School Lunch February 16-22

Thursday February 16

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Milk, millet (awa) rice, stir fry vegetables, ‘fat’ tofu soup, orange

So this one is a bit hard to translate, but its high on the Japanese side of things. The ‘bubble’ rice is regular white rice mixed with a small yellow round grain. If anyone knows what it is in English please comment! Update: Thanks to dave for the correct translation of awa! I had it marked as ‘bubble’ before. The soup is broken tofu with green onions.

Friday February 17

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Milk, Barley Rice, Bansansu, Ma-Po- Tofu, apple

In case you haven’t noticed, I base the above off the Lunch Center’s monthly menu… which has a lot of hogen. I’m iffy reading Japanese, and since I lived for 3 years on a place that spoke minimal hogen, my Okinawan dialect is even worse. Still I’ll try to do my best. The bansansu is a kind of salad very similar to a common Japanese summer food of somen. Just like that its served cold with noodle, ham, egg, and cucumber in a soy based sauce. The Ma-Po is a kind of very delicious meat sauce with tofu and vegetables that I’ve had before. It’s somewhere between stew and chanpuru.

Monday February 20

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Milk, barley rice, teriyaki chicken, Cabbage and veggies in sesame dressing, tofu and vegetable soup.

The ‘Japan-ness’ of teriyaki chicken can be disputed… but at least its a Japanized version of chicken.

Tuesday February 21

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Milk, Miso udon, Pickled vegetables with whole (Kibinago) fishes, Purple potato mochi

It’s this week’s 5! You don’t get much more Japanese than mochi, little fishes, and udon. If you look closely, on the left there are whole fishes that you’re supposed to eat whole. I’ve gotten to the point where I can eat the bones, but still leave the head, which then becomes a great talking point on different cultures for my kids. My mom would tell you that I’ve come a long way from the extremely picky eater I used to be, but Japanese food is just that awesome… I did feel bad for leaving the heads. One of my elementary students offered to eat them for me. ^_^ The Udon was also awesome. It’s a traditional thick Japanese noodle usually in a sauce.

If you tried out my miso soup recipe and still have left over miso, maybe try cooking up some udon! (add a lot less water but the same ratio of miso to dashi)

Wednesday February 22

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Milk, Whole Wheat (haiga) bread, tomato omlette, cheese salad, Chinese cabbage (hakusai) soup, apple jam

From Japanese to ??? the very next day. This one was pretty eclectic. The jam was meant for the bread, which kind of needed it because it was dry, but tasty. The omelette worked pretty well as a sandwich item, which I demonstrated to the interest of some of my elementary students. The salad was a nice mix of minced cheese, mayo, veggies, and I think a little kimchi. Soup was tasty and nice for dipping the bread (another skill not common in Japanese dining).

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So where do you draw the line on fish? Growing up in the desert, I never liked fish. When I got to Japan I gradually grew to enjoy various cuts of fish and will now eat the mini dried fishes whole, and the fish above up to but not including the head. Share your view in the comments!