Mum`s Cooking

I have been living in Japan for a combined total of over 8 years. There are many things that I can do in Japan that I can’t do in Australia. One of these is speaking in Japanese on a regular basis. I have been learning Japanese since I was in high school, and I enjoy the language very much. When I was 21, I took part in a one-year international exchange program at Hokkaido University. During that year I made some wonderful and patient Japanese friends who helped me to get to the point of being able to communicate in Japanese comfortably. The Japanese language really became a part of who I am and a way of expressing myself, so I really missed being able to use it on a daily basis when I returned to Australia after finishing my exchange program. Many years later I returned to Japan to work, and it was wonderful to be immersed again in the Japanese language and be able to use it on a regular basis.

While I enjoy living in Japan and being able to speak in Japanese regularly, there are many things that I miss doing back in Australia that are harder or impossible to do in Japan. One of these is eating my mum’s delicious food! I am very blessed to have a mum who is a wonderful cook. One of my favorite meals that she cooks is tuna mornay, which is similar to the dish called `gratin` in Japan. It is made by mixing white sauce, corn and tuna together and then topping this with breadcrumbs and cheese and baking it in an oven. My mum usually either serves it with bread or uses cooked rice as a base over which she puts the white sauce and topping before baking it. Personally, I prefer the version without the rice. I love toasting some delicious grainy bread, spreading this with butter, and then scooping some mornay onto the toast and eating it. This is sooooooo delicious! I am getting very hungry while writing this! Another one of my mum`s specialties is lasagna. She makes an amazing standard lasagna (meat sauce, white sauce, lasagna sheets and cheese) but she also makes a very delicious sweet potato version and a tuna version. Her sweet potato lasagna is very similar to a standard one, but, in addition to the normal ingredients, it contains many chunks of pre-cooked sweet potato. The tuna version is quite different as it doesn’t contain any meat but rather a sauce containing tomato and tuna.

I could keep writing more and more about my mum’s wonderful cooking, but I will just write about one more favorite: my mum’s banana cake. It is always so moist and just plain delicious! She uses three alternative toppings to ice her banana cakes; the best icing is cream cheese mixed with icing sugar. When I was younger this was the only type of icing she used and sometimes the original is the best. Nowadays she also ices her banana cakes with chocolate icing or a caramel and coconut icing. I really love the chocolate icing but I am not such a fan of the caramel and coconut icing. It is a little too rich and takes away from the deliciousness of the cake itself. My mum almost always has a banana cake waiting for me when I visit Australia. I will be visiting someday in the future, so I am very much looking forward to tucking into the cake when I arrive!



be immersed in (verb) – be covered or surrounded by something
blessed to have (phrase) – to be lucky to have something very good or special
specialty (noun) – something that you regularly do or make that you are good at or known for
be (not) a fan of (phrase) – to (not) like something or someone very much
tuck in/into (phrasal verb) – to start eating something eagerly