The purpose of a blog roll is to let your followers know which blogs you think are awesome, but reviewing blogs is also a great way to help blogs you love find fans. I’ve never participated in blog awards before, but last week, Janelle of The JWS Do Japan reviewed I’ll Make It Myself! and awarded this blog a Liebster Award for “promising bloggers with less than 200 followers.” Like Janelle, instead of following the rules (nominate 11 other bloggers, share 11 things about yourself, answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you, and ask 11 questions for each of your 11 nominees), I’m going to nominate one blog because it makes it more special (and less chain-lettery). Thank you! It really made my day that someone likes my food blog so much. I even made this face: :3 !
First, eleven things about me:
1. I didn’t like potatoes or sweet potatoes until I studied abroad and ate them to be polite at my host family’s house. I have no idea why I didn’t like them before, but I’m grateful that manners led me to discover more food!
2. I love terrible things, especially bad sci-fi given the MST3K/Rifftrax treatment. This extends to terrible cooking shows. My guilty pleasure is Semi-Homemade.
3. My prize possession in the kitchen is a chawan with a cat on it from the Kakishigama kiln in Notojima.
4. I enjoy going to tea ceremony, especially with the casual group I sometimes attend, but I’m terrible at it. Also, don’t ask me to make matcha!
5. I consider my new-found enjoyment of natto conquering one of the last bastions of “food foreigners dislike.” Others included umeboshi (pickled plums), azuki beans, and matcha.
6. I love Brussels sprouts, but they have to be pan-cooked, not boiled.
7. My friend who inspired me to create this blog also recommended Yoshinaga Fumi’s manga Kinô, Nani Tabeta? because I reminded her of the main character–eerily accurate.
8. I tend to overthink meals–I’m always thinking about how to combine the ingredients in my fridge.
9. When I go on vacation, I prefer activity and walking to sitting on the beach. Hiking, rafting, mountain-climbing, even just walking everywhere. Gardens are also a must.
10. My husband and I have been collecting Blanton’s corks (and the bourbon itself, of course.) We are one Japan-only bottle of straight-from-the-barrel from having them all!
11. My exercise of choice is swimming.
Next, Janelle had the following questions for me:
1. What is your absolute favourite food of all time?
Strawberries. I have been obsessed since I was a small child, which is sad because strawberries for your birthday when your birthday is in December? Not in the Midwest! I tend to just eat them straight or on top of yogurt or oatmeal because why mess with the perfect food? That said, I have a soft spot for chunky strawberry ice cream.
2. If you could make one ingredient readily available in Japan, that is currently rare to non-existent, what would it be?
Cilantro! I love cilantro terribly, but there’s only one place to buy it (that I know of) in Kanazawa. I’m growing my own, but it’s taking its sweet time. Cilantro is amazing in so many different kinds of cuisine–veggie burgers, Thai, TexMex, salsa, curry. But at least I can find it sometimes!
3. What is your guilty Japanese pop culture pleasure? For example, do you have a One Piece model ship? A lolita dress in your closet? An AKB48 swimsuit calendar? Etc…
My living room is decorated with a bunch of Takarazuka Revue photos–lots of Kiriyan and Yuuhi, who both retired this year. I studied Takarazuka, Japan’s all-women theatre, in uni and grad school, and I write about it on my culture blog, so I’m not sure if this really qualifies as a “guilty” pleasure in terms feeling guilty for liking it–which I don’t!–but it’s definitely one in terms of things I avoid discussing with people who might not get it.
4. What is one place (in Japan or elsewhere) you have never been to but always wanted to go to?
I would love to go to Hokkaido, especially in the spring or summer.
5. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I don’t know if this counts, but the power to speak and understand any language would be pretty amazing. Maybe I just need psychic paper or the TARDIS for that.
6. What is the first Japanese word or phrase you learned?
Probably hotogisu – nightingale. I have a well loved copy of One Robe, One Bowl from high school.
7. What is the number one cooking appliance or utensil you have bought in Japan, that you are the most grateful for?
My food processor. I resisted for 2.5 years, but received one from friends leaving Japan. It saves me tons of time grating and chopping and works way better than my blender for making hummus, curries, and pastes.
8. Cake or pie?
I like both equally! I bake more cakes than pies, though, because it’s harder to get enough fresh fruit cheaply for pie.
9. What is the number one cooking accomplishment you are most proud of?
I don’t make it often, but the first time I made paneer I was SO excited. I should really make it more often. It was this glorious moment of “I MADE CHEESE! WITH SCIENCE!”
10. If I came over for dinner tonight, what would you make me?
Based on what I have in the fridge, I’d make my kabocha-apple turnovers, a salad, and tofu fudge. With 12 hours’s notice, I serve you Kaga’s finest (for my kitchen, anyhow): local cod meuniere, aka-kabocha with sesame sauce, aka-zuiki pickles, and a local blueberry tart.
11. What were you doing on 11/11/11, aka. Veterans/Remembrance Day, aka. Pocky Day, aka. Light Saber Day?
I was enroute to Osaka to see a Takarazuka show–Ocean’s 11–with a group of my friends and watched the original film at our hostel. The movie was entertaining, though it failed the Bechdel test hardcore. Takarazuka changed the story a lot–eco hotels? Matador dancing? Carlotta?–but it was a lot of fun.
For my Liebster, I’d like to nominate Cheruko at Hokuriku Expat Kitchen. Our blogs overlap in that we are both Ishikawa-based flexitarians doing cultural work by day, but despite our shared interests, we come from very different culinary backgrounds and cover the same foods in divergent ways. I’m always inspired by how creative and interesting her recipes and thoughts on food culture are, so it would be a shame not to share her blog with you all!
My eleven questions, all cooking themed, should you choose to accept them:
1. What food do you like now that you never imagined you would as a child?
2. What’s the strangest food you’ve tried in Japan?
3. Favorite unusual flavor of ice cream?
4. What do you consider your greatest cooking success so far?
5. Your biggest cooking failure?
6. Most memorable description of food in a book? (Doesn’t have to be word for word)
7. Cake or cookies?
8. If I asked you to make me a bento for a picnic tomorrow, what sort of bento would you make? (foods, style, shapes, etc.)
9. What’s your favorite Kaga yasai?
10. What’s your guilty-pleasure food?
11. What’s your favorite cooking-themed TV show, manga, or book? (Other than cookbooks–novels, cooking shows, Food Network, youtube series)