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September 07, 2009


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Brandon martin

I think twinkies should be included in the time for lunch menu!

joanne godley

Wow--the cultural issues you raise in this article almost trump the food (in terms of interesting topics)!
How dare the school Vice Principal try to go 'toe-to-toe' with you on the issue of 'clean' food!
I guess he didn't know with whom he was dealing . . .!

preeva tramiel

I suppose you could say your children are allergic to preservatives, artificial flavors, refined sugar,and dough conditioners--you don't have to say it is because they know better, just that they are allergic.

Rodney Fong

There are so many thoughts rambling through my frazzled brain right now that I don't know where to begin. The topics you relate in your latest "thoughts" are tied together with a lot of what I have posted previously. Hawaii is like a midway point between Asia and the U.S. Here people have their foundation in culture in Asia, but add a bit of America, and then make everything almost uniquely what we term "local", because it's not really Hawaiian, which is another cultural experience altogether. Your children would fit right in here as far as their looks go. They look a lot like my brother's kids, as he married a girl from Oregon. They are "hapa", that is, half one race, half another. It seems like everyone is hapa something or other. Even my son, who is half local Chinese and half local Japanese, (as opposed to your kids, who would be half "Japan Japanese"), has acquired different cultural things from each of us, as your children have from the two of you.

The school lunch topic is a separate thing, as well. School lunch, varies, but on the whole, my son enjoys it, while my wife, who teaches at the same school, abhors it. A lot has to do with budgetary constraints, with some attention to dietary ones. The staff there ironically are good cooks, some working for the nearby hotels in Waikiki, and often exhibit their culinary talents with some donated foods they have prepared for the staff and students. But there have always been differences wherever you go. My school lunch experience differs from my wife's, and even going back to our Stanford days, it was night and day for the quality of the food service cuisine compared to the Eating Clubs. I remember when Matt and Erik invited me to be a guest at Los Arcos for the first time that I decided that I couldn't go back to eating at the University Food Service.

So much more to talk about, but that is enough for now. A very thought provoking piece.

Patrick E. Martin

Man, I wish I had real lunch when I went to high school; I mostly ate pizza bagels made with canned marinara, processed, pre-shredded "cheddar" and some store brand bagel. Microwaved.

Nancy Singleton Hachisu

So, not to keep you all in suspense...Monday afternoon the Vice-Principal called Tadaaki to let him know they would let the boys bring bentos. Victory! Thanks for the vote of confidence Joanne, I was ready for a fight. As luck would have it, I had one of the newspapers visiting that day for a feature on our school lunch and garden program at SSU!. I was ready to drag the reporter over to the school if they called about the bentos.

And to Preeva, thanks for your advice, I ended up evoking the Basic Law on Shokuiku (see below). Essentially, I again explained how important growing and eating our own food was. Furthermore, our kids haven't ever eaten convenience store food, fast food or even "family restaurant" food. Since our life and eating habits follow the spirit of the Basic Law on Shokuiku, I felt it important that my children not take backwards steps into the world of prepared foods. And I also pointed out that our children help in the growing of the food, so they are deeply aware of the work involved in producing it and the origin of our food. But to give credit where credit is due, Tadaaki said he crafted his "translation" of my letter in such a way that they could never say no. I'm sure he's more diplomatic than I.

[The Basic Law on Shokuiku (the 63rd law in the year 2005) was enacted in June 2005. What is “Shokuiku”, then ? The Basic Law difines Shokuiku as acquisition of knowledge about
food as well as the ability to make appropriate food choices. Behind the law, there’re a
variety of food and nutrition issues such as a lack of proper concern for food; an increase in
irregular and nutritionally unbalanced meals; a rise in obesity and lifestyle-related diseases;
an excessive desire for being slim especially among young females; outbreak of a series of
incidents related to food safety; over-dependency on food from abroad; and, loss of traditional
food culture in a globalization movement. Some might criticize that eating is such a personal
thing that government shouldn’t regulate by a law. However, Japanese situation over food has
already reached to a crisis point, and that a law had to be enacted in order to address these

I don't see much (if any) change in the eating habits of the general public or big improvement in school lunches, but at least there's a law. And that's more than we have in the U.S..

Patrick brings up a really important point (something I've been thinking about a lot as well after Christopher's experience at private school this summer). Patrick went to an excellent boarding school and you can see what kind of food he had to subsist on while he was there. Christopher didn't have anything positive to report about his summer dining experience as well. Considering the high standards of education at these private schools, you have to wonder why they can't hire someone to design a food program offering simple but delicious fare from local ingredients. Worse than the swill is when they try to gussy it up. Oh my god that is just gross and what a huge amount of effort wasted on mediocre food stuffs.

Ok, off the soap box. A nod to my other nephew Brandon with his off-beat comments. Thanks for keeping it light. By the way, in regards to the ankimo sandwich comment from way back...you should know that we just had the best ankimo I have ever had in my life at Soba Ro the other night. The flavor was delicate and slightly nutty with subtle overtones of the sea...yum. They also cut it into thicker medallions than usual. Christopher says that it's rare to get a really good one and Kanchan often just throws away the liver when he gets monkfish because it's not up to snuff.

Thanks for the thoughtful comments Rodney. Start thinking about the mother-in-law subject as that's coming up soon. Potatoes are next, though. We were lucky to have the Eating Clubs, but I remember eating around the food and then eventually surviving on rye bread toast with smashed avocados sprinkled with parmesan cheese (Kraft) if I wasn't cooking. And I have to say the food at the reunions is way above par (though Chez Panisse, it's not). The dinner on the Quad was excellent (and still warm...how do they do that)?

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