me, who do enjoy them, experience a delicious buttery, salty sensation.
My kippers were served alongside sauteed onions, potatoes, and eggs. If they had come with a side of rice, I may had experienced the perfect breakfast. Finally, it pays off to be married to a Jewish guy with an unhealthy obsession with breakfast.
You like potato and I like potahto, You like tomato and I like tomahto; Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto! Let’s call the whole thing off.
Actually, my picky husband probably wouldn’t eat tomahtos either…
Our eating life was easier when we were dating, because I cooked what he liked–American comfort food. He loved my cooking, which made me happy, of course, but as soon as I got home, I couldn’t wait to taste a few of my favorites from the world of Asian cuisine. When dating turned into ‘living together, it became obvious that I would have to find a way to make food that both of us could enjoy without either one of us having to sacrifice. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and creating a menu for two picky eaters that wouldn’t take up all of my time, turned out to be a mother of a task to perform.
Here’s an example of how a few variations can satisfy two hungry lunchers using the same main ingredients; meat, lettuce, and rice. On the left, with an egg, is MY lunch: a beef salad bowl with rice. To create the flavor I love, but my husband will probably hate, I seasoned the meat with soy sauce, garlic and Sriracha. For his sensitive palate, on the right, you’ll find the same ingredients rolled into a familiar and comfortable burrito, with beans, salsa and sour cream on top.
How much extra time did it take for me to make two meals instead of only one? Probably an extra three minutes. Isn’t it worth 180 measly seconds to enjoy a rare lunch together where both parties are happy with their meals?
When I first realized that my husband REALLY didn’t like typical Japanese food, like grilled fish, root vegetables and everything in soy sauce, I was saddened. I really wanted to be able to share the cuisine of my culture with him, but he just doesn’t enjoy it, and claims there’s some taste that’s in everything, that he dislikes. Sushi? Forget it… seafood is already a red flag with him, and wrapping it in seaweed is no selling point. But, whether out of luck or out of necessity, I came to realize that not all Japanese foods are seasoned with soy sauce and loaded with fish!! Take Omerice, for example. It’s pronounced “omu-raisu”, but don’t worry if you mispronounce it, as it’s a made up word. Can you guess what two foods give it its name? If you said omelette and rice, then you are not only a good guesser, but you’ve practically named the entire recipe. This simple combo is hands-down, every Japanese kid’s favorite meal. From the outside, it looks exactly like a regular omelette, but inside, you’ll find fried rice seasoned with ketchup!! Intrigued? My picky husband doesn’t like rice, but he does love eggs and ketchup, and since he eats like a kid, I thought I’d give it a try. Would he like it? Would omerice sneak through the picky filter? Believe it or not, this was the first Japanese dish I cooked that he liked.
Generally speaking, you can divide Japanese food into two categories. Washoku is a traditional Japanese style food with very little oil, but heavy on salt and soy sauce. It contains virtually no butter or cream. Yoshoku, on the other hand, can be considered to be western influenced Japanese food, and is often characterized by its heavy usage of butter, cream and gravy. Yoshoku, came into being while cooking for westerners in Japan in the mid 19th century. Omerice, using rice as a filling for an omelette, is a typical family meal at a yoshoku restaurant in Tokyo. Want to mix a little history in with your ketchup? Eat omerice at the original restaurant that claims to have created this dish in Tokyo for a reasonable 15 dollars (1,300 yen). I can tell you from personal experience that the restaurant truly has the feel of 1895 Japan, but with, unfortunately, modern day pricing. Don’t have $15? Well, you’re in luck, as you’ll find the recipe for omerice posted here.