Stone Soup in a Pouch


Life in Japan, as everywhere, is becoming faster and faster. One ramification is appearance of fast food and easy-to-prepare food. Boil-in-a-bag meals have become widely available: curry, stew, oden, etc.

My predecessor at the junior high school left a bin of foodstuffs behind. Naturally, I have eaten most of this in the past year and a half since he moved on, but one item just got opened this week. It is instant oyakodon (親子丼) mix. Oya means parent; ko means child; and don refers to a meal served over a bowl of rice. This is chicken (鶏肉) – being the parent – and egg (卵) – being the child – with some veggies on top of rice.

A year and a half ago I tried to read the instructions and my Japanese was lacking; however, I realized it needed other ingredients added. This week I gave it another go. Being able to read virtually all of the instructions it went fairly smoothly, yet I noticed that “everything” has to be added. Chicken, egg, onion, (a kind of) green onion, water, and rice all need to be provided by the maker. Apparently the package is just spices.

I couldn’t help but think of the story “Stone Soup” as I was making dinner. I think I need to get a recipe for the spices from a friend and forego the packets. The one benefit the packages provided was a good understanding of how to prepare things well. It was a quick meal to fix.


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