Harumi Kuri­hara’s taste of home

Al­though she lived by the sea, brought up on fish and seaweed dishes, it’s her fa­ther’s favourite of fried chicken and leeks that is

The Guardian - Cook - - To Finish -

ur fam­ily home in Shi­moda, in Ja­pan’s Shizuoka pre­fec­ture, was built by an Amer­i­can, so it looked west­ern from the out­side. But inside it was typ­i­cally Ja­panese.

We didn’t have chairs, so when I was younger I dreamed of be­ing able to live in a west­ern house, to sit on a chair and drink cof­fee or to eat a baguette off a white plate. We al­ways sat in a tatami-mat room right next to the kitchen.

My hus­band’s par­ents had an ul­tra­mod­ern home – his fa­ther was an English teacher and his mother liked can­dles and wore per­fume. It was a great con­trast to the un­der­stated en­vi­ron­ment I grew up in. They also ate west­ern-style food.

In our home, we usu­ally ate tra­di­tional Ja­panese meals of rice, veg­eta­bles and fish, and only a lit­tle

Omeat. We lived near the sea, so we also ate a lot of horse mack­erel and kin­medai (golden-eye sea bream), usu­ally raw as sashimi.

We of­ten ate a seaweed dish called hi­jiki, plus lots of sim­mered dishes us­ing kiri­boshi daikon (dried daikon radish, which is re­hy­drated when used in cook­ing) and other dried goods. My mother was adept at us­ing those in her cook­ing. She put se­same seeds into miso soup, spinach, cab­bage, hi­jiki … just about ev­ery­thing. I re­mem­ber her sit­ting on the kitchen floor with a pes­tle and mor­tar, grind­ing the seeds into a paste. She did it so of­ten that, over time, the mor­tar made a dent in the door­frame.

Those days were the origins of the cook­ery I do now – a mix­ture of Ja­panese in­flu­ences from home and west­ern touches I learned af­ter I met my hus­band.

I started cook­ing for my mother

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