The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

this is from The Japanese Life of Bento

I’ve mentioned the vegetarian/vegan cookbook author Yumiko Kano before on these pages, including a review of her lunch and bento book, Saisai Lunch. Ms. Kano produces books with astonishing frequency, as do many popular Japanese cookbook authors, at a rate of 2 to 3 books a year, so it’s a bit hard to keep up with her output. But I do like her recipes a lot so I try to get most of them.

Her two most recent books are Saisai Otsumami and Yasai no Kamisama. Saisai Otsumami, another in the Saisai (“vegetable-vegetable”) series, is a photo-rich cookbook of snacks that are eaten while drinking (otsumami), all vegan of course. A cookbook of healthy, vegan snacks to eat while imbibing is a seems a bit, well, illogical to me, but the recipes look delicious. I don’t drink much so I don’t have a big need for new ideas for drinking snacks, but I’ll be trying some out and seeing what can be adapted to bentos for sure.

Her other book, Yasai no Kamisama (The Gods of Vegetables) is a collection of essays about food, with recipes. I’ve just flipped through it so far, but this one essay, called The Power of Onigiri, really caught my attention. Here’s a rough and abbreviated translation.

I have been divorced twice. The second time […], less than a year after we had filed our marriage papers, during which time we had been so busy with work that we had kept missing each other, I found out that my husband had another woman. He would often leave the house without saying a word, and not come back until late at night. When I confronted him, he confessed that he was in love with another woman….

I was so devastated. It was as if I’d been hit by a tsunami - it was so out of the blue. I felt as if I had fallen into a deep, dark place. I wanted to kill myself.

When I was at the depths of despair, my husband said this to me. “I don’t care if you die. But if you blame me for it, I’ll never forgive you.” Those words were like having a rock fall on my head right after having fallen into the depths of hell.

But amazingly, getting such loveless words thrown at me from someone I loved helped me to regain myself again. It was as if I was able to face my loss of hope head-on…

And then I got hungry. It was as if my body was craving nourishment for my soul. And what did I want to eat? An umeboshi onigiri.

from Onigiri On Parade!

She goes on to detail a recipe for onigiri using organically farmed rice and so on. But to me what struck me about her story (besides, OMG WHAT A BASTARD HER EX HUSBAND IS!) is the fact that food can heal you, spiritually as well as physically. A homemade bento, whether it has an onigiri in it or not, may not necessarily be life-changing, but it is a little bit of healing comfort for me. It could be a cultural thing though…to me, rice (and it has to be white rice) is comfort food in many levels. I just asked The Guy what it is for him, and he said “lasagna or a crusty loaf of bread”.

Do you have a healing food, something that helped you get over a particularly rough spot in your life? What would you pack for yourself or your loved ones in a ‘healing’ bento?

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And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.

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Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

I have a few - when depressed, it's rice and steamed broccoli cooked together in a rice cooker: one summer, after a horrible breakup, I was so depressed that starting the rice cooker was all the effort I could bring myself to put into food. These days the association is so strong, a "rice and broccoli" day is one where I've acknowledged how bad I feel and can start to work on feeling better.

the "forgotten vegetable kinpira" (from Just Hungry!) is a good one when I'm feeling poor - It's cheap but it's also PRETTY which stops me feeling like I can't have nice things, so much.

If I miss my family I have in my freezer some pheasants that my father hunted and sent to me: meat is a treat because I live with vegetarians. In college I called up my mom and asked her for her tuna casserole recipe (very salty and cheesy, with potato chips crumbled on top and baked), one that I hated throughout my whole childhood, and suddenly desperately wanted. This homesickness is expanding these days, I've been dreaming of dishes that remind me of my best friend, instead. (chicken cooked with oranges inside, and brown sugar glazed carrots - unfortunately I don't have her skill at pies.)

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

When I found out I had tumors in one of my breasts that red bean paste buns made me feel a lot better. When I got pregnant it was Chicken Quasedillas that made me feel better with the morning sickness

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

When I miss family, I want the salmon my brother catches and smokes in Alaska or German potato dumplings like my gramdma made. When I'm down I want sesame rice crackers or chocolate. When I feel "poor" and want to treat myself, I'll make a loaf of bread. For my hubby and kids - any thing Mexican, Asian or chocolate. When I'm sick, it's good old homemade chicken noodle soup with cumin and curry in it!

