Crónicas Nikkei #1 — ¡ITADAKIMASU! Sabores de La Cultura Nikkei

Para los Nikkei de alrededor del mundo, la comida es a veces la más fuerte conexión que tienen con la cultura. A través de las generaciones, el lenguaje y la tradición se pierden, pero esta última permanece en la comida.

Descubra a los Nikkei recolectó historias de alrededor del mundo relacionadas al tema de la cultura de la comida nikei y su impacto en la identidad nikei y en las comunidades. Esta serie presenta estas historias.

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Mochi and Me

Mochi is a quintessential Nikkei food. Mochi is a symbol of our ties to our ancestral homeland, the land of small, terraced rice fields tended by family farmers.

Mochi is made from rice. Not the typical rice you cook at home, but a glutinous rice that is very sticky when cooked. In the traditional method, the rice is steamed, ground and pounded by people wielding wooden mallets into a sticky dough. I have a very vague memory of my extended family coming together to make mochi this way on a very cold winter’s day when I was very young.

Besides …

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Elsie Kikuchi’s J-Town

I’ve been driven by food all my life. My chubbiness, which I’ve never been able to shake all my life, can be attributed to the fact that I love food and have eaten considerably more than what a 4'9" girl should. In fact, in many of the candid photos I have from my childhood, you’ll likely see me with food clutched in my hand. Alan Kunihiro, one of my Maryknoll classmates sent me a great shot of a group of us on a field trip to the San Gabriel Mission. Of course, I’m the one with the cookie.

Those who …

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The Odyssey

We were on our way from Los Angeles to Turlock, located in the central valley of California, for what I believe was my grandmother’s funeral. My father’s mother passed away in January so we were naturally a sullen group.

During the winter there is usually snow on the Grapevine, a portion of the Interstate 5 freeway that connects Northern and Southern California, complete with road closures and sometimes perilous fog and mudslides. This necessitated my family in flying out of LAX to Fresno where we would rent a car to drive the rest of the way to Turlock. When we …

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Blending Recipes And Cultures

Whether I watched my Jewish grandfather carefully save the chicken schmaltz, after preparing Matzoh Ball soup or my Japanese grandmother make tamago gohan, a meal of rice, eggs, and shoyu. What far surpassed the intimate cooking lessons was the invaluable respect both sides of my family showed for each other’s cultural differences, and bonded through the shared and blended recipes of exotic cuisine from each.

As a child, I felt I was a misunderstood ethnic rarity, I never knew other children with the same exotic genre of cultural mixture and background. Thankfully today, more couples than ever before …

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Farm Food

I didn’t eat much Japanese food growing up. Born hapa Yonsei of a second generation German American mother and third generation Japanese American father who’d grown up together in the “old neighborhood” of Lakeview, Chicago, circumstances didn’t dictate much knowledge of overt Japanese customs, culinary or otherwise.

Our family emigrated from Kyushu in the early 1900s, farmers who plied their trade in California’s Central Valley, culminating in ownership of acreage purchased under the names of their American-born Nisei infants due to the California Alien Land Law that prohibited “aliens ineligible for citizenship” from owning land or even leasing it for …

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agriculture california Central California family farm food fowler fresno hapa identity Itadakimasu J-town japanese food japanese restaurant Jewish little tokyo Los Angeles maryknoll Mexican food Mikawaya mochi multicultural multiracial Nikkei Chronicles org:cjahs