Thursday, November 22, 2007

Mochi for the Rich!

I was walking back from the local Buddhist temple with my boss tonight. We had received a big bag of celebratory mochi from the priest. "You know," my boss mentioned, "during the Edo period common people only ate mochi once a year. It was a huge luxury."

I looked down at the humble blobs of rice dough. Mochi is not a luxury to me. I gluttonously feast on it nearly every day. This concept does not compute.

"So, but I's just...rice."

"And water, yes."

"So it's just rice and water, but it was such a huge luxury you could only eat it once a year?"

"Yeah. Because you have to take the rice, soak it overnight, and then pound it into mochi with a big hammer. People didn't have enough rice to waste all that time turning it into mochi."

Damn, that is seriously poor. Imagine that. You are a farmer in Japan--a rice farmer, in fact--and you are barely subsisting to the point that you can't spare a few measly ounces of your crop to make into a delicious treat, because you might half-starve in the extra time it took.

It was a good conversation to have on Thanksgiving--something for me to consider next time I'm trying to find something to complain about.

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