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

Graveyard Stew (some call it Milk Toast, but my mom always called it Graveyard Stew). It's toasted and buttered white bread with hot milk poured over until it's all soaked up, then seasoned with salt and pepper. This food takes me right back to all that was good in my childhood; white bread was and still is something that was a treat and only used for this dish, which makes it super special.

For my daughter, it's my venison stew or cabbage rolls. She demands that I make one or the other when she's not feeling up to par and I'm happy to oblige. =)

In a "healing" bento, some cabbage rolls, rye bread with homemade butter, strawberries over rice pudding, and dark chocolate.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

That sounds like the perfect bento for me as well! I grew up on my baba's (grandma) cabbage rolls and they are one of my favorite foods, and in her house no meal was complete without buttered rye bread. And who doesn't love stawberries and dark chocolate?!

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

I'm hoping you are right about this Maki.
The university students' union where I work has just put out a call for 10,000 non-perishable packed lunches to be dropped off at the student union tomorrow. These will be sent up to Christchurch (300km away) to help feed the "student army" who are helping clean up the mess left in the wake of the big earthquake. The Christchurch students are leaving the major cleanup issues to the experts, but they've mobilised themselves to go around people's houses and start cleaning up the mess left from broken belongings and the silt from liquifaction. I, and many other people, will be spending tonight baking muesli bars and crackers and packing as many lunches as I can. I hope that they provide some healing as well as nourishment to those poor students. I just wish I could think of more non-perishable things to make; a couple of muesli bars, some cheese and crackers (or maybe I'll put the cheese in the crackers), and a tin of tuna doesn't seem terribly substantial for someone doing hard physical labour all day.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

All power to the student army! I think crackers, or bread of the type meant to keep a long time, is pretty good. Some sweet things may be good too...homemade or storebought candy bars or chocolate perhaps? I know they're not 'healthy' but if they're burning up a lot of energy, something along the lines of a Snickers bar may be much appreciated. And what's more healing to the psyche than chocolate? ^_^

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

I ended putting in a mini tin of either baked beans or tuna, some crackers, a bit of cheese, a mini chocolate bar, either a box of raisins or a purchased pottle of jelly and fruit, some bits of what the English call flapjack, a plastic spoon, and taking inspiration from bentos, I stuck a little heart sticker on the parcels of crackers which might hopefully make the recipients smile. My stomach turns at the idea of baked beans even when hot, but I have seen people eat the things straight out of a can so I'm hoping that any vegetarians will appreciate them. They were the only small vegetarian protein in the shop that had a pull top tin, and unfortunately they're weight watchers. The Canterbury student union is adding fresh fruit and drinks as they're handed out to the workers.
I managed to make 27, a friend's youth group did 100. There was a steady stream of people bearing boxes going into the student union building this morning, so hopefully they'll get their 10,000 lunches. Which should be enough for at least week.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

one of my favorite comfort foods, whether i'm sick, missing my family, or just feeling down, is congee. it's lovely since it's so simple & has great variety since you can put just about anything in it. my brother made it for me once when i was home sick & could barely sit up. the only bad thing about it is that it takes forever to cook the rice down to the ideal consistency.

i really like the story you posted - & i quite agree about that ex-husband, but it's nice to see how food has the wonderful power to nourish more than just the body, but oftentimes the soul as well. i hope the author is doing better.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

Thanks for the translation; I wish I could read Japanese, the writer seems really good.

I tend to snack in a bulimic way on anything when I'm anxious, but that is not comfort, just anxiety, indeed.
Food that is really of comfort to me is essentially ice cream (it started as a after-dentist treat when I was a kid), and when I miss my family, parmesan.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

I'm not Japanese, never lived in Japan, and am just interested in Japanese culture and history. But believe it or not, I find umeboshi onigiri incredibly healing and comforting. For that matter, BENTO in and of themselves are comforting to me.

