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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Our Lady Queen Of Pickles

My last assignment before quitting the Army was at Valley Forge Army Medical Center, in the Pennsylvania boondocks. We found an apartment in Phoenixville,1 where the locals (population near 14,000) clearly divided the motto E pluribus unum into three distinct war zones: Slovak, Pole, and across-the-tracks. The Slovakian and the Polish contingents tolerated each other—even attended Mass together. However, both maintained rigid incommunicado with the west-of-the-railroad Italians. In such a world of hostile microcosms, finding anything Japanese would have required divine intervention.

One day we heard about New Jersey’s Seabrook Farms, where almost the entire workforce was …

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"Look'it" Food

Come on, admit it. There is one in every family. You know at least one. I’m one. You may be one too. We’re called “squirrels,” “pack rats,” and in the most extreme case, “hoarders.” In my particular case, I inherited this trait from my Nisei mother.

Whenever our family got a special gift like that delicious white two-pound box of assorted chocolates, sembei, or manju, Mom always told us, “We’ll save these for a special occasion. This is only for when we have special guests come.” On that warning, accompanied with a delighted smile, she would then hug …

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Three Generations of Japanese American Cooks and Food: From Grandma to daughter to grandson

What does your family call Thanksgiving stuffing? In our family, stuffing was called dressing. This food and cooking story entails a tradition that goes back three generations from my maternal grandma, Suye Sakoda to her daughter, Edna Ishikawa, and to me, Troy Ishikawa. Do good cooks run in your family? I hope so, because good cooking must be in our blood!

Having just said that, my mom was not always a quintessential cook. She developed her skills over the decades. Not surprisingly, she eventually built a career as a professional caterer and personal chef from the early-1960s to 2002. (So …

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Food for New Year

“I can do better than that with one hand tied behind my back,” my father complained, checking out the liver and onions set before him. “Nanda konna meshi? You used the wrong hand.” Then, glancing at my mother’s stricken face, mumbled, “Maybe needs more bacon grease.”

“I’m sorry. I’m a bad cook. Tomorrow I’ll make takikomi. You like that.”

“Um. Fine.”

My mother didn’t have the luxury of conjuring up fancier dishes. Before the war she and my father labored, like most all Issei, from dawn to dusk. Meals were basic but healthy. Breakfast was usually orange juice (freshly …

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Health, Happiness, and Bear Hanakuso with the Wine Gang

While other women look forward to getting their nails done or a spa day on the weekends, the high point of my week starts early Thursday morning when I start lunch preparations for a group of 30 or so people. As my kids slowly drift into the kitchen in search of something microwavable for breakfast, they are greeted with the smell of miso or freshly chopped green onion waiting to be plopped into a 14 gallon stainless steel pot. “Oh yeah, it’s Wine Gang day,” they mutter as they stumble into the living room to coma in front of the …

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