Tuesday, April 12, 2011

About Me...My Passion with Food or is it an Obsession... Part I


I lead a charmed life thanks to my husband:o) I’m a housewife, so I have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen to be able to fuel my passion about food.  I cook dinner about 5 times a week and spend at least 2 hours on each meal.  Most everything is made from scratch.  I have a freezer full of bones that I’ve saved from roast chicken, roast beef, steak bones from restaurants, etc., so I can make my own stock to make into soups, stews etc. I’ve gotten to travel around the US, Europe, Asia & Ecuador and  have eaten so many wonderful meals!  I research the local restaurants before our trips and then make sure to make some reservations before we reach our destination. 

The funny thing is that I didn’t cook before I met my husband.  I could do VERY simple things in the kitchen, so I wouldn’t starve, but I would not say that I was a good cook.  My favorite cookbook author at the time was James McNair because I liked all his pretty photographs…lol  My mother was a very good cook, making mostly Japanese and Chinese dishes and my father always said to me when I was growing up that I should learn from her or I’d regret it later.  Of course I never learned from her back then, but at least now, if I really need to, I can call her and ask her for advice;o)  I was born in Japan, but came to the US when I was only 4 years old, so I am very much Americanized.  Since my mom didn't cook much American food, it was a huge treat to go on a Taco Bell or Carl's Jr. run with my dad during my youth.


I always enjoyed going to nice restaurants.  Every year for our birthdays, my parents would treat both me and my brother to a birthday meal and we were able to invite a friend.  That’s why during my teen years I was able to go to places like Ambrosia, the Ritz, Chasen’s ,  Bel Air Hotel, Scandia, Lawry’s, Perino and so many other places.  I think I learned about high end restaurants from my brother.  I always wanted to copy everything that my brother did when I was younger.  At the same time, I was the world’s pickiest eater!  I didn’t like sushi, I didn’t like vegetables, I didn’t like wasabi, I didn’t like spicy things, the list can go on and on.  Of course that has all changed!

I finally learned how to really cook when my husband talked me into taking cooking classes while we were dating about 14 years ago.  He actually cooked dinner for me first before I ever cooked anything for him!  I ended up taking night classes in Orange County from a ROP (Regional Occupational Program) school program.  It’s basically vocational classes and most of the students were interested in the professional restaurant business and the classes were open to both adults and high school students.  The classes took place in an old Marie Callendar’s restaurant, so we were able to learn in a professional kitchen. It was a ton of fun!  I took 2 “basic” classes and an International one  that met twice a week for about 4 months each.  I learned so much from those classes, like knife skills, making sauces, making stocks, braising meats, making pizza, international dishes, roasting meats and a lot more!  After my husband and I got married I started to cook in our house.  His brother used to be a cook at Spago and I learned a ton of stuff from him.  We’d cook together often and had the most fun, I must have driven him crazy with all my questions…lol 

Now, we are at present time and I am so obsessed with anything about food!

2 comments:

  1. Hi Kay!

    I came to read after I read your Curry Udon, then link to Chicken Udon. It's so interesting to read about how Japanese American live in the US. While I was reading, I thought about my kids a lot. Thank you for sharing a little bit about you, your past, and your experience in cooking. :-) I really wish that I went to a cooking school or take some kind of cooking lesson. I am not formally trained... just watch my mom cooked. I was thinking the other day that I wish my kids will turn out to be like you, cooking Japanese food when growing up. Do you speak and/or write Japanese? That's another thing I worry about my kids too. In my case, my husband is Chienese American, so we all speak in English when 4 of us talk...Sorry I wrote too much. I was just happy reading your story. :-)

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  2. Nami, thanks for commenting on my posts! Sometimes I think I am just writing for myself, so it's nice to have someone comment! I wouldn't say I'm formally trained in cooking too, but it was nice to take a basics class and then teach myself from there. My Japanese cooking is especially self taught, I think if you have a good palate, it is easier to become a good cook too. You need to know what tastes good and what tastes right or wrong.

    I'm pretty fluent in Japanese. My parents had us speak Japanese at home when I was growing up so we would be able to communicate with our grandparents in Japan. I'm thankful that my parents kept that up with us. I was born in Tokyo, but I was only 4 years old when I came to the US. My brother went back to Japan after he graduated college and has been there since.

    Have you taught your kids Chinese & Japanese? It's easiest when they are young :o)

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