I got into making bento at a difficult and painful period in my life. That little spot of beauty and specialness during busy and difficult days was an amazing comfort to me. I always looked forward to lunchtime because I'd always have something a little special in them -- kumquats, or berries I was very fond of, and often tasty onigiri.

My husband and son aren't really all that into onigiri. For my husband, though, were he to have REAL need of comforting or something special, I'd probably find a way to get him a sushi bento (he adores sushi).

My son's favorite bento is a burger bento that I make using mini bagels as buns. If he were needing comfort, I'd probably make one of those with a little chocolate truffle in it.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

Miso soup. Seriously. After a long, horrible day at uni, a bit of miso soup goes down a treat. Ice cream is another good one. My mum's tuna casserole dish she does. Eggy bread! Onion rings and cheese, something me and my friend used to love ^_^ And good ol stodgy food like pies, mmm mum's steak and kidney pudding!

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

What a horrible person her ex-husband is. Way to go, Yumiko for getting through such a horrible ordeal. I, too, hope she now has a happy, fulfilling life.

My comfort food is stuff I remember from Hawaii: fried rice, spam musubi (although I am now mostly vegetarian, the occasional except must be made), plate lunchs. When I'm sick, juk always hits the spot.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

A boiled egg and soldiers is always healing. Something so brave about thin slices of buttered toast. Otherwise a simple miso soup before a long flight calms the nerves - as does green tea/hojicha and rice. Avocado, cottage cheese and pepper on toast lends a serene air to the weekend. Steamed, freshly made tofu can restore one's innocence.
Thanks for the translation BTW. Fascinating reading.
Regarding the comment above - Good luck with feeding the volunteers. Am thinking of Christchurch and hoping for further rescues.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

In recent years, a number of American cookbooks have been published with the words "Comfort Food" in their titles, and every one of them has at least one recipe for macaroni and cheese. I never imagined so many people besides myself found that dish so, well, comforting. Really, for me, starch is basically comfort, whether it's in the form of mac-and-cheese, mashed potatoes, hot buttered toast, or rice pudding. Er, I guess it's starch-plus-dairy that's my thing, eh?

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

The Fat Lady wrote:

In recent years, a number of American cookbooks have been published with the words "Comfort Food" in their titles, and every one of them has at least one recipe for macaroni and cheese. I never imagined so many people besides myself found that dish so, well, comforting. Really, for me, starch is basically comfort, whether it's in the form of mac-and-cheese, mashed potatoes, hot buttered toast, or rice pudding. Er, I guess it's starch-plus-dairy that's my thing, eh?

I have to second this! Don't forget chicken pot pie, tuna noodle casserole, chicken and dumplings ... Pretty much all of these were enjoyed in childhood, but I have found some new comfort foods in my adult life - umeboshi onigiri being one of them! Also risotto, anything with fried onions, deep-fried calamari, Yorkshire pudding made with duck fat, and this olive oil oven-fried bread I make once in a great while. Heaven!

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

For me, it's always been instant ramen or yakisoba. I know, I know, it's a really unhealthy thing to eat. But whenever I feel bad or in difficulty, a bowl of comforting instant noodles goes down pretty well and makes things look instantly brighter.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

Rice is definitely one of my healing foods. I love it.

One of my favourite ways to make it when I'm feeling really under the weather is congee. It's amazing what it can do for the belly and spirits when you're not feeling great. I'm actually sick at the moment, and I made some for lunch yesterday, using what we had in the fridge to add to it (I added peppered mackeral and ginger to it, and topped it with onion confit per a congee recipe I'd found online). I felt so much better for it.

That and tea. Tea solves everything. =P

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

Mashed potatoes. Anytime I get sick, my poor husband has to go on a major hunt to find mashed potatoes.

