Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Food I Enjoyed at My Parents' House #1

I heard that last weekend, here in Kochi city, we had a record snowfall for December. I said “I heard,” because I missed the snow. I was at my parents’ house in Muroto, which is about 100 km southeast of Kochi city, and it didn’t snow there (except in mountainous areas). Instead, we had hail around 11:30 pm Saturday night.

What was I doing in Muroto when everything and everybody were freezing? Well, on Saturday, I was picking oranges at my dad’s orchard with mom and dad.

Ponkan (Citrus reticulata Blanco) 
This year ponkan oranges seem to be ripening rather slowly and many of them were still greenish. But some of them need to be picked and kept in the storage so that they turn sweeter and be ready for sale by the end of the year.

Buntan (Citrus grandis)
Mom said these would be picked sometime in January. Buntan oranges need to be stored for a while (a month or longer?) after picking to turn juicier and sweeter.

Obachan picking ponkan
I used to pick oranges every year when I was small. In my childhood, when my grandpa was still alive, harvesting ponkan oranges was a real big thing that the whole family (and a few of extended family members, too) had to do together. The smell of fresh-cut twigs of orange tree, the sound of scissors, the color of the sky you see as you reach for the oranges high up on the tree, and the color of the ocean you see when you look down from the orchard… Those are the things I was so used to in my childhood, and still very refreshing to me.

After coming back to my parents’ house, mom and I warmed ourselves up with steaming hot zenzai (sweet azuki bean soup with toasted small rice cakes). :d

On Sunday, when TV news were reporting the record snowfall in many places in Japan, mom and I sorted the ponkan oranges according to size in the morning, and around noon…

I know. We are crazy. There were several people fishing that day, but absolutely no one was digging clams, getting hands wet. It’s something in our DNA. Both my mom and I (and my younger sister, too) just can’t resist the temptation to go to the beach on a day of spring tide and hunt shellfish, and I remember my grandma was like that, too. (It was actually 2 days after the day of spring tide, but the tide fell enough for digging clams.)

After coming back to my parents’ house, mom and I warmed ourselves up with zenzai again. (Yep, leftover from yesterday.)

Asari (Short-necked clam)
We made miso soup using these clams. Personally, I think they taste better than bigger type of short-necked clams.

Mom gathered other kinds of shellfish, too.

Kamenote (Gooseneck barnacle?) and other shellfish

These were used for clear soup. Mom loves to put some dried seaweed in the soup and make it extra fishy, but I don’t care for it very much.
Sorry I couldn't take shots of the soups.

Well, these were not the only local specialties I enjoyed last weekend. There’ll be another post about something rather “different,” so be prepared for a shock.


FooDcrazEE said...

looks delish! lucky u to have a good orchard..

Melissa CookingDiva said...

The fruit looks beautiful! Glad you had fun visiting your family. Happy Holidays :)

Anonymous said...

You and your parents are so fortunate to have such wonderful products right in the back yard!!! Glad you had a good time with great food....and your parents!!!!

obachan said...

Thanks. (To be precise, the orchard is my dad’s.) : )

It was nice to stay away from PC for 2 solid days for a change and stay in the natural wilderness. ;)

I really should look for some ways to use the (bad looking) oranges that we cannot sell…

Anonymous said...

I love citrus, love the refreshing smell it brings :)