Welcome to Mari’s East West kitchen!!

Hello — Konnichiwa!

Welcome to Mari’s East West Kitchen!

I’m a native Japanese food enthusiast and world traveller. Food is my passion, both eating and cooking (in that order — I love cooking because it’s creative, and I can eat my delicious creations.) One of favorite pastimes is reading cookbooks… I bring these to bed and dream about them into the wee hours of the night. (My husband says when I do that, I look so happy in my dreams, and I’m often drooling… )  One of my first memories is standing on the chair in my grandma’s kitchen at about 3 years old, very curious, asking a million questions, and begging to help her here and there. We were probably making piroshki. (My grandma isn’t Russian, we are supposedly 100% Japanese, yet my grandparents moved to Manchuria in 1920s, and she learned various Russian recipes from Belarussian ladies in the neighborhood. When Japan lost the war, they lost everything, but she was able to bring the recipes back to Japan in her head – a smart woman!  Likewise, when I came from Japan in 1988, naturally I brought a lot of Japanese recipes and stories with me, and as I go back every year, I bring back more and more.

In Japan pretty much everyone is a foodie. Yes, a lot more than in the US, where I live now. I ended up in the San Francisco Bay Area, probably the top foodie city in the entire US.  Everybody here is interested in healthy and easy gourmet meals, especially Japanese food. Whenever we have a party or potluck, people always ask me how to make the Japanese dishes I bring.  So, I thought – what if I create a blog to share what I eat and prepare for friends and family? Wouldn’t that be fun??? Very often I throw things together and create something unique from what I have on hand, and I am passionate about teaching others to do the same. And l love connecting with people around the world, so this could be a great way to make new friends!

One disclaimer — I’m just a food enthusiast, and not necessarily a purist. So depending on my mood, I cut corners or do creative things, which may horrify purists. Yet my attitude is that if it’s delicious, healthy and fun, it’s all good.  Food is all about LOVE and nourishment – there shouldn’t be any stress around it.

So what can you expect in this blog?  I’m planning to introduce Japanese food and food culture to you.  Some recipes you can make easily at home of course, and also what you need, what you can substitute (including for vegetarians), and how you can use these ingredients in other ways (then you too can create “fusion” dishes.)  Some funny travel and food stories.  And yes, favorites and bizzare foods.  Not the really bizzare kind like Andrew Zimmern on Food Network, but Japanese staples that may sound a bit weird to non-Japanese.  From time to time, I may write about food from other cultures.  One reason is that Japanese cuisine has adopted many foreign foods as if it’s their everyday food, so I it’s been in my blood since birth (like these piroshkis)!   I also love travelling and learning about local culture and of course food, so when I come back from my travels, I recreate some of these local dishes in my kitchen to savor the good memories long after we return home. 

Oh, and I’m planning to bring some reports from Japan some when I go back, but also regularly from my good friend Kogure-san (Ko-grei-san), a professional chef.  I think it would be great fun for my readers –  just like travelling there for a while for free!

I would be thrilled if you experiement with some of my recipes, and let me know how you liked them.  I learned how to cook dishes from other countries that way – and you can do it too!  Also if you have any questions or requests, please let me know.  I’ll try to do my best to answer, or have Chef Kogure help you.

So welcome to my blog — I’m so happy to have you to visit my kitchen to share some good food and friendship, and talk about many different kinds of food all day long!

Happy cooking — and eating!!