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Are you a Menu For Hope winner?

Did you win prize EU01 of Menu For Hope V? If so, you still haven't gotten in touch! Please do so via here.

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Name That Food! Mystery food identification flickr group

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Because I have sooo much to do right now, I’ve started yet another small project. continue reading...

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A forum for non-bento people too

I really have no idea anymore how many people follow this site but don’t follow Just Bento, and vice versa, but in case that is you, I just wanted to let you know that the brand new forum is now open. I’ve made sections to discuss non-bento food, or anything else that strikes your fancy too. continue reading...

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Registering on the site is a good thing!

You may have noticed over on Just Bento that I've now made the user login form much more visible. I'll be doing the same on Just Hungry, but for now the login/register links are at the top left of every page. This is to encourage you to register on the site. I have stopped short of requiring registration in order to comment and so on for now, but I have turned back on comment moderation for any unregistered commenters. continue reading...

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Mochitsuki in your neighborhood?

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Mochitsuki photo by Ivva continue reading...

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Two more days left for Menu For Hope V!

[Update:] Menu For Hope has been extended to December 31st!

menuforhope2008sm.jpgI’ve been sick with a cold since Friday. You know the usual stuff - headache, feverish, coughing, and above all that overwhelming grumpiness and desire to make the lives of everyone in my immediate vicinity (or, ‘meatspace’ as the hip kids call it) as miserable as I feel. In this kind of mood, the last thing I want to do is to go out and do any last-minute holiday shopping.

Maybe you feel the same way (about the shopping, hopefully not the cold part). The last couple of days before Christmas should be spent in your cozy home, decorating your kids, hugging your presents, and wrapping your tree. Or do I have that confused… Anywho, to take care of those last, difficult-to-shop-for people on your list, how about giving them a raffle ticket or two for Menu For Hope? continue reading...

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Acquired tastes, and the pleasures of acquiring them

Olives

When I posted my recipe for poppy seed encrusted green pea mini-burgers over on Just Bento this week, I was a bit surprised that a few people had a problem with the inclusion of a small amount of chopped olives or olive paste. My first thought was, “How can anyone object to olives?” But then I remembered that I, too, used to have a problem with olives. continue reading...

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Christmas oranges and personal holiday traditions

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A Christmas post from 5 years ago, during Just Hungry: The Early Years. continue reading...

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Menu For Hope V: It's on!

[Update:] Menu For Hope has been extended to December 31st!

menuforhope2008sm.jpgMenu For Hope is an annual fundraising event, now in its 5th year, contributed to by food bloggers around the world. Last year, nearly US $100,000.00 was raised for the United Nations World Food Programme, to benefit the school lunch programme in Lesotho, Africa.

Menu For Hope’s creator and head organizer is Pim of Chez Pim, and this year’s regional Europe host is Sara of Ms. Adventures In Italy.

I’m happy to announce that Just Hungry is once again offering raffle prizes for Menu For Hope V. This year, we have two! continue reading...

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Just to get you in a holiday mood...

Sweet Christmas ornaments

Some spun-sugar candy Christmas ornaments being sold at the Christmas market in Zürich.

Have a great weekend! I’ll be off exploring more Christmas markets over the weekend.

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Just Hungry 5th Anniversary Giveaway - The Winners!

The winners are announced! continue reading...

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Sunday Survey: Your most memorable 'famous person' restaurant encounter?

I’m sitting here sorting through the giveaway entries, checking out the overnight Twitters, and doing laundry. Typical Sunday morning for me. @macratlove tweeted (twittered?) this, which is inspiring this question:

What’s the most memorable famous-person encounter you’ve ever had in a restaurant?

Here’s mine! continue reading...

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5th Anniversary Giveway Day 5: It's Just Me

This is the final day of the 5th Anniversay Giveaway week. I hope you’ve enjoyed it! continue reading...

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5th Anniversary Giveway Day 4: Regrets, I've had a few

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For a few months in 2006, I changed the banner graphic of the site every month to reflect the season.

There are a couple of things that I wish I had done differently during the last five years as far as Just Hungry was concerned. If you are a newish food blogger, or any kind of blogger, perhaps this will help you avoid these mistakes.

(This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for participating! The winner will be announced next week!) continue reading...

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5th Anniversary Giveway Day 3: The Meandering Path of Just Hungry

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The header graphic of the 2nd design of Just Hungry displayed one of these 4 illustrations at random.

As I wrote yesterday, when I started Just Hungry I had no plans at all about the theme of the site, other than it would be about food. I think that you could get away with that back then, when the number of actual food blogs was probably still in the low hundreds.

__( This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for participating! continue reading...

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5th Anniversary Giveway Day 2, with some reminiscences

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The image that I used in my first page design banner. I still love it.

