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Sunday, August 22, 2010


I have a breadmaker and bake my own whole-grain bread. It makes wonderful toast. Tomatoes on toast has been one of my favorite things since I was a child. I would slather on delicious New Zealand butter thickly, top with sliced tomato, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Since I came to Japan however, I've pretty much given up on butter. Hokkaido butter is pretty good, but it's also pretty expensive. Besides, I've lost the illusion of invincibility that is a part of being young, so using butter the way I like to use it (thickly) makes me feel vaguely guilty. And perhaps most significant of all, Japanese refrigerators don't seem to have butter conditioners. But I've found a very satisfactory substitute - mayonnaise.

I hate the too-sweet, too-acidic 'mayonnaise' in New Zealand. I never used it. You can buy wonderful mayonnaise in Japan, rich and creamy. Add crushed garlic and it would do for aoli (don't tell my friend Sandra, who is a real foodie, I said that!) I usually buy 'karashi' (hot muststard) flavor. It's an excellent stand-in for butter with tomatoes (doesn't work well with marmalade.) It's also really good with ham on toast. I never ate ham on toast before a Japanese friend introduced me to it, but now I'm a big fan.

The other thing I really love to eat on toast is banana.  And that doesn't need butter, just a sprinkle of cinnamon.


  1. Wow! I love your posts. It is very interesting to know what you cook in Japan ;) How do you like Japanese ingredients?! Are they easy for you to use?! I'm just curious.

  2. When I first came to Japan I used to say "Japan is food heaven!"
    I think there are some very interesting ingredients in Japan - like kinako... and gobo... and yuzu... and shungiku - that are pretty much unknown in the rest of the world. (And I think there are still many ingredients I don't even know about yet.) It's really fun learning how to use them the Japanese way, and also to experiment and put my own spin on them.
    I'm very happy you like reading my blog.