Hello, this is Mitsue.
2018 has started!! And we are already back from new year holidays. How was your holidays? I spent my holidays cleaning my house, washing clothes, and cooking and cooking... Every year, I prepare "Osechi Ryori" for New year's day to eat with family. It is a special time to eat traditional food all together.
"Osechi Ryori" is an assemble of colorful dishes packed together in special boxes called "Jubako". Since New Year holiday is a time for rest in Japan (according to tradition, nothing should be cooked on New Year’s Day), eating prepared Osechi Ryori is typical Japanese traditional custom. So I have to finish cooking during the New Year's eve. Many dishes containing a lot of sugar, soy source or vinegar are cooked in each house on this day.
Each foods of Osechi ryori are the most important meal of the year, as a symbol or wish for the coming year. The foods are eaten by using chopsticks that are rounded on both ends; one side for humans to use, one side for the gods. Let me introduce you the meanings behind some of the traditional osechi ryori.
*Kuromame (black soy beans)
In Japanese, “mame” also sounds like the word for “hard work and good health.” Eating this food during New Year's day is a symbol of good health for the coming year.
*Tai(sea bream) & Unagi(eel)
Eating grilled sea bream is a wish for happiness and eating grilled eel is a prayer for the success of rapid promotion.
Because of their long antennae and curved body, shrimp are a symbol of longevity. Shrimp is also a symbol of renewing life because they molt their skin.
Herring roe contains many tiny eggs in a tight. So it is eaten as a wish for an abundant harvest and fertility.
Lotus root, with its many holes, is a symbol of an unobstructed view of the future.
*Gobo (burdock root)
Because the roots of the burdock plant grow deep into the ground and also represent a crane (the symbol of a fruitful year), burdock is eaten as a wish for good health and an abundant harvest.
Sprout arrow head is a symbol of success, and it is often cut into hexagon and octagon like 'kikko' (tortoise shell) having a meaning of longevity.
*Kobu Maki (fish wrapped in seaweed)
The word, “kobu,” sounds like "yorokobu" meaning, “to be happy.” And rolled shape symbolizes a wish for scholarship and culture.
*Kamaboko (boiled fish‐paste)
The shape of Kamaboko is said to resemble the first sunrise of the New Year. In addition, the pink/red and white color of kamaboko is a good symbol because the color red is believed to be a talisman against evil and white signifies purity.
How do you like it? Would you like to eat some?
We also eat Ozoni(soup containing rice cakes and vegetables) on New Year's day. Soup is cooked in various ways according to regional custom. So the soup differ depending on which region the mother is from. My mother is from Ishikawa prefecture, and she usually cooked with white Miso.
We wish your new year will be happy, peaceful and healthy. Hope you enjoy Kimono life with ICHIROYA. Thank you!
We have some pieces with Osechi food design.
fish & shrimp