During this giveaway week, I thought I’d indulge myself by sharing some reminiscences about the past five years of Just Hungry. Today: Why I started the site.

__ This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for participating! continue reading...

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Just Hungry 5th Anniversary / Just Bento 1st Anniversary Giveaway!

birthdaycupcake.jpg from iStockPhoto

I’m giving away goodies all this week!

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for participating! continue reading...

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This was me, yesterday.

I am mostly a plan-ahead, cautious type of person. But once in a while I like to do something just on a whim. Usually these whims turn out to be wonderful. (Sometimes not.)

Anyway, a couple of days ago, near the end of a rather difficult business trip, with my wrist/hand/arm still feeling stiff and wonky and feeling rather sorry for myself, I logged onto my [insert frequent flier miles program name] account and saw that I had a whole bunch of miles nearly expiring. And I decided I needed to spend them. Now. continue reading...

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Quick update

I’ve managed to sprain my left hand and wrist, so it’s very hard for me to type long articles. So I’m afraid the continuation of the Japanese budgeting series and other planned articles are on hold for a bit.

If you want to know what I am doing, you can always follow me on Twitter. One-handed typing is easier when it’s limited to 140 characters.

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Zurich shopping news: Best of British store opening

(This item is only of interest if you live in Switzerland, specifically in the Zürich area. Everyone else, just move along.) continue reading...

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Sustainable sushi guides and the National Sushi Party

Today, three ocean conservation groups in the United States - the Blue Ocean Institute, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium - will each be releasing sushi fish selection guides. They all seem to be printed guides that you have to order (small quibbles: Why not a downloadable PDF so people can start using it immediately? Also, why 3 separate guides?) but if you are a sushi afficionado and are concerned about the sustainability of safety of the fish used as sushi neta, you may want to give one of them a look. See the press release here. continue reading...

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Oh noes, dashi is trendy now

In the past few years, the popularity of Japanese food has exploded, with sushi leading the way. You might think that as the owner of a blog that is mainly dedicated to Japanese cooking, I’d be ecstatic about that.

I am happy, sure. It’s gratifying to gradually see the cuisine of my birthplace being recognized as something special. But on the other hand, I’m more than a bit skeptical. I wonder if, in a few years, hipster ‘foodies’ are going to turn their noses up at Japanese cuisine. “That was so naughties” they might be saying sometime in 2015, as they tuck into the latest craze for - I don’t know what. continue reading...

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What are your basic go-to dishes?

What are your basic everyday go-to recipes? continue reading...

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The Japanese 100 list finally complete, and other things

The 100 Japanese foods list is done. Plus, you know, Swiss breast milk. continue reading...

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From the $1500 dinner to Russell Baker's Francs and Beans

Being pleasantly reminded of a classic piece of food writing. continue reading...

Bite-sized Japanese lessons on Twitter @mainichinihongo

I know that a lot of readers come to Just Hungry because they are interested in Japanese culture. You may have even taken a look at my language blog. At the moment I don’t have the time to maintain the language blog, so I’ve just started a Japanese language Twitter account, @mainichinihongo (which means ‘Japanese every day’. My plan is to introduce one or more words per day-ish, around a theme. If you are on Twitter, and interested in Japanese, give it a try! (I still have my other Twitter account, @bentotips, where I tend to blather on about everything and anything.)

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Some food TV news: Supersizers Go repeats, The Restaurant is back, more

Some food TV news for you if you live in the UK or regions of Europe that get British TV. The Supersizers Go is being repeated, The Restaurant is back for another round, and more. continue reading...

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The Omnivore's Hundred - Just Hungry version

If you follow me on Twitter you may know that today was not a good day (nor was it a particularly good week). So, this little distraction via @nandita comes at a great time. It is a meme, but is a good one! It is called…

The Omnivore’s Hundred

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions. 2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten. 3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. 4) Optional extra: Post a comment at Very Good Taste linking to your results.

So, here I present… continue reading...

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Some links and random thoughts

Here are a bunch of unrelated-to-each-other links and thoughts that have accumulated recently.

Product linkage, edible

For UK and Europe readers: Japan Centre has a sale on this week for Yamamotoyama Soy Rappu, colorful soy based wrappers that are an interesting substitute for nori seaweed when making sushi rolls. I haven’t really tried them myself yet, so I placed and order and will see how they work. continue reading...

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Quick tip: Making the most of wasabi powder

Please forgive the lack of photos - in the middle of packing, I’ve somehow misplaced my camera. I’m sure it will come out soon, but in the meantime here is a handy tip for bring out the best flavor in wasabi powder. continue reading...

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Update on the book situation and ruminating on cookbooks

A month ago, I asked how I should get rid of cookbooks and craft books. There were lots of great suggestions in the comments - thank you! Here’s an update…plus some ruminations on cookbooks.