Homemade macaroni and cheese comes in a close second, and it would go in a healing bento very well. It's a dish that gets better leftover.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

I can totally understand how people, if they're in a bad place in their life, could turn to food for comfort. Sometimes it's just easier to focus on the taste and the automatic motions of eating. Sometimes you need that strong familiarity. Kano's ex-husband is definitely a jerk, but I'm glad she could find solace. For me, I think a good cup of tea helps most things, and anything where a family can come together to eat helps, too. Tonight, I just came back from my 16 year old cousin's funeral. He committed suicide. At the reception today, there was a lot of food. Although I'm sure many people felt guilty eating and giving themselves sustenance when my cousin would never do it again, the food gave us something to focus on while we processed our emotions, to the point where we could finally talk to each other. Although, in the end, for his close family, especially his mom, I don't think there's anything except family and time that will help her heal.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

Wow! What an absolute GIT her ex-husband was! An what a lovely piece of writing.

I can't think of any dish in particular that I find heals in the way described, but I do find the focus and process of cooking very therapeutic, and when I need to force myself to break a cycle of depression I love to spend time in the kitchen and create something time-intensive and nourishing - risotto, lentil soup, curry etc. It really does feel like therapy, and nourishes the mind and soul, as well as the body when it's done!

I guess if I had to choose, I must say The Guy's vote for crustry bread is a good one, but I would accompany it with some really nice cheeses (and perhaps a glass of vino!)

Reading these comments is really quite inspiring, but also saddening, especially regarding the New Zealand earthquake. My heart goes out to anyone who is affected in any way by it.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

Soup is the most comforting food on earth to me. Growing up we had soup (or rather a clear beef broth with vegetables and varying additions such as noodles, dumplings or pancakes) before every meal. Coming come after school and having this bowl of hot, delicious soup always made me feel good. Now I don't make the soup that often, but whenever I do it takes me right back to my Mom's kitchen table and everything seems a little better already.

bronwyncarlisle, all the best to you, I wish I could help you bake today. I have not been to NZ, but my sister lived in Christchurch for a while and she only had good things to tell from there.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

Nissin seafood cup ramen never fails to comfort me, especially when I'm depressed and drenched in tears. :)

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

If anything edible never fails to lift my mood, it's Yamasa soy sauce. Even if I just dip a fingertip in it and lick it, I can feel its healing powers! When I've finished up a sushi meal, whatever cloud of gloom hath had its claws in me, (its origin almost always elusive), I feel BETTER! Many times I'm not even conscious of it, but my husband often comments. We now use it as a post sushi consumption adjective: "I'm feeling all Yamasa".

In fact, I sense the need to get my Yamasa on right now!

Another one is mashed potatoes with gravy. Diagnosed with Crohn's disease at 25, and severely depressed, I was NPO (nothing by mouth) in the hospital for 21 days before my surgery. During that time, I was sooo hungry that even the dog food commercials on tv were getting to me. I swore I'd polish off a can of it if that was all I was permitted to have. Alas, I was not. But when I was finally able to eat a full meal, I couldn't get enough mashed potatoes and gravy. My dear mom made a batch every day for the remainder of the time I was hospitalized and I was so grateful!

I miss my mom. :o(

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

While I have been know to seek refuge in any and all (embarrassing) foodstuffs during moments of dire crisis, my most recent salve would have to be what translates unpleasantly in English to breadcrumb omelets (I find "tortillas de pan rallado" to do the dish far more justice), and they could not be simpler: nothing more than breadcrumbs (preferably fresh, but panko will do in a pinch) with a pinch of salt, bound with egg, formed into patties, and gently toasted in melted butter over a skillet. What you wind up with is a crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside bit of eggy goodness that's evocative of a steaming, freshly baked cake. You could certainly add other flavors, but often when I'm in need of these little cakes, I can't muster any more effort than is most fundamentally required.

These never last long enough for me to know whether they're good at room temperature, but I imagine they'd make a good addition to a a healing bento.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

Breadcrumb omelette sounds pretty good to me...I'll have to give it a try one day ^_^

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

Comfort foods for me are rice topped with egg either scrambled or fried, wonton noodle soup, or a big dish of broccoli steamed and then buttered.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

As an Australian now living in the USA, the food that cheers me up most is to raid my scant supply of Vegemite and have some on hot buttered toast. It reminds me of home so strongly I save it until the homesickness is overwhelming and then treat myself.

