Thursday, September 10, 2009

What I Ate for Supper

スロッピージョー, コールスロー 、チプス

Many readers (see the comment under Dinner at the Shiritori Cafe)following the Shiritori Café series have been wondering what's going to go down my gastrointestinal tract next. Well the pièces de résistance of the last supper I ate was tomato sauce or in Japanese, sousu . So according to the rules of shiritori since the sound "su" follows the sound "to" in the Japanese syllabary, the next meal had to begin with the Japanese sound "su." My first inclination was to go with sushi but it's kind of pricey (like everything else here), so I decided to go with an American equivalent (well almost), the suropi jo. Otherwise known in English as the Sloppy Joe.

My Sloppy Joe Recipe (serves 4)

Combine 150 grams (maybe) of chopped beef, pork and okara* chopped onion, chopped pepper (any color), garlic, tomatoes, ketchup, 3-4 tablespoons of brown sugar, pinch of salt, and a little pepper with lots of artistic flair in a skillet and cook it up until it's all done. That's it.

*Okara is I believe an edible byproduct from the tofu production process. It's great stuff that's used to make all sorts of dishes and I've discovered it can be used to stretch or substitute for lots of ingredients including chop meat and ricotta cheese. Ricotta is difficult to find in the Tokyo area. If you do find it, it's likely to be in a gourmet grocery store, probably across the aisle from the Skippy's peanut butter (yes Skippy's is a gourmet food, it's all a matter of perspective I guess). A half-pound container of imported Italian ricotta (they don't make it here) will set you back about a thousand yen (about ten dollars give or mostly take a few cents) for an 8 ounce container. It's probably even more expensive at the Tokyo Dean & Delucca's gourmet deli where they don't sell Skippy's but do sell gourmet peanut butter for about three times the price of ricotta cheese. Marscapone cheese is much easier to find in Japan and a lot cheaper. I think Japanese consumers generally prefer softer foods. Whenever I cut open a melon in my house, my wife and I will both say, "Oh!" Only the intonations will be exactly the opposite, mine the sound of disappointment because the melon has gone bad and hers the sound of joy because the melon is perfectly ripe. It's like the Skippy's peanut butter, all a matter of perspective. To some people it's a gourmet delicacy and to others it's just plain peanut butter.

Did you know...

Did you know that the all American Sloppy Joe's appellation isn't derived from the fact that it's a ten napkin meal? It actually gets its name from the place where it was invented, Sloppy Joe's of Key West, Florida. Sloppy Joe's wasn't always Sloppy Joe's though. It was a regular patron of Russel's Bar, a one Ernest Hemingway, who persuaded the bar owner to change the name of this watering hole to Sloppy Joe's. It was in this newly christened establishment that on December 5, 1933, the very same day Prohibition was repealed, the sandwich later to be forever dubbed the Sloppy Joe was born. The fact that this auspicious occasion was accompanied by streams of free flowing legal liquor could have alot to do with what went so wrong (or so right)with this hamburger. The rest is as they say... one heck of a mess, except in Jersey where Sloppy Joe's are neat, but that's a whole other story.

South Orange; Where Sloppy Is Neat (NY Times)

*When I was in school Hemingway was always my first go to author whenever a book report assignment came up. He wrote some excellent books like The Old Man and the Sea starring Spencer Tracy orFor Whom the Bell Tolls with its unforgettable characters, Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman as well as many other classic works of literature.

This photo of Ernest Hemingway in Kenya was taken by a LOOK Magazine, staff photographer. It's from the LOOK Magazine Photograph Collection at the Library of Congress. Look's publisher, Cowles Communications, Inc, has given the public all rights to these images.


  1. Wow, this was fascinating. I can't wait to read about what goes down your digestive tract next.

  2. So much information to digest. This is really food for thought.

  3. That picture looks really appetizing. Are you a professional food photographer?

  4. This whole story is bogus. You don't what your talking about. Watch the Food channel it's the only thing in life that matters.