Archive by Author

Fukuoka and the Foodie Dilemma

16 Sep

Fukuoka, a scientist by education, came to the realization that the application of science to nature, and more specifically agriculture was not correct. Through his enlightenment he developed the idea of “do-nothing” farming. He reasoned that if plants and vegetables had grown naturally without any intervention for centuries, what was the need now to add fertilizer and till the soil to help the plants to grow? Fukuoka would not approve of the modern day foodie.

Today a foodie is someone who has a keen taste for food and loves to critique and try different combinations and flavors of food. Fukuoka would deem this behavior as unnatural and would not endorse it. Foodies were important in the Meiji era because they were the ones who really pushed for the meat, and specifically beef eating craze in Japan. Up until this time Japan had essentially been practicing isolationism and rejected Western ideas. The fashion of eating meet was purely a Western concept and thus Fukuoka would deem incorporating meat into the Japanese diet as being unnatural. It can also be argued that the foodies of the Meiji period are a large reason why Japan opened its doors to the Western world.

Although Fukuoka was correct in his analysis that nature is able to take care of its plants on its own, human intervention, and more importantly human invention in the kitchen pushed the limits of Japan in the Meiji era and opened their country up to the world. Today, the foodie culture is pushing our cuisine to new limits and is an integral part of our evolution as a human race.

You Never Have the Ingredients You Need

15 Sep

I was cooking an Indian vegetable dish last night, and the recipe called for peas, tomatoes, whole milk cheese, and an array of spices. I made the decision, perhaps unwise, to not shop for the ingredients, I knew I had peas at home, and just use whatever I could find in my kitchen.

Once I had cut everything and began to cook I realized that there was no ginger in my fridge, an essential part of the spices. Instead I found a can of ready-made curry sauce, which contained ginger, and decided to add that over the top at the end. The next problem arose when I realized there also wasn’t any whole milk cheese available, so I decided to use tofu instead, because it has almost the same consistency. Soon after, the next hurdle arose because I remembered that tomatoes release water when cooked, and while this would be fine if I cooked according to the recipe, I wasn’t. I was adding curry sauce at the end, and the water from the tomatoes would make the dish too watery.

Finally after the peas had cooked and I had added the sauce, there still just wasn’t something right. The dish wasn’t as rich and creamy as it was supposed to be. I had no cream to add, so I added a little milk instead and let it cook on low heat for a while. All in all, the dish turned out to be a success and my improvisation had worked.