The makings for a beautiful relationship
How do you feel about your food? Does it bring you happiness?
Well of course, you're probably thinking, how else would I feel after a nice big helping of chicken katsu/hamburger steak/Spam and eggs?
This is not quite the kind of happiness Jin Hirata envisions. Hirata, a New York dietary health coach who studied macrobiotic cooking, aspires to helping his clients find a deeper experience in eating their meals, one that goes beyond simply satiation. He teaches the concept of appreciating the food you eat, and eating food that promotes health.
For Hirata, this means eating a balanced diet that's mostly plant-based with a wide variety of whole foods.
The key words here are whole (vs. processed) and variety: Plant foods should include dark leafy greens, round veggies and root veggies. A plate should also include foods with different "energies" — think hot/cold, light/heavy, soft/hard, quick cooking/long cooking.
The final element to the plate is what Hirata calls "a touch of Japanese," the presence of miso, umeboshi and/or seaweed. He considers these healing foods and encourages their presence at every meal.
On Sunday, during a visit to Hawaii, Hirata cooked up such a meal and held a Whole Life Lunch for an intimate group at CookSpace in Ward Warehouse. His menu:
>> Miso soup with tiny cubes of daikon, carrots and sweet potato
>> Soft Barley Wakame Salad, tender barley that topped MAO greens, radish, celery, seaweed and pumpkin seeds
>> Japanese-style Fried "Chicken," a delicious fried dish of tofu marinated in shoyu, ginger and sake
>> Tofu Cream Fruit Parfait, a decadent compilation of tofu flavored with vanilla, maple syrup and lemon, and layered with kiwi, pineapple and other fruit.
The meal was satisfying, delicious, and appealing to the eye as well.
Stay tuned for an upcoming installment in my "If I Can, You Can" column, in which Jin and I will explain how to make that delicious fried "chicken," which indeed smelled and tasted like authentic soy-marinated chicken.