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Amparo Bertram

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07:21 pm: The taste of fall
If someone were to ask me what I considered to be the representative flavors of fall, I would answer "Pumpkin pie and apple cider."

Not so in Japan, of course. Fall here is all about mushrooms. In particular, a kind of mushroom called matsutake. It sells for up to $25 a pack. In all the time I've spent here, I haven't ever tried it, so I decided I should remedy that. I picked up a small pack (two mushrooms) on sale (for about $6.20...and that was three dollars off). I made mushroom/tofu soup with one of the pair, intentionally using a light broth so I could taste the mushroom.

I'm not really sure what all the fuss is about. It barely has any flavor, just a hint of sweetness after you chew it. The real value is supposedly its aroma, but I couldn't smell anything. (I don't have the greatest sense of smell to begin with, though.) I'll cook the second one a different way and see if I notice it more.

Of course, with all this experimentation, I had the urge to haul out a couple cookbooks to flip through. This always makes me want to try cooking new things. In particular, there's this recipe for sweet potato stew I want to try... There was also a recipe on the 伊藤家の食卓 show for deep fried nori/tofu/cheese dumplings that's supposed to taste like fried oysters...though they said that even disregarding the oyster aspect, it's good in and of itself.

To finish up this entry about food, I leave you with the picture on the left. I found this in a vending machine at a supermarket where I went shopping yesterday. The title on the can reads "Mystery Zone."

I have no clue what kind of drink it is. It was in a Kirin brand machine, so I checked the Kirin home page, but I couldn't find this product listed. I probably should have bought one to see what it was, but I'm picky about what I drink. I guess it will remain a mystery for the time being...

Update: For anyone following Japanese politics...exit polls are predicting that Koizumi's Liberal Democratic Party has taken the majority of the votes by a huge margin.

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