I posed that question a month ago, when I was just starting the packing-and-purging process. At that time I thought I’d just have say, one box of books to get rid of. But as we went through the zillion books that have accumulated, we realized that there were far, far more. continue reading...

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In Shojo Beat Magazine

I was interviewed recently for Shojo Beat Magazine, an English magazine published in the U.S. dedicated to shojo manga (manga for girls), and the results of whatever I said are in the most recent issue. Unfortunately the articles isn’t online, so I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but the whole issue is dedicated to Japanese food and manga - sounds like fun!

Update: Here is the link to the article (an excerpt I think). (Thanks heatherbug!) continue reading...

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What instead of the tomato?

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Is there anything that can step in for a ripe, juicy tomato? continue reading...

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Alimentum Summer 2008

alimentum_summer2008.gifThe Summer 2008 issue of Alimentum is out. This quarterly journal of food writing which includes non-fiction, short stories and poetry, is one of my favorite magazines of any genre, let alone food. In my current purge-decluttering mood, it’s one of the few magazines that I am keeping all issues of. See my first review of it here. The summer issue is as wonderful as usual. Did I mention that the illustrations (proper illustrations, no photography) are as great as the writing?

If you’re in the New York area, they are having an issue launch party this Sunday, June 29th. There will be a reading, wine, cupcakes(!) and maybe even omelettes. Details here. (This kind of event makes me almost with I still lived in New York, except for the July weather…)

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How to get rid of craft and cooking books?

This is a mostly non-food related question. I have hinted around about this a bit, but I’m in the process of moving (not sure where yet, but that’s another story!) and I’m taking this as a good opportunity to seriously declutter. I have a bunch of cookbooks and craft books in Japanese and English that I want to part with.

Most of the books I want to find homes for are in new or very good condition. No splattered books with stuck-together pages! There are a few that are a bit worn, but are out of print so may have a rarity value. continue reading...

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Cold noodle time!

I am sort of the road this week, so it’s hard to cook much. When I get settled back at home, the first thing I want to make is cold noodles. What I’m craving most right now:

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That is hiyashi chuuka, or Chinese style cold noodles. It’s a meal in one, as refreshing as a salad. I love the salty-tangy sauce. continue reading...

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Rice defines me as a Japanese person

2 or 3 times a year, my mother sends me a big care package from Japan. She sends it by seamail, which takes forever, but that’s because she always includes a bag of rice. continue reading...

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2 penny sausages

Asda, a UK supermarket chain (and a wholly owned division of Wal-Mart), spurred no doubt by recent news about scarily rising food prices, has launched an attention grabbing product: the 2 p sausage. You do have to buy it in packs of 8, but a pack is still just 16p. In US cents that’s about 4 cents a sausage.

The sausages have been reduced, from 56p per package of 8. Even at that price the thought of what might go into such a cheap sausage makes me shudder. At 2p per sausage, it makes my stomach take a queasy flop.

Surely there are better ways of eating frugally than stuffing yourself with lumps of dubious chopped up mystery meat? (I love a really good sausage, but bad sausages are a very different matter.) If you’re in the UK, have you tried the 2p sausages, or would you consider trying them?

Elsewhere in the world, you can have a $175 burger topped with gold leaf and foie gras, which may not even be that good. Something’s off kilter somewhere.

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The original Iron Chef Japan is back on the air in the US

Fans of the original Japanese Iron Chef (ryouri no tetsujin 料理の鉄人) in the U.S. have cause for celebration, because the series is back on the air starting tonight at 11pm Eastern on the Fine Living channel. I think it’s been off the air on the Food Network for a while now. In my opinion, while the American version is fine, there’s nothing to match the sheer craziness and fun of the original. continue reading...

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Reflections on the food prices poll results

The food prices poll has just concluded, and the results show that 43% of the people who votes are ‘very concerned’ and 45% are ‘a little concerned’ about rising food prices. That is quite a lot indeed.

I’ve been thinking of ways in which our household food budget can go on a diet. Given that we are rather passionate about good food around here, there are compromises we are not willing to make. But there are lots we can do without feeling like we are depriving ourselves too. continue reading...

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Wagashi are not some sort of magic Japanese diet food

Someone alerted me to this entry on the Health.com blog which quotes me. (Health.com is a Time Inc. property.) I just wanted to set some things straight, because a couple of the statements there are just not right. continue reading...

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A bit of Swiss milk chocolate

A tall stack of Swiss chocolate bars

I spent the last couple of weeks surrounded by chocolate bars. Oh, the temptation. continue reading...

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Meat and the environment

Today is Green Day, and we’re being bombarded with Green Day Sales, reminders as to how Green this company or the other is, and so on. It’s a big topic nowadays.