Or a soft boiled egg with soldiers, I can't find any egg cups over here though so I have to prop the egg up in a teacup with a paper towel in. My mum used to give us a boiled egg as a treat and I remember having them every morning the one time I visited my Grandma at 4yo in England. I still have the apostle spoon she gave me to eat them with. Actually pretty much any eggy dish is a comfort food for me.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

chocolate, junk food, french fries and mexican food. Unless I'm sick, than its soup.

On a totally unrelated note, can anyone direct me to a Japanese green/eco blog? I am trying to find one for my dad's wife (who is Okinawan). Something about reducing waste or cutting out plastic or why one should do those things.

Thank you.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

I haven't checked out any of these, but here is a list of popular Japanese "ecolife" blogs.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

Here's a link to an eco magazine I came across recently when they interviewed me about being vegetarian in Japan: www.ecotwaza.com. The website is mainly eco-friendly stuff for sale, but there is a quarterly bi-lingual magazine which comes out and can be ordered from the site if it proves difficult to track down in shops. The Winter 2010 issues focused on green ways to clean your house, and the spirit of Japanese "eco".

Hope that helps!

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

For me a go-to comfort food has always been a nice hot bowl of rice and chicken broth (home made of course!) topped with some fresh green onions.
Growing up we didn't always have the money to eat well, but we always bought rice in bulk and stocked up on whole chickens when they were on sale, so we ate it quite a lot. Most people would think that I'd hate it after eating it so much in my childhood, but nothing beats it. I even burn my mouth every single time I eat it because I just can't wait for it to cool off a little bit! ^_^;

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

First, to Makiko - I hope you are feeling better and better since your illness took place. I finally got around to ordering your book and am awaiting excitedly for it's delivery.

Now on to onigiri. I have a problem with salt and have to watch my intake - so sadly the umeboshi plum is out of the question. However, I have planted other surprises in the middle. My first onigiri was in the 1970's when I was in Japan with a group heading to the foot of Mt. Fuji. The older Japanese women pulled out tied fukusa cloths of all different patterns when we were on a bus. They unwrapped the clothes and there were bags filled with onigiri shaped as balls. The plums were there in the middle and it was first taste. Something about the older woman smiling and pushing them into our hands made me always associate "rice balls" with comforting and mothering.

I had no idea at the time that the pretty pink plum was salty and pickled! I thought it would be sweet. What a shock for me at the time. Anyway, I always remember that moment on the bus when I eat onigiri. It's amazing what effects our actions have, right? They were just being generous and motherly, yet it has lasted me a lifetime as an imprint.

I am going to try to make the sweet rice balls - Ohagi. I never tried it before. I'll check this site to see if you have any recipes. If not, I can share what I find.....

Have a wonderful weekend.
dsl

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

Oh I'm feeling fine now. Thank you for asking ^_^ And thanks for ordering my book!

Yep I have an ohagi/botamochi recipe over on Just Hungry!

English ?

Is there any change that the books are in english at all.
When I read your translation it made me want to buy every single one of her books.
I am vegetarian myself and I found myself loosing interest in bento because there was
an abundance of little meaty portions and fishy ingredients, but this is what I need...
a Bento cookbook. I dont read much, but I feel I could read her entire book from start to
finish in one sitting because of her in depth sad story.
Please, please, please. Is there any english publications of her books ?

Re: English ?

There are no English translations of her books. Only a tiny fraction of Japanese cookbooks get translated - and I think overall for a good reason. Japanese cookbooks use ingredients that are commonly available in Japan. While the availability of Japanese ingredients in other countries is improving, even I find that I can only use a few recipes in Japanese cookbooks as-is...and that's for recipes in general purpose cookbooks. And Ms. Kano's books are no exception I'm afraid. Most of her recipes (and so far, she only has one bento book - and half of it is actually hot lunches, since the book is called "bentos and lunches") rely on very Japanese ingredients like freeze dried or deep fried tofu, lotus root, burdock root, and so on, which can be hard to get a hold of for a lot of people unless you live near a fairly large Japanese grocery store.

