Presentations by 2001 -> 2002 ICC Classes

ICC class period 5 Thursday

Topic: New year's day food

What is Osechi?
Osechi is a good traditional food in Japan. We, Japanese eat Osechi every New Year. The beginning of Osechi was in the second or third century before Christ. That was also the beginning of rice crop in Japan. In that age, our ancestors began making the turning point of life by thanking god for every season's produce. Sechi means that turning point. They prayed for a rich harvest and a large catch of fishing by making Sekkyo-ryori. In palaces, it was called Sekkai-ryori.

In the Nara era, it grew as being influenced by Torai culture and it became a regular event as Sekkai in the Heian era. And in the Heian era, Gosekku was introduced from China to Japan. Sekku was believed as the god coming season. They offered Sekkyo-ryori to god and prayed for a rich harvest and safety homes. Finally, only the New Year's Sekkyo-ryori became being called Osechi.

Next, I'll explain about Mitsuzakana.
These are main three items in Osechi. Mitsu means three and Sakana means a dish eaten with sake. Mitsuzakana are different in different parts of Japan. In the eastern part of Japan, Mitsuzakana are Kuromame, Kazunoko and Tatsukuri. In the western part of Japan, Mitsuzakana are Kuromame, Kazunoko and Tataki-Gobo.

Tatsukuri (anchovies)

The origin of Tatsukuri is rich year, healthy and safe home. Tatsukuri is made of anchovies. In the old days, when they used fried anchovies as fertilizer for the rice field, they could harvest as much as 50,000 bale of rice. So it called Gomame or Tatsukuri that means, Ågmaking rice fieldÅh. And it is a very auspicious item because the whole anchovy can be eaten. It is called Okashira-tsuki.

Now, I’ll explain how to cook Tatsukuri.
First, put soy sauce, sake and sugar together in a pan. And boil the spice down until it becomes sticky. Next, roast anchovies well and cool them. Finally, add the anchovies to the spice.

Tataki-Gobo (burdock)

The origin of Gobo is the foundation of family being strong because it has a long root. And burdock is not so gorgeous, but itÅfs thin and long. It also means solid long life. It was the sign of Japanese simplicity.

I will talk you about Tataki-Gobo cooking.
First, cut thin burdocks into halves lengthways and beat them with the side of a kitchen knife. Next, cut them into small pieces and soak them in water. After that, grind the fried white sesame and mix with soy sauce. Finally, boil the burdocks for a moment and add the white sesame. The reason of beating is that spices soak easily if it has been beaten. And beaten burdock is so crispy to eat.

As you know now, there are many puns of the items. People in the Edo era are said that they made the puns. They had a very good sense of humor.




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Last updated 6-Dec-2001