Itadakimono: Maru Daikon and Shinmai (Round Daikon Radish and New Rice) 頂き物: 丸大根と新米
Giving and receiving gifts is an essential aspect of Japanese culture. Gifts are usually small and often given spontaneously. On the way back from an appointment today I stopped in at Kisen to return a very old and precious book on Kyo-ryori to the owner that I had been lent earlier this autumn.
Itadakimono: a gift humbly received
I was seated and served tea in a room that always has a flower arrangement in which the vase or basket is attached to the wall, rather than simply sitting on a surface. I was just there to return a book. Today was yellow chrysanthemums in a ceramic vase. In an alcove behind me I notice an incredibly colorful woodblock print that was a montage of New York City.
Mr Tanigawa, the owner; part boxer, part Zen master came in in a nylon gym suit with the biggest, roundest daikon radish I had every seen while ordering underlings to bring this dried kelp and that tsukemono press, then handing the daikon off and ordering it to be wrapped up. Then, “hey, bring him a bag of rice too.” It’s shinmai, or ‘new rice’.
The rice is grown especially for his restaurant by a farmer in rural Kyoto.
I was given a quick lesson on how to make tsukemono with the daikon and Mr Tanigawa ordered some out from the kitchen for me to try. I plucked out a wedge shaped slice of daikon pickled simply in salt and kombu (dried kelp).
I haven’t made tsukemono for a few years, but I am going to give it a try with this wonderful itadakimono, which if successful will go extremely well with this fine new rice.