I feel that the things that we can do as individuals is getting increasingly muddy. For a while it seemed like biofuels were a solution, but now the huge demand for plant-based fuels may be causing serious food shortages. Food miles and locavorism may not be as clear cut a solution either. Michael Pollan says we should start growing our own vegetables, but that’s not possible for a lot of people, for space or time reasons.

Is there something relatively easy we can do? Sort of. continue reading...

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New poll: Rising food prices and you

(Skip the rambling and go directly to the poll)

The news is quite disturbing these days. Soaring food prices, food riots in Haiti, rice hoarding by some exporters of rice. Do you worry about rising food prices?

We eat a lot of rice at our house as you might expect, so news like rice prices hitting an all-time high today are a bit disturbing. We’ve already seen bread getting more expensive. continue reading...

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Going Out For An English, the greatest restaurant sketch ever

Oh no, two YouTube posts in a row! Well on Saturday we went to an Indian restaurant in town, and invariably our favorite restaurant related video was brought up. Goodness Gracious Me (Wikipedia entry) was a half hour comedy sketch show that ran on BBC One and Two from 1998 to 2001. In case you have never heard of it and you’re in the U.S., it was a little bit like the ’90s comedy show In Living Color, except that the cast in GGM was almost all Asian (as in South Asian, or Indian), who also wrote all the sketches. It poked fun at many British and British-Asian things. One of the best routines was one that made fun of a typical outing to an Indian restaurant. This sketch is called Going Out for an English. I don’t think you have to be Asian (as in South Asian) or British to find it funny…it’s how a lot of people still behave, at any ‘ethnic’ restaurant!

“What is the Blandest Thing you have on the menu?”

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Mayo, shiso and tiny little fish sandwich

Browsing around YouTube instead of working, as you do, today I found this little gem. It’s a commercial for Ajinomoto Mayonnaise, by Juzo Itami, the late, great director of the best food movie ever, Tampopo:

The actor (not sure if it’s Itami himself) is talking on the phone to a friend, when he gets hungry. Still remaining on the phone (and inexplicably on his back), he scoots over to the kitchen to get white bread, mayo and chirimenjako, little semi-dried fish. He tops it off with a fresh shiso leaf, and is in heaven. The dialogue is just like the dense, obsessive dialogue in Tampopo. I’ll have to give that sandwich a try one day…it is odd enough that it has to appeal only to a really curious food person.

(The second commercial is cute yet odd, like many of the best Japanese commercials.) continue reading...

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April will be lighter around here

Incidentally, I plan to do a lot more vegetable-oriented/lighter cooking, so you’ll most likely see the results of that on Just Hungry and Just Bento. This means I’m going to give the yohshoku series a rest for awhile (breaded and deep fried hamburgers tend to stick to the waistline and all.) Besides, we’re finally starting to see reasonably locally grown vegetables that aren’t cabbage or broccoli! This kind of thing over on Just Bento is what I’ll be eating more of. I lost a bunch of weight when I couldn’t eat after my surgery, but almost all of it has come right back since my appetite returned! Must. Stem. Belly rebound.

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Whatever lame April Fools' jokes you may encounter today, there is none better than the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest

Today, you will be encountering many lame (and perhaps a handful of not-lame) April Fools’ Day jokes. But there really is none better, than the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest.

I know I keep bringing it up every year on this day, but it really is that good.

Here’s a fairly acceptable YouTube version:

continue reading...

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Pondering the new Delia Smith, plus acceptable cooking shortcuts

While I was mostly lounging around for the past week, I did get to catch up on a lot of TV. One of the shows I’ve cleared from my DVR is the new one from Delia Smith on BBC Two. continue reading...

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Hi, still alive

Hi everyone. I am alive and getting better. I actually had a tonsillectomy (hi Yoko I got it done finally); this winter I had two very bad bouts with tonsillitis and thought those things best be gone. At the moment I am feeling quite blah (probably the meds), and somehow quite depressed for some reason I can’t put a finger on. I’m not supposed to be doing anything too stressful for a while, and surfing the internets right now really gets me down even more - can’t explain that either. My throat is too uncomfortable yet to eat anything (even ice cream is sort of irritating, so I’m mainly drinking fluids…) - I don’t have much of an appetite, though I keep on thinking about the smell of butter melting in a hot pan. And bacon. But not bacon in butter. Weird.

Anyway, I’ll return to duty around here when I’m back to my own self. Thank you for all your good wishes! continue reading...

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Just Hungry is a site about Japanese food and home cooking, healthy eating, the expat food life, and more. [log in] or [register]

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maki Just Hungry is a site about food. There are lots of recipes and much more. You may want to read about Just Hungry, or contact the site owner, Makiko Itoh. To dive in real deep, try the site map.

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