My mother’s cooking was her expression of love for her friends and family. Her meals nurtured our appetite, minds, and spirit, and she was keenly aware of people’s food sensitivities and restrictions. Growing up, I observed my mother happily cooking two meals for her friends, Kok and Kiyo. Kok had an unrestricted diet, but her husband, Kiyo, had severe diabetes, so my mother prepared her feasts as usual, but always included similar but special-made meals for Kiyo. In my mind, tailoring meals was the normal thing to do, so it’s no surprise that when Margaret needed special meals during her cancer treatment for her tongue’s squamous cell carcinoma, it made sense to me to provide them for her.
This page includes a portfolio of meals I made for Margaret, Japanese meals my mother taught me, and essays I’ve written. I may eventually migrate from material explicitly relating to COOKING FOR HER EYES to a broader view of food because, after all, what’s there not to like about the subject of food!
ESSAY ON FOOD: AN ARCHITECT’S PERSPECTIVE
When I was a first-year graduate student studying architecture in the mid-1970s, my professor introduced me to Experiencing Architecture, a small but mighty book by architect Steen Eiler Rasmussen. The author shares his many insightful thoughts some of which includes scale and proportion, rhythm, texture, color, and hearing architecture. In essence, he expresses how to experience architecture, and his observations continue to influence me, becoming my compass for all things aesthetic. When it comes to food, in addition to the above considerations, my compass broadened to experiencing meals by engaging all my senses–hearing, smelling, touching, seeing, and tasting. (continued)
Excerpt from COOKING FOR HER EYES
“It was months before our local farmers’ market opened, so I’d gone to Whole Foods to buy perfectly beautiful, organic ingredients. Chemicals from chemotherapy and a myriad of medications barraged Margaret’s body, so I chose Whole Fo
ods’ meats and poultry as they were raised without animal by-products in their feed and were antibiotic and growth hormone-free. And all her veggies were certified organic.”
Excerpt from COOKING FOR HER EYES
“Haoles won’t try new foods that aren’t pretty,” my mother said. By haoles, she meant their Caucasian friends. Haole, a word used in Hawai`i that had neither negative nor positive implications, indicated Anglo ethnicity. She loved introducing her friends to elegantly presented Asian foods of new flavors and beauty. Although she felt her meals were simple, to her haole friends, they were an exotic leap from their typical palate. I believe my mother felt her guests’ enjoyment of her cooking, a fusion of Japanese and Chinese foods with a flair of Hawai`i, was a small sign of their acceptance of her family and of our culture, which seemed so very important to her.
MATCHA AND A SWEET LITTLE SOMETHING
I prepare a bowl of hot matcha every morning for my husband and myself–it took a bit of time to develop a taste for this tea, but our perseverance was well worth the effort. With its frothy, smooth, and mellow fragrance and taste, we also love matcha’s abundance of health benefits such as concentrated amounts of antioxidants, catechin which is thought to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, and heart healthy attributes.
CELEBRATING OUR 50TH ANNIVERSARY DURING TIMES OF COVID
In 1970 when Bob Rakstang and I married, we were college students and too broke for a “pull-out-all-the-stops” honeymoon. Fifty years later, 2020 would bring a magical year of globetrotting to Hawaii, Iceland, and island hopping through Greece, but ahh, COVID changed those plans. So what can we possibly do to celebrate our golden anniversary? Click the wedding pic to continue reading…