: Ayano Hodouchi
Blog: Figs in the Sun
Location: New York, New York
What is the first meal you ever cooked?
I think it was a pancake – a big, fluffy pancake. One of the picture books I loved the most as a child was a series called “Guri and Gura.” (The original is in Japanese but has been translated into several languages, including English.) In one of the books, Guri and Gura (a couple of field mice) find a huge egg. It’s so big they don’t know what to do with it, so they decide to make the biggest pancake ever. They go home and grab a big pan, flour, butter, milk, sugar, a bowl, an eggbeater, two aprons, matches, and a rucksack. The image of this big, yellow, fluffy pancake cooking in the middle of the forest, attracting all the animals nearby, caught my imagination and I kept on obsessing about huge pancakes. I think by the time I was 10 or 11, I was making pancakes for Sunday breakfast while my parents were asleep.
If you had to blog about one ingredient every day for a year, what would it be?
Hard question. Cheese, perhaps. Asian cuisines traditionally don’t use cheese, but otherwise, most dishes benefit from a bit of cheese in (or on) it. Cheese is great for baking as well, I can think of dozens of bread, cookie, and cake recipes using cheese. I could introduce various types of cheese – fresh, blue, smoked, goat, sheep, water buffalo – and probably by the end of the year I would start dabbling in cheese-making myself!
I will never eat:
Offal. I know there are many different recipes using various organs in European cuisines (not to mention Chinese,) but in Japan, organs are considered “unclean” parts of the animal and traditionally not eaten. Having grown up in a Japanese household, I stay away from organs. That said, I do occasionally eat chicken livers if they are cooked very well, but that was a recently-acquired taste for me.