Men men = Noodles = comfort food

21 Mar

As many of you know by now, I try to use Japanese seasonings and flavors in my cooking.  Growing up, my mother often laughed at how I’d try to use excessive amounts of bold seasoning – possibly trying to assert my “American-ness” in my cooking, and defying the common-sense rules of Japanese cooking (subtle, reserved, multi-faceted and layered) … and manners.

These days, I’ve come to embrace my Japanese heritage, and try very hard to incorporate certain items into my girls’ lives. 

One of these items – is the noodle, or as my girls call them, “men men!!”

My husband prefers eggs, bacon and toast, or eggs, bacon and waffles on a weekend morning.  Quite often, the thought of lugging the waffle maker out of its place in the laundry room (space hog results in items being sent off into Siberia) or having to wipe down the stove-floor-counter-sink after a greasy fry-up gives me heartburn.  I’ll try to negotiate with him to just… oh, have a fried egg and toast (with HP sauce) and a glass of cold milk in a frosty glass.

I grew up having noodles on the weekends – whether it be udon, soba, champon, ramenmy father in charge of Sunday breakfast always resulted in long strands of dough in various styles.  My favorites were noodles served in broths – and I especially loved when my father would make udon or soba noodles, and then provide a soup thickened with katakuriko, or what I called “Doro Doro sou-pu.” I especially liked when my father added a cooked, scrambled egg, or tamagotoji, as well as some other items, such as narutomaki fish cakes, scallions, and vegetables. 

My girls also love noodles for breakfast, and often, “Mama Mennn mennn!” is what I would wake up to on the weekends.

This weekend, they had udon noodles in soup with blanched spinach, carrots, poached egg, scallions, and (not pictured here) wakameThe older one deftly captures each noodle and vegetable with her chopsticks, while the little one snags the end of a noodle with her chopsticks, and grabs them with her other hand. 

The soup is made by adding shiitake powder, dried shiitake, soy sauce, a little salt, and a little sugar to a small pot of water.  I slowly bring this to almost boiling, but then, turn down the heat so the soup doesn’t actually boil.  I technically need to leave the shiitake mushrooms to reconstitute in room temperature water, but I never seem to have the time, so I take short cuts.  Sometimes I’ll add a piece of konbu, or kelp, and other times, katsuobushi

For Saturday’s version, I had a pot of boiling water for the noodles only, and I cooked the veggies and the egg in the soup pot. 

Between exclamations of “Mama atsuii! (hot!)” and blowing on the noodles to cool them off, the girls were content and full. 

**Persephone, a wonderful culinary explorer has featured dashi on her blog, and I suggest you check it out for some good basics.


7 Responses to “Men men = Noodles = comfort food”

  1. PersephonesKitchen March 21, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    I love that you added some recollections of what weekend food tasted like growing up. I love this post!

    • spenmax March 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

      I never fully appreciated the weekend routine until I got older. Hopefully the girls will remember their weekend meals too.

  2. jenn March 22, 2011 at 7:37 am #

    R-, your writing skills never cease to amaze me!! I so enjoyed reading this post from top to bottom and was captivated by your childhood memories with your family around weekend traditions. I am honored to have experienced that yummy weekend soup your father made !!!!!! (Now Jenn, you MUST eat all the soup :). )


    • spenmax March 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

      Aw, thanks Jenn 🙂 We’ll have to do the next generation version soon, with the families. Thanks for checking in, and no, the kids won’t have to eat ALL the soup. xo


  1. “M” for Monday, Meatballs and Mom « Eating Battlezone - March 28, 2011

    […] the motions of the weekend routine.  My thought process turns on, and I start worrying… Men men or toast.  Fried egg or poached egg.  What do I do if my husband wants waffles, and I have […]

  2. Back to school Monday « Eating Battlezone - April 13, 2011

    […] morning brought us the usual noodle routine.  Both girls had a bowl of udon (wheat noodles) with poached egg, spinach, carrots, scallions […]

  3. Day 2 of the new 2011 school year « Eating Battlezone - September 8, 2011

    […] Over the weekend, I had made udon noodles in a shiitake mushroom stock garnished with blanched watercress, carrots, napa cabbage, poached egg and an informal tablespoon of mabo-dofu (this version had sautéed ground turkey, bunashimeji mushrooms, tofu, minced garlic, minced ginger, chopped scallions, simmered in stock and seasoned with miso) left over from an earlier dinner.  I topped it off with chopped scallions from the garden. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: