"an exceptionally bad start"

new year osechi

bridget got that one right. restraining order, bomb threat, evacuation, false alarm (possible amateur porn with rubber gloves, eyyuuuuew), 'flu, food poisoning, familial spats #100,005-#100,012, icy stares, silent treatment, trangressions, accusations, earthquakes for two days. par, par, bogey, bogey, par, par. all a part of the holiday season in the santos household, i s'pose.

new year's day osechi--traditional japanese new year's day food meant to celebrate health, happiness, and good harvest. clockwise, from top left: tazukuri-teriyaki dried small sardines, date-maki-sweet omelet roll, radish pickle, kuro-mame-sweetened black beans, kazunoko-herring roe, nimono-simmered gobo(burdock root), carrots, lotus and taro, tamago-another sweet omelet, pink and white kamaboko-fish cake, and i don't know what those things that look like cherries are, because they're not cherries. ooh, wait, marzipan cherries. generally, the food is served in a four-tiered lacquered box, known as a jubako, but if you are lucky or patient, someone will have made most of your osechi at home, with a gorgeous presentation. i picked this up at my local japanese deli.

this was my first time to buy a jubako (mine is made from plastic and styrofoam), but i was familiar with most of the food items in the tray. everything tended to be sweet or salty, as traditionally the items were preserved with either salt or sugar or both, and were meant to be eaten throughout the day, so they had to have a certain amount of longevity. the only thing i hadn't had before was the date-maki, which was more like a castella sponge cake roll than an omelet, and the kazunoko. i nibbled a bit on the herring roe, but it was quite salty and fishy. and then i remembered it probably was in the box as a symbol of fertility, and being the >cough< merry spinster of the parish so to speak, i hastily removed it to the top of the "fortune" i received in a cookie: your mother is spreading vicious rumors about you. i'm sure the omelet rolls also symbolized fertility, but i liked them more. and i was hungry. scrambled eggs and french euphemisms be damned--i scarfed them down. the black beans looked like weird dyed favas but were creamy and sweet, the kamaboko chewy and sweet, the stewed root veggies earthy and you guessed it, sweet.

this was rather enjoyable, but now that i've seen other great, homemade, osechi dishes, i may have to try making them next year. maybe staying in the kitchen might be a good idea, anyway. i've got big knives in there.


Hi santos - I've heard that Kazunoko literally translates to "many children", so maybe you dodged a bullet? LOL!

ha! bullet be damned (!?) hahaha.

yum, that looks to gorgeous to eat.

hey kirk and aloi--maybe it's actually a symbol of great harvest. hmmmm. eyuw. creepy.

God, I wish I were Japanese. Or a little Japanese. Smidgen! Not that I'd have to be Japanese to eat this stuff, but it would help.


Those are lovely food pics and look so yummy..:)

robyn, i am not even a smidgen japanese, but i still ingested. eat away at the pretty food, dear girl, it is your prerogative!

hello sailu--i love photographing pretty food. makes my job all the easier. happy new year to you!

This looks great and kind of looks like the little plastic boxes that you see in the windows of Japanese restaurants. Too good to eat.

hi gia--(laughing) yes it does. no wonder i'm so attracted to it. happy new year to you and your family around the world!

Santos, I think you had more Japanesey new year than I did...

Frankly, my dear, I'm more interested in the contremps at Casa de Santos! My holiday was a literal snoozefest compared to what was hinted at in your tantilizing post. Enquiring minds and all that, you know.

I love the datemaki too. The funny texture comes from fish paste, which I never would have guessed- I suppose all that sugar covers up the fishiness.
Don't worry about any unwanted fertility blessings- datemaki is eaten to ensure academic success (it resembles a rolled scroll).

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

hello keiko! happy new year to you. not just new years, apparently :) i'm having quite a japanese foody january.

hi gail--oy vey. it's just par for the course. bogey for the course.

hello amy! whew! perhaps that is why i've been reading voraciously for the past few days. and i've been learning quite a bit from you as well, so thank you for that.

Hello Santos,

I made mine this year - for the very first time. I used this site for the receipes.


Sorry they are in Japanese but you can perhaps get an idea of the making by step-by-step procedure photos.

Most of the Japanese don't make Osechi anymore. It's hard to make small portions of various kinds, and surely hard work!