Boiled Pumpkin and Noodles08.30.10

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Deprivation makes us really grateful for ordinary things (if it doesn’t make us neurotic or OC first). In February,when our six month home assignment began in the States, my kids thought that Campbell’s soup was delicious, fish sticks were exotic,  and frozen pizza weekly was the height of luxury. Fast forward to our recent return to Japan, and you can see above one of the first meals I cooked after arriving here. Seven months ago this boiled pumpkin and stir fried noodles with veggies and slivers of pork would have been greeted with groans and mutters. Tonight it disappears quickly. My youngest regretfully asks if there is more pumpkin, and I’m glad to tell him there isn’t. If there was, he’d no doubt down it and feel the effects of too much fiber tomorrow.

I’m so grateful that my kids have had to adapt to life in Japan, had to learn to eat a variety of foods most Americans have never cooked before or made a meal of. I wouldn’t have the will to push such a totally different lifestyle on them if we were living in the comforts of the US with the siren call of frozen pizza (deep dish and thin crust)  only a supermarket away. I see how the work and struggle of having to eat, with gratitude,  a variety of unusual things during their sojourn at Japanese school and at home has produced a flexibility and appreciation of a wide variety of flavors, textures, and smells.

I’m not a masochist, eager to see my kids suffer. I sense that this flexibility will benefit them nutritionally in the long run in ways that current levels of nutritional science can’t explain, relationally by allowing them to share meals with others from different backgrounds without affectation or superiority, and spiritually, by reminding them that hunger hurts and food is a gift from the Creator to be enjoyed with thanks in relationship with others. Care for another helping of boiled pumpkin and noodles? I do, but somewhere far off I can still hear that pizza calling. Time to remember these words: No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening-it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Heb. 12:11

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Posted by Andrea Johnson under culture.

3 Responses to “Boiled Pumpkin and Noodles”

  1. I think that when you grow up eating a variety of foods it does make for a healthier diet and a greater appreciation and openess to other aspects of culture.
    Miss your cooking!

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    Posted by Ronna on 12/13/09 August 30th, 2010 at 6:17 PMReply

  2. Welcome back to Japan! Your dinner sounds fabulous. Pass a plate this way.

    Your writing is so true to your voice that I can hear your vocal inflections and tonal quality in my mind as I read your words. Ah!

    Enjoy the food, the community and the moment!


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    Posted by Julie Wiley on 12/13/09 September 1st, 2010 at 9:26 AMReply

  3. What a timely reminder. Thank you for forming and sharing your words so beautifully.

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    Posted by Amy Cornell on 12/13/09 October 1st, 2010 at 2:17 PMReply

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