This is honestly my favorite time of the year. I don’t necessarily like the cold weather (in fact I’m a little bit relieved that we had nothing near a white Christmas here in the Midwest), but basically from Thanksgiving to a week or so after New Year’s Day, I’m cooking and eating and relaxing and celebrating with people I love. So much good food and so much good company. But now that Christmas is over, it’s time for my brain to switch gears from my American heritage to Japanese traditions. In my mind New Years is a Japanese holiday. We prepare for days, and on the day of we sit around and spend time with family and loved ones. The celebration lasts for days. And there’s just something so refreshing and nourishing about how the Japanese feast.
Several years ago, long before I became this paranoid health-foodie of a mom, my husband worked retail in a pretty remote little town and he always came home with awesomely hilarious lunchbreak conversation stories. My two favorites were “Have you ever noticed that water ain’t got no flavor?” and “Did you know that eating a bowl of rice is like eating a bowl of sugar?”
We always had a good chuckle, but in the back of my mind that second one haunted me. I mean guys, I am Japanese. (Well, half, but let’s not get too technical here) I LOOOOOOOVE me some rice. And Japan has one of the top 10 highest life expectancies in the world, and one of the lowest obesity percentages in the developed world, and we love rice. So things didn’t add up in my head. I mean, we’re all told that whole grain is better than refined, but is it really ever explained? We throw around buzz words like “healthy” and “high fiber” and “slow carb” and we’re generally pretty satisfied. And frankly, I was happy eating my bowl of white-rice-sugar 3 times a day and didn’t want to find out the reasons behind why I shouldn’t be eating what I wanted to keep eating.
But I’m a mommy, and these little babies entrusted in my care deserve the best. So, I swallowed my cultural pride and did a little digging. And hoooooly moly, people are passionate about this subject. There are heated articles on both sides.