OSECHI: A Taste of Japan's New Year
Japan’s New Year holiday season is called OSHOGATSU and the festive food served to celebrate the occasion is known as OSECHI. Packed into a multi-tiered lacquer box called a jūbako, many of the traditional foods like kuro mamé (sweet black soy beans) or kobu maki (slow-simmered, bite-sized kelp rolls) take days to prepare.
Increasingly, young, urban cooks are ordering pre-made osechi assortments from department store food halls. The stores collaborate with well-known restaurants to offer exclusive osechi boxes. From mid-December you will see wax model displays of these osechi in Japan’s food halls. Pick up one of the full-color catalogs: a feast for the eyes! And, take note of the (exorbitant) prices charged for these assortments!
I have been making osechi for decades, and LOVE to lavish time on the process, especially when I can share these foods and traditions with others.
Every year I offer 10 residents or visitors a chance to experience my homemade osechi at A Taste of the (Japanese) New Year.
Tuition: ¥5,000 per person.
The fee includes extensive reference materials, a tasting of more than a dozen items, and a demonstration of carving carrots to resemble plum blossoms (everyone takes home plum-shaped carrots to finish carving at home).