Posted by: yoko | November 18, 2003

Words From Childhood 10- The Food Edition

Nick once mentioned to me that some of the only Japanese words he knows are of names of food items. As I was growing up, there were a lot of food words I had learned, so this post is dedicated to Nick, and to the love of Japanese food. Here are 3 O words.

O-nigiri. This was a staple food for picnics for me, along with fried chicken. It’s a rice ball wrapped with seaweed. Typically, a pickled plum (umeboshi) will be hidden inside the ball. As a kid, I hated those sour things, so my mom would make some with the plum and some without. My mom ripped a v-shape in the seaweed on those that did not have the plum, so that I wouldn’t be unpleasantly surprised when I bit into the rice ball. Want the recipe? Get it here, courtesy of Ace.

Ochazuke. One of the best bribes to get me to eat the ubiquitous bowl of rice at the dinner table. The kind I knew was an instant packet to which you would add to a bowl of rice, and then pour hot water over. The packet consisted of dried seaweed, green tea flavoring, and little pellet-sized rice crackers. There were other flavors, such as wasabi and salmon. My sister and I would sometimes call it oatmeal, and gobble it up.

Oden. A hot pot of fish cakes and other things, usually eaten in the winter. Resembled eating soggy sponges, or at least, that was my recollection as a kid. I haven’t eaten it in a while– perhaps I should try it again and see if I like it any better.


  1. Hi Yoko,

    You will probably see me as the one who reached your site through a “ochazuke recipe” Google Search :)

    As you can see here,

    I didn’t quite succeed in making Ochazuke and I haven’t had it for months now!
    I don’t think we have the finished mixes here in Copenhagen, so I’m hoping that you have a good recipe you would like to share :)

  2. I grew up on ochazuke! I still eat it from time to time when I need some comfort food (speaking of comfort food, did you have okayu also? The rice porridge? We always had that if we got sick!).


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