Thursday, January 1, 2009


Friends brought over a traditional New Year's cake, which is essentially mochi (pounded rice) in the shape of the bottom two-thirds of a snowman. It looks pretty with its paper decorations and everything but when we cut off the casing and cut into it, it was a huge disappointment. The kids had a nibble, and Conor said he thought it needed chocolate syrup. My friend's daughter said it tasted like "a candle." We couldn't read the directions written on the packaging so perhaps it is supposed to be warmed up or topped with something... Must bring the packaging into school on Tuesday and ask one of the Japanese moms to translate...

UPDATE Jan. 12: I've asked several Japanese women what you're supposed to do with the mochi cakes and they said you're supposed to heat it in some way after you slice it, which makes sense, though I'm not sure that would be enough. The stuff is horribly bland, after all. The woman who runs the ryokan where we stayed in Nikko told me she likes to saute her mochi cake with soy sauce. My taiko teacher's assistant (she plays the bass note -- or is it 'base' note? -- while we students struggle with the other parts) recommended putting it in the oven topped with tomato sauce and cheese, like a pizza. Will have to give that a shot next year.

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