Friday, 30 December 2011

Disappearing acts

Guilt? Relief? I'll just close my eyes...
THIS little bugger went missing.
For 22 hours.
Had us real worried, he popped out just before dinner yesterday...and disappeared into the cold, snowy Sapporo night.
We slept and left the front door open. Today I hunted the local streets with a photo of him, called his name outside garage doors and even dug snow out of the drain pipes where he finds rats.
I had plans for an out of city daytrip to a hotspring with a friend...knocked that on the head and did a few hours of city center lunch instead.
Came home and hunted some more. When I was in Australia he disappeared for 48 hours. But that was autumn. Sapporo now is minus temperatures with large mounds of snow everywhere and killer-chunks of ice sliding off the subway tunnel roof.

Worried and worried.
Yujiro in between ski lessons was mailing and calling...worried too.
Bloody cat.

And I looked out the window around 4 pm I saw a familiar skinny shape running down the street and in he ran, gulped a lot of water and food and looked a bit wide-eyed excited to be home....and we are none the wiser as to where he went.
Little bugger. But I love him.

And my other little bugger? Well, maybe shouldn't call Okaasan that exactly...although Lady Ga-Ga has her Little Monsters, us Brit's use "bugger" as a term of in "you daft old bugger"..

Anyway. Okaasan.
She didn't go out again today. Nice enough weather. But she didn't. This year she stays home much more.
Yujiro is staying at the ski school, so I cooked dinner for Okaasan and Me and had 45 mins. of the Korean-food-is-the-best-in-the-world-I-used-to-eat-in-a-Korean-restaurant-in-Ikebukuro-station conversation...oh I don't nine? times. Same story. Easy to respond to.

And I has a little, significant success with New Year food cooking and Okaasan. The picture above shows the miso soup on the right, with burdock root and Japanese raddish and tofu in it...and on the left are sato imo/taro.
Last year, on that nightmarish shopping trip and cooking marathon, Okaasan bought these and peeled them and boiled them, and made the stock from fish flakes and seaweed, and then simmered them in soy sauce/cooking sake, sweet sake and a sugar plantation.
This year I bought a bag of them ready peeled and part-boiled. I added ready-made stock, a wallop of soy sauce/sake...and half a sugar plantation.
THEN after dinner I asked Okaasan's advice about the taste of the sauce.....everything was all done, she only had to taste the thing and comment.

"Hmm...nice. No, that seems good! I like these at New Year!"
THAT SEEMS GOOD! To MY cooking! Something very Japanese! GOOD!
It's a milestone.

Only taken me 3 years.

So, that's obviously the secret - do as much of the shopping and preparation of food as I can in a magician stuffing rabbits up his sleeve before a show - and then give Okaasan a chance to input at one final stage.....something simple - well actually for a British woman something like the taste of traditional Japanese food is something pretty hard. But something Okaasan can fuss about for a few minutes and advise and correct on.

Last year was awful as she couldn't remember how much of anything she'd added to the pan and kept adding more of everything in a never-ending taste balancing act.
This year: I did a guesstimate on the taste, erred on the side of probably not enough, presented it to her..and Bingo!

Phew. 3 years to learn that lesson. :-))

Roll on another year. Oh, there's another coming along in 72 hours. Lucky me.

1 comment:

  1. definitely progress!! I reckon Granny K would be like that - watching me cook tortures her because I don't put things in in the same order as her. Have a great New Year. Roll on 2012. 16 hours and counting.