Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hanami Picnic

Revelers at the park
On the street the other day, a gust of wind blew the flowers around us like we were in a snow globe. The season is over, but we got in a solid weekend of hanami (flower viewing) picnic fun. We went to a very small park--just a few families with kids--but other places get a little crazy, what with the huge crowds and the pop-top sake.
This is the high-end version--single serving sake goes for a buck or two at convenience stores and train station kiosks. I can't decide if that's more or less classy than a pint in a paper bag.
Should booze be this cute? And that panda is wasted.
The company picnics are a whole thing, and newly hired freshmen are often sent out into parks with giant tarps to stake out space for after work parties. Some people complain about it, but I don't get it. Send me out of the office to go hang out under the trees! It beats Starbuck's runs and jury duty (both of which I totally made work for me). I didn't have time to whip up a homemade picnic spread (cue grandparents silently judging from beyond grave), so the Professor picked up some supermarket goodies.
Fried oysters from RF1, so plump and crispy. Try them with ponzu sauce!

Son of Z scored this ridiculously tiny bento lunch.
I love fried chicken from the supermarket. Only God will judge me.
Not a picnic without edamame!

 Daigaku-imo: when you are ready to get serious about sweet potatoes.
The literal translation of daigaku-imo is "college potato," which makes no sense until you take a bite and flash back to the heady days of packing on the "freshman fifteen." These are beyond candied yams. They are actually candied, as in coated in a crunchy layer of caramelized sugar that is thick enough to resemble molten glass. I have seen them made once, and the recipe involves peeled sweet potatoes (purple outside, chestnutty yellow inside), butter, sugar, a pact with Satan, and sometimes black sesame seeds. When they are hot, they are life-changing, but even cold they blow minds.

1 comment:

  1. I love yams and I love your blog! Bulgaria is working on a rival "candied cucumber" product, but personally I see this a culinary cul-de-sac.

    So do you take requests? Nothing makes me as nostalgic as hearing the "Yaki Imo" song that the yaki imo cartmen play while trolling the streets. Any chance you could catch a recording and post an audio clip??