A Good Life


I found a sweet potato in our garden!


My mother is seventy four years old. The beginning of this probably sounds similar to the last post I wrote about my father, but I start this way because the two of them aren’t just the same age; they went to the same elementary school together and were even in the same class. Since their experiences growing up were so similar - same town, same school, same year, same classmates - many of my memories growing up were filled with weekends where my parents would invite all their shared friends over for dinner parties. Before these dinners, I would find myself in the kitchen helping my mother, who was swamped by the meal preparation. But it wasn’t just the weekends. On weekdays, my mother was also busy in the evenings because our factory workers would often end their day by stopping by our home for drinks and snacks; it was an important ritual for our family and our small business’ sense of community. And on our days off, she would prepare bento-boxes and picnics that our family could bring on our small adventures. We often avoided tourist spots and weekend getaways and instead chose places embedded in nature: hidden river-banks, digging for clams by the sea side, foraging in the nearby mountains, hiking.


Upon arriving home from these expeditions, it was my father’s job to take some of what we had hunted for that day - fish we had caught, clams we had collected, bamboo we had picked - to our neighbors and friends. Meanwhile, my mother and I would clean the dishes and pack away leftovers in the kitchen, always chatting to each other about how “we’d managed to have such a fruitful, exciting day without spending money on theme park tickets or fancy hotel stays.” I think my mother knew how much I enjoyed those “other” very rare days where she would take me out to the theme park, or buy me fancy clothes, but she also worked hard to teach me that joy doesn’t come from spending money, or even doing particular things, but from spending time with family and finding fulfillment in whatever you choose to do: that every experience is really what you make of it. My mother always lived this way. No matter how much work piled up and how busy she became, she always found excitement and joy and love in what she needed to do; she always told me, “don’t tell yourself to do it because you need to, but because you want to, no matter what it is.” Even my young and still immature self could understand and admire her ethic.

Our family camping trip


I don’t think my mother, even now in her old age, thinks seriously about her philosophy; she never really spoke about it or analyzed it, she just did it. But I saw it, and I still do, and I know what it feels like to live it. It’s a way of living and working that I always strive for, and even now, in America, trying to do for my children what she did for me, I often wish I could go back and pay the debt of what she taught me back to her not through words but through my actions.


Recently, I have been thinking a lot about how the way we grow up impacts the way we raise kids. And having my two kids home during this pandemic, I’ve also been curious about what they’ve taken up from me, what they think about when they want to build their own families. My only job now is to live by example, to show them that even in such a difficult time, I choose a good life and a fulfilled life.


Have you all ever tried kumquat marmalade? I know some people don’t like kumquats because they’re a bit bitter. I collected hundreds of these little fruits and cut them up into thin slices and simmered them in sugar for many hours. The flavor is very mild and delicate, with a really nuanced sweetness; for me, it is like eating little orange crystals. I hope you will try it, either on my bread or with cheese on a cracker (my favorite). I think you will fall in love with it like I have.

My dessert this month will also be citrus-focused. I will be making a moist citrus cake of almond meal and cornmeal, infused with ricotta and topped with candied blood orange. I hope you try it! And per usual, I’ll be making english muffins and bagels; please shoot me an email if you would like to order these.



私の母は74歳。父とは小学校の同級生でした。そういうこともあって、私が小さい頃から両親の小学校、中学校時代からの友人がが週末になると家にいつも集まり食事会をしていた記憶があります。もちろん私はいつも準備に追われる母を台所で手伝いました。平日は鉄工所の社員を交えて飲み会がありその料理作りもいつも一緒でした。観光地を嫌い週末になるとお弁当を朝早くから私と一緒に作り、ハイキング、山菜取りや川遊び、アサリ採りに出かけたり、いつも自然が目的の遊びで私は育ちました。収穫した野菜や魚類を近所に配って歩くのは父の仕事で、その間母と台所で片付けをしながら「今日もただでこんなにいろいろなものが収穫できて楽しませてもらったねえ。遊園地でお金使うよりずっといい思いしたねえ」などとその日がどれだけ有意義だったかを繰り返し言いながら満足していた母。きっと当時子供だった私が遊園地に憧れ、綺麗な洋服をきてお出かけすることがどれだけ特別だったかを知っていながらも、そのことよりももっと人生で大切にしなくてはならないことがある、家族で過ごす時間の大切さを繰り返し繰り返し示そうとしていたのは母だった気がします。そしてどんなに忙しくてやることが山ほどあっても、それをいかにも楽しみながら、やりこなす母の姿は子供の私の目から見ても素敵でした。やらなくてはならないから、ではなくて、やりたいから、といつも気持ちが前向きなのです。もちろん、今の母も全く代わっていません。ただそんな母に早く会いにいって助けてあげたい、と今、自分がアメリカの家族のために頑張りながらよく思うことがあります。


育った環境がどれだけ今の生活習慣や価値観に影響するか、最近つくづく考えることがあります。それだけに、このパンデミックで家族4人暮らしながら、子供の桜と春がどう家族について考えているかもすごく気になります。今できることは自分が精一杯生きている姿を子供たちに見せること、それに限る、と思っています。


金柑のマーマレードを食べたことはありますか?苦いから苦手、と思われた方もいるのでは? 今月はこの金柑マーマレードを販売します。何百という小さな金柑を包丁で薄くスライスしてお砂糖と煮ました。とてもマイルドでまるで宝石を食べているような幸せな気分になるマーマレードです。私の作ったパンと一緒に、またはチーズと一緒にクラッカーに乗せて、是非楽しんでください。大好きになること間違いなしです。

今月はシトラスのに集中します。自家製粉したとうもろことアーモンドにリコッタチーズを混ぜこみブラッドオレンジを乗せて焼き上げた、しっとりしたシトラスケーキです。是非トライしてください。ベーグルやイングリッシュマフィンも引き続き販売します。興味のある方はメールしてください。

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