Combatting Summer Fatigue article in The Japan Times

Just a heads up to those of you who are wondering when the heck I am going to post a new recipe already around here. There is a new, summery recipe by me on The Japan Times online version today! The Japan Times is the largest English-language daily paper in Japan, and I'm happy to say that I will be writing for them occasionally about - what else? - Japanese food and cooking. The theme of this one is using food to combat natsubate, the Japanese term for "summer fatigue" or "summer lethargy" - a common malaise in most of the country, where it is unrelentingly hot and humid until about mid-October. The recipe is a very easy one to put together, essentially a meal salad with soba noodles as the base. (How to cook and rinse soba noodles properly.)

Here's an alternate shot of the salad:

Chicken and shrimp soba salad with sesame sauce

It really is delicious, if I do say so myself!

I worked on the recipe before I was hospitalized, but had to finish the article itself while I was still there to meet the deadline. That meant taking the photo of the dish too. So, I had The Guy make the components at home and bring them in a cooler to the hospital, where I could arrange and style them and photograph them. A nurse came in while I was doing this - I was cutting up extra shiso at the time if I remember correctly - and I had to explain that ce n'est ne pas pour manger, c'est mon travail! (It's not for eating, it's for my work!) Fortunately it was not Madame Méchante, but one of the younger laid-back nurses, and she just laughed. Phew!

It was one of those moments when I realized that I may just be turning into a real Food Writer; who else would be crazy enough to be styling a salad in a hospital, with an IV drip in one arm, a vacuum hose dangling from my back. Surreal.

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