That being said, there are tons of bento-friendly vegetarian and vegan recipes on this site to start with. (There's some overlap there of course since vegan is a subset of vegetarian.) Some use Japanese ingredients, but many others use not-so-Japanese ingredients. I hope you give a few of them a try! ^_^

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

I love ochazuke!

Miso soup is the best remedy for a cold that I know of.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

There are a few things that go with cheering myself up. One of the best ones is to warm up a traditional china tea pot with hot water, bring water to a boil, and brew the tea from proper tea leaves in the pot under a tea cosy... My grandmother, who is now hospitalised with a massive stroke since September 2010 used to always say "there's nothing that a little tea and sympathy won't fix..." (and she usually added fantastic biscuits or pastries from her secret stash to the table when there was a need).

My relationship to tea is easily described: If I end up within 200 yards of a Teavana Store (also one of the places I sort of hope I could work at to fund my studies...), I end up being pulled in by the sheer gravity of the scent of freshly brewed tea. I have umpteenteen gazillion blends of tea in the cupboards for those moments when I need them, and my fiancé keeps rolling his eyes at me for it. :)

As comes to food, there are all sorts of things I like. A lot of these have a bit of a Russian flair, as my home country's a former Russian grand duchy wedged between Russia and Europe. We sort of get the best of both food cultures here...

Cabbage rolls filled with minced beef and rice, served with lingonberries or lingonberry jam are one thing I love, and that could be easy enough to place in a bento box.

One thing I absolutely love to make when I want to "reset" my brain is to meticulously make borsht soup. The soup is hearty, warm and is easy to make, although I tend to take my time to really make sure all of the flavours infuse properly. Chopping up vegetables is my way of calming my nerves and brain, as you need to focus on not cutting your fingers.

The recipe for borsht soup is in my blog for anyone to see, and the soup really is worth giving a try. It's a vibrant red when finished, and often served with some sour cream that makes it a bright pink, so finding that in a soup bento really can cheer you up.

And another thing I'm going to write the recipe to at some point, is a carrot and rice casserole. That's an originally a traditional sweet Christmas dinner staple in Finland, but I've started adding orange zest and curry and such to it to create a warm, sunny and savoury dish.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

I had a pretty rough teen-hood... my father became a drug addict and left my family. I had a lot of anger in me and for the longest time couldn't do anything that reminded me of him.

But now being older and having come to terms with the situation (I haven't spoken to him since I was 16 -don't want to get mixed up in his world- but I've forgiven him in my heart).

Now any time I'm feeling blue and just really need a feel-good pick me up meal I make cheesy spaghetti like he used to make for me when I was a kid.

Just melt down some American cheese slices with a little bit of milk and pour over plain spaghetti (I prefer angel hair) noodles. It's dreadfully unhealthy but it always makes me feel better.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

I find it funny that I've been finding comfort in things so very steriotypically english the further and longer I've been living away from there. Only a few years ago I hated tea (too bitter, bleh!) and so on. Now whenever homesickness takes me I get a craving for fish and chips, jammy dodgers, marmite, prawn cocktail flavoured crisps, etcetc.
A good hot cup of earl grey tea is soothing in many situations~

Thumbs up to Samantha M, soft boiled eggs are awesome with toast soldiers! :D Although it's wierd you can't find egg cups, they sell them in canada.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

I take the opportunity of this post to write about something that has been troubling me lately. As for most of you people I guess, freezing has been a great help in taking healthier eating habits, making my own food without going crazy with organization & so on, and I'v always felt grateful when Maki added notes to her recipes on how to freeze things nicely. And that's even more useful as I live alone and cook for myself only.

Now, the problem is that since I started doing yoga « seriously » some time ago, people have been telling me that freezing is not a good thing at all, as, in their view, it destroys energy in food.
Ok, many of you may think this is just nonsense, but that's not my opinion and I do believe there is some truth in there. Still, I'm not ready to give up everything in life in order to have enough time to cook fresh food every single day! So, I have a little dilemma here.
The connection with this post is that if food does have healing powers, that's also thanks to its energy content (in a more subtle way than simply nutritious value). And Ms. Kano does suggest that we use organically farmed rice, for example.

