It has been a year since Rachel first launched the Washoku Warriors on La Fuji Mama, and I'm rather proud to say that with just one exception (when my thesis was due only days later and sleep had been all but eliminated as a luxury), I've participated in every challege. I've enjoyed learning some of the basics of a cuisine that I eat (and cook) on a regular basis, and I've actually loved forcing myself to follow a recipe once in a while.
But the past year has another significance for me, it has been a year since U and I started dating. It is perhaps fitting, therefore, that this most recent challenge was cooked entirely by him. We didn't plan it this way, but one thing (a week in Indonesia) led to another (stomach troubles and a summer cold or perhaps a case of Dengue Fever???) led to another (taking time off work and spending long periods of time in bed) and I didn't have much appetite nor desire to cook. When U asked me what I wanted to eat one night my sore throat and weak stomach wanted nothing more than a plain broth, but I knew I needed something that would give me a bit of energy. I didn't feel like rice gruel, which would be what is eaten when sick in Japan. U seemed wary when I suggested chicken noodle soup and I honestly didn't have the energy to find a good recipe for him to follow, so I started wracking my brains for a Japanese equivalent.
Suddenly it occurred to me that Andoh had a tonjiru (miso-based pork soup with veggies and tofu) recipe that would be both good for my stomach and easy for U to make... and it would satisfy this month's challege too! (That's three birds with a single stone... or rather a big batch of delicious soup!!) So U pulled out Andoh's book and I wrote him a shopping list before I curled up for a nap. When I awoke the apartment was filled with smells that were tempting even my nonexistent tastebuds.
Tonjiru is a soup that appears often in Japan, especially in winter. It appears at just about every Girl Scout camp as it is simple enough to make and yet requires the girls to chop up lots of different veggies and thus feel like they've done something. I've eaten many bowls of tonjiru out of doors, in cold weather, and appreciated the warmth and simple goodness of the soup. Despite the hot summer weather, and despite my lack of appetite, I appreciated the bowl U put in front of me too. I finished it off and curled up for another nap, feeling cared for and loved.
I'd say that's one pretty darn good bowl of soup... although you'll have to trust me on that as my photography skills were rather lacking!