Making a traditional meal of Japanese Osechi (New Year good luck food). That was an experiment and I had a lot of fun doing it. As usual, don’t look for perfection. I am no expert.
The menu is highly related with Shinto religion. And New Year is the major Shinto event of the year, maybe the only one everybody kind of celebrates in Japan. Everything is symbolic. Most things are displayed to call good luck and prosperity.
Doors are decorated with kadomatsu that contain pine, oranges…
And the main activity of January 1st is hatsumode, the first visit to the Shinto shrine. For most people, that’s the only visit in the year. Look at this shrine. I live nearby and I see people getting in maybe once a month… except today.
I’ll detail the symbolism of the food, and the recipes, in other posts. These preparations are ancient Japanese food. In old times, cooking and serving a hot meal was a lot of work for the housewife and the maids. So, in order to free everybody of work for the celebration, the Osechi Ryori is prepared in the week before the New-Year (from 25th to 31st roughly). Then, it is eaten cold the 3 first days.
First floor (from the left) :
紅白なます kohaku namasu (made of daikon radish and kintoki carrot)
紅白かまぼこ kohaku kamaboko (white and pink colored fish cakes)
鶏松風 tori matsukaze (chicken terrine, topped with poppy seeds and green aonori seaweed)
田作り ta dzukuri (caramelized fish, and caramelized walnuts)
Second floor :
卵 tamago (front left – mosaic omelette)
数の子 kazu no ko (front right – sake flavored fish eggs, from Pacific herring eggs)
栗金団 kuri kinton (back left – sweet potato and chestnut puree)
豆 mame (back right – black and white sweetened beans)
Third floor :
金時人参 kintoki carrots
里芋 sato imo (taro)
Shio-yaki tai (fish salted and roasted)
Mochi topped with a kumquat.
That should be a mikan orange, or a daidai bitter orange, but I have the miniature mochi totem. Mochi are blocks of sticky rice paste.
To be continued…