#23 In memory of Hatsuko

2022 . 12 . 29

When I was a child, I loved being taken by my mother to my grandmother’s house.
The reason for this was my grandmother’s homemade “tea porridge”.

Neither a feast nor an exciting snack for children, tea porridge is a simple dish made with green tea, sweet potatoes, salt and rice.

It was really really good.

My mother is now 79 years old.
I live with them in Niigata and they make tea porridge quite often.
I eat it too, and the moment I bring it to my mouth, I remember my grandmother.
Because, I think “Oh, I want to eat my grandma’s tea porridge, not my mother’s.” every time.

So my mother, even at 79 years old, can’t get over the taste of her grandmother.
Because my “taste” memories are vividly connected to my grandmother.

To live is to eat.
To eat is to live.
Eating uses all five senses, sense of sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste.
We eat and live using all of our senses.

We never forget those whom we remember with all our senses.

By the way, the most profitable part of the supermarket is the prepared food section.
The croquettes in the deli section and the fried chicken lunch boxes always have a stable taste.
Since we are only human who makes them, joy, anger, sorrow, physical condition, etc., are not always stable.
Nevertheless, the stable taste can be reproduced because of the use of “chemical power”.

Monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrite, and sodium polymerized phosphate are all strong enough to be recognized as neurotoxic or cause high blood pressure.
We will create a “stability” that will reproduce the same taste no matter when you eat.

I’m not in denial about chemical seasonings.
Prepared foods can also be very helpful at times.

But I don’t think that the taste of home always has to be steady and tasty.

The way the cook’s mind is on a given day can bring out the best taste or conversely, make it bad.
The state of one’s physical condition can directly affect one’s cooking.

The eater senses this and thanks the cooker, be kind, concerned, praises, and care for.
Because I believe that the home dining table is also such a place.

Many young people work at tamaki niime.
Hatsuko was in charge of making lunch for these staff members.
In the kitchen of a large family, she was like a mother to everyone, cooking a natural, well-balanced lunch for everyone’s health.
Every time I visited from Niigata, I also used to have Hatsuko-san’s meal.
The other day, Hatsuko-san passed away suddenly after prepared lunch.
The news was so sudden that it was hard to accept it as reality for a while, and it was even more painful for the members of tamaki niime.

But those of us who had been having Hatsuko-san’s cooking will remember her every time we eat hamburgers, curry, Chinese rice bowl or somen noodles.

We cannot forget those whom we remember with all our senses.
We will always, always live together.
That is something that “chemistry” cannot do.
Love” is what makes it possible.

Thank you for your cooking, Hatsuko-san.
Thank you for your hard work, Hatsuko-san.
Thank you so much, Hatsuko-san.

Author ; Mayumi Inoue