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Monday, August 31, 2009

Off-topic Stuff

Today I did not cook, I did not brew, I did not do anything that this blog is about.  Today, I went back to my old home, to the ground that I trod as a child.  I spoke of old times and old men that my Aunt and Cousin never got to know in the way I knew them.  I walked with my mother's childhood friends, in my Grandmother's garden, through the skeletal frames of nearly a century of a communities lifeblood, the greenhouses and packing houses, the boiler sheds and vegetable gardens.  And I am happy, unreasonably so, even as I was flooded with the sadness that so many of the people I knew and loved have gone.  We spoke of my aunt's and cousin's wonderment of how so much land and so much engineering, of how they could scarce fathom that roses and carnations built this place, built these families created a family and community that endures even now.

Today I spoke with a man, not even from this community, who started off researching trains and found our little community and it's grand history, we spoke of how he could not believe what he saw and read, of countless hours of research over many years.  His respect and wonder for what my family and all of the families and friends had built since 1900 driving him to collect the stories and photos that document out world. I found in me, the old stories and the old wonder, I thought of the Issei (first generation) who pioneered this little community, the Nissei (second generation) who built it and gave my generation the chance to pursue our dreams.  I thought of the Yonsei (fourth generation) who I now hear speak at funerals and gatherings, who speak of their elders, I wonder if they know the stories, if they understand the work, if when they look at a flower, they see a piece of their history, their futures so bright, yet distanced by time from the greenhouses and fields.  I am glad that I was asked to share what little I might know.

Food Heritage

Starting this blog has gotten me thinking about where my passion for food and drink originates and how my personal journey may have lead to where I am today.  Recently, many of the older folks in my community have begun to pass on, folks that were my parents friends and family.  This too has caused me to consider our community impacts on me.
The above image is of the greenhouses from one of the flower nurseries that I grew up on.  We started out in the urban edge that has become so trendy now.  Back then it was just nursery and farm land.  I learned to grow and eat from a vegetable garden, to work the soil and enjoy hard work. A lot of what I enjoy in food, the fresh taste and multiple textures stems from this world.

The old main road, this road led from my grandmother's house to our house.  I can remember taking this back road from one nursery to the other, the men would gather and drink beers, the women would cook, we would all eat so well.  The cuisine was a mix of our Japanese heritage and our American birth right, ingredients melding from one culture to another.  Into this came the additional influences of the Italian and Portuguese neighbors, the Mexican and Central American influences of the laborers and the American Southern and American Black food traditions of our neighbors from Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.  How else could you explain a dish like BBQ brisket over short grain rice with tsunemono on the side?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

but, can he cook?

I thought I would post some photos, as no pics and it didn't happen. Texas style brisket, BBQ chicken and some donburi made with a spicy BBQ chicken.


Well, here I am, new to the blogosphere. The primary focus of this blog will be to present my adventures in BBQ, Beer brewing (and drinking, of course), wine drinking ( I mean, really, who just tastes?) and general over-indulgence.

I have cooked and 'qued for most of my life and at one point was in the restaurant and cooking trade. Growing up American of Japanese descent in the S.F. Bay Area has given me an approach to food and drink that is a fusion of many different influences and cultures, all of which serves to inform the way I cook and eat. I hope you enjoy my little journey.