This year my resolution is to slow down and enjoy life more—by paying attention to what’s going on around me. Modern technology makes all of us go too fast, don’t you think?
At our house, we do sukiyaki whenever we have a special occasion, but especially for New Year’s Eve. Pretty soon our son will be leaving for his first real job in Washington D.C., starting a career with the government. Since our daughter is also home right now, on winter break from university, we decided to break out the sukiyaki hot pot to celebrate the holidays. Eating together as a family at home isn’t as regular as it used to be. As the kids got older, my wife would cook, but everyone would grab a plate and retreat to their part of the house to eat while doing whatever we wanted to do. In fact, our best family conversations happened while we were at a restaurant together. That’s OK I guess, but not quite the same.
Sukiyaki changes all that. It takes a while to prep—veggies have to be cut, tofu has to be sliced and the meat laid out nicely. I can’t take credit for this pretty arrangement; my wife has the skills.
Once that’s done, it’s time to set the table. Tonight’s ingredients are Chinese cabbage, Japanese long onion (naganegi), Chrysanthemum leaves (shungiku), 3 kinds of mushrooms, yam noodles (shirataki), tofu and rib eye beef!
We used the Zojirushi Gourmet d’Expert? Electric Skillet for the job, which made it super easy to cook. We were most impressed with the fact that the outer body doesn’t get hot, which means you can surround it with ingredients on the dining table without worrying about the heat getting to them—important when you don’t want raw meat or sashimi to get too warm.
There are tons of sukiyaki recipes online, so look one up and try—it’s not hard to cook. Plus you can use store bought sauce from the store, which is what we always do.
Here’s the live action—LOL!
You’ll notice we have raw eggs which we use as a dip. My wife is a bit squeamish about this so she passes on it, but I love it!
Here’s what I noticed about dinners like tonight’s with my family. Not only does a hot pot dish like sukiyaki bring us together at the dining table on a cold winter night, this kind of meal takes time to eat. You can’t scarf this down. We talked about our son’s future career, about our daughter’s courses next semester, about the house guest from Japan that we’re going to be entertaining over Christmas—the usual things families discuss if you have the time to talk about them. Remember my New Year’s resolution?
What are yours going to be this year?
Images by Bert Tanimoto, food styling by @ironchefmom