Friday, 31 December 2010

Never, EVER again. Osechi cooking.....

PLEASE. Next time. Next year.
I am a fool and I should know better. Far better.

Okaasan and I cooked for five and a half hours today. Five and a half hours.
Oh - with a short break for lunch and a quick trip to the supermarket.

It was hell. How I kept my smiley patience I can't say. Now I am drinking a nice Chardonnay and that is helping.

Here is what we made:

Seaweed rolls with radish and carrot inside, tied with gourd.

Umani - stewed root vegetables and chicken.

Sato imo - yams in half the sugar cane of a plantation.....

It was the blind leading the blind.
Okaasan couldn't remember what she was making. And I didn't know what she was making!
After over an hour of soaking and washing seaweed and cutting carrots and radish into tiny sticks, and washing and scrubbing dried gourd strips to tie ever so carefully round the slippery seaweed.....I realized she WASN'T making what I'd planned.....
So after 90 minutes I got her onto making the main event dish...and that stretched over lunch and beyond.

I really must never do this again.
Okaasan is beyond it. She can't remember what is inside the pan, so she constantly lifts the lid to look inside.
She can't remember whether she has seasoned something or not. She can't remember how long something has been cooking. She can't remember which is stock and which is water.
And on and on and on.

So much for my stupid "oh it will be so nice to have a shared cooking experience!".

And. Get the middle of the morning the delivery guy came with of traditional New Year foods that I'd ordered from the supermarket!!! I'd almost thought about cancelling it 2 days ago, but told myself it would be ok because: Okaasan is only going to make one thing.
That was then. Now I have a kitchen choca-block with stewed and sweetened, drowned in soy sauce stuff.
We may not have to cook until spring.

I finally brought it all to a close about 2.30 pm - Okaasan had wandered into her room and sat down in front of the TV. I grabbed the chance to silently and quickly finish everything up in the kitchen and pack it all away in the fridge before she could come and look at it all again.

She did wander through though: um...I didn't eat lunch did I? I'm hungry!
I reminded her that 2 hours before we'd sat at the kitchen table and eaten lunch together..she had no memory of that experience. So I heated up some old pizza for her and fled upstairs to fall into a stupor on the sofa with a kitten.

Never. Ever. Again.


  1. Oh dear. So she made 3 dishes in 5 hours?? sorry that you had to go through that. Did you enjoy the food anyway?

  2. Yes....3 dishes in 5 hours...from scratch...that means putting the dried fish shavings in hot water...soaking and washing the dried gourd.....I now know why Japanese women go to the department store and buy this stuff!!!

    Haven't eaten it yet....from Jan 1st...but I think we'll eat the shop Osechi for lunch and then start in on all the rest for dinner...and the next few months!

  3. You are a marvel of patience!!! Best to you in 2011. I am a fan of your blog!

  4. Thankyou Jovilla....the funny thing is - I really am NOT a marvel of patience. That just isn't one of my characteristics..I have it with students of course, because that is work and I am paid to be a kind and patient teacher...but in my private life I am a very impatient person.
    I guess I regard Okaasan as an extension of work really!!!

  5. It's definitely not worth the effort again. If she wants to make osechi-ryori next year, maybe you can tell her that the two of you have already made it. She might not remember, and it wouldn't really be a lie - because you *did* make it, the previous year!