Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cooking (or not)

Alas not too much going on around here. School has started so I went out to the crosswalk in uniform this morning. The kids were loaded down with bags and books. Japanese children have homework over summer vacation. No one looked very happy having to start school again.

One of the great things about going to the States every summer is that I don't have to cook. Just as my brain forgets Japanese while I'm in the States, it also forgets how to cook. Truly! I just wander around the supermarket and can't think of a thing I can cook even if I wanted to (I never want to.) Different ingredients, different likes and dislikes in the household, different daily schedules, different lifestyle... all add up to not being able to cook while I'm in the States.

And I'm not the only one. Though Marcy has a lovely, large kitchen; during the summer she rarely cooks either, or if she does it is out on the barbecue. The kitchen only got used this summer for eating breakfast cereals and making instant coffee.... I guess my brother cooked breakfast four times while I was there.

I'm not complaining. But stepping back into Japan means that I need to put my brain back in order so that I can cook a dinner for Tetsu. (By the way, I ordered box lunches for his dinners while I was gone. He didn't starve. He didn't cook either!)

The first two days Tetsu let me sleep off my jet lag and we ate Japanese fast food (beef bowl, ramen). My first after summer menu was cold, spicy noodles. Tetsu was SO happy! My second dinner was going to be curry rice. Oops. What's wrong with the rice cooker?

The rice cooker is broken, almost to the day of when we bought it! (and some of you may remember that we paid quite a lot for that rice cooker!) So much for THAT night's dinner. We ate out again. Tetsu fiddled with the rice cooker but nope, it is sulking from being ignored for over a month... (or maybe the mold from Japanese humidity has gotten into its components?) Tetsu took the rice cooker to the electric shop and it is being repaired... Which means no rice for a week. I tried cooking rice on the stove with my pressure cooker. Disaster! Burnt, globby mess! I am not so dedicated to being a good Japanese wife as to try to cook rice on the stove every night!

Japan has this wonderful product called "Cooked Rice"! Basically someone has just put sticky Japanese rice in freezable portioned packages that can be zapped in the microwave and eaten as is... or if you want to be elegant, transferred to a proper rice bowl. Between last night's spaghetti (thank you Pat H. for sending me spaghetti sauce mix!) and zappable rice, Tetsu is still getting a home cooked meal every night.

I guess when any of us have too long a vacation; me and the rice cooker, it is hard to get back into the habit of cooking...

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