I wonder if Maki or any of the readers of this blog have thought about such things? I'd be interested to read some opinions, if this were the case...

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

I have a very fatening craving when I'm down! Sour cream toped with salsa toped with grated cheese eaten with vary salty tostitos.......I know it's gross but geezus it's so delicious.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

For me it's dumplings/potstickers. Specifically Jiǎozi, but gyoza work in a pinch. Chinese dumplings (when made with homemade dough) are just more hearty and chewy. I grew up eating dumplings made by a friend of the family, until they closed their tiny restaurant 4 years ago. Now if I need my fix I have to make them myself :-/ It's a long process, but totally worth it.

Also, matzo ball soup, with big fluffy matzo balls made with schmalz (chicken fat). I also second miso soup as being really healing and comforting.

My comfort food basic comfort food equation: Hot, savory, salty, liquid + protein + squishy starch = ^_^ ahh

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

Oops, I'm late to the thread! Well, my ultimate comfort food is a fish taco. This probably comes from living in Southern California right next to Mexico, but a fish taco (or two) just means "home" to me. When I moved to Indiana for college and there were no fish tacos readily available for purchase, I felt so unsettled. I asked around about where to find them and people just looked at me like I was crazy, so I had to start making my own. It was worth the effort, though, because nothing cheers me up like a warm corn tortilla filled with cabbage, salsa, white sauce and beer-batter-fried fish.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

There are times I've just stopped up entirely, not sleeping, not eating, not anything. A friend of mine that lived in the same dorm noticed one day I could not resist pizza. This was funny, 'cause I hadn't noticed this. He then stopped by whenever I just vanished from everything, a pizza in hand. Even though pizza isn't very good for you, it's a million times better than not eating at all.

Now on grumpily/bad days, I practically beg my boyfriend for pizza or japanese curry, or anything that is flavourful and mooshy, and prefferably can be eaten out of a bowl. (Yes, I've eaten pizza out of a bowl. Moving makes creative)

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

If I feel depressed, I would cook fried rice with pickled black olive, lots of ginger with only salt to taste. The heat of the ginger warm my stomach, then I feel calm and comfortable.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

I injured myself recently and being unable to stand for very long, had to turn to foods that could be prepared very fast in the kitchen. Enter the humble egg. I think eggs are comfort food for many people because they are so easily available, cheap and nutritious. Nothing beats a hard-boiled egg topped with a little mayo! Not having a working leg sucked but at least I had something tasty to eat :)

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

I don't have a particular comfort food, so to speak. I had first go through the phase of not eating (at one point, it was a whole week), then I had feel hungry (the recovery phase) and had be tearing into whatever I was eating.

So, essentially, I guess, my tears were my comfort food. Coming a close second to that would be... hainanese chicken rice and tamago sushi and congee (yes 3 for options LOL!). humble food where I come from, within pocket money during the challenges of primary - high school but definitely part of growing up.

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

my comfort food would be rolled fried egg with rice and lots of salt... or cereal with a bit of berry yogurt and milk together....and maybe if my mom is around i'll beg her to make me some pho...

food just makes wonders doesn't it?

Re: The healing power of an umeboshi onigiri

Healing foods hmmmm...since I'm American German and Finnish on the other side with a Great Grandfather who was a Swedish Orphan brought up by Finns I would have to say I have a craving for excellent rye bread with delicious smoked salmon or smoked whitefish or trout with homemade tartar sauce and German Spatezel served with simple butter and garden chopped parsley, weiner snitzel (typo error I know) and Swedish Pancakes (like crepes) with lingonberries.....and living in Seattle the gateway to the Orient we have many Thai, Chinese, Japanese restaurants and stores so although I'm a mere beginner with Japanese foods I'm a fanatic with miso soup, can't get enough of seaweed salad, rice candy with edible paper, like sushi but admit it must be cooked fish....can't handle raw variety yet...love udon noodles and recently had a delicious curry beef with udon noodles type soup at a local Japanese restaurant so good I googled recipes for it...when in a Japanese store....if I don't know what type of vegetable it is I'll boldly ask a middle age or grandma lady who looks approachable how she cooks the thing! Corie in Seattle

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