A time capsule

This is the story of the oldest tofu shop in the US (in Portland, Oregon). It was started by a Japanese family in 1911. The article describes the family and the shop, and how both changed over the years. The war-time part of the story is particularly moving and an important history lesson.

“The Secret History of America’s Oldest Tofu Shop” (from Roads and Kingdoms)

I chose the title of today’s post from these line, towards the end of the article:

“As Ota’s new Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese customers acclimate to American foodways, they tend to come in less frequently. But for immigrants, language and food are like time capsules; by maintaining traditional recipes and techniques as the city rapidly changes around them, Ota Tofu honors this.



That’s the name of a town in Kyrgyzstan. It’s unusual to have a name with no vowels, in English, anyway.

This article from Roads & Kingdoms describes a Muslim minority group, called the Dungans, who live in this part of the world.

The article is about more than food — we learn about their agriculture based society, as opposed to the traditional Kyrgyz culture which is nomadic for example, and we learn that the Dungan tradition is to marry only other Dungans, but that has changed recently to ensure their survival — but some of the quotes I liked best are about the food culture:

“(They) consider cooking to be a work of art, the dining table a blank canvas that must be completely filled, always with an even number of dishes.”

“The greatest insult you can give a Dungan women is to call her food untidy.”

A day in Kyoto

Summer vacation is coming soon. Do you have travel plans? Do you make an itinerary, or do you just wing it?

Here’s one person’s travelogue of a day in Kyoto. It’s more meaningful to me because I’ve been there. Have you? Did you do any of the same things she did?

“What to do with one day in Kyoto”

(from Tofugu)

That’s my photo, not one from the article. It’s one of my favorite photos from my last trip to Kyoto. I kept imagining just one crazy bee buzzing around. (Students, do you get why this sign is funny to native English speakers?)

One thought about the article: this may sound too critical, but it seems to me that if you’re in Kyoto for just a day, you should skip the falafel and eat tofu. Kyoto has some really, really amazing tofu shops and restaurants, and it’s much more of a “When in Rome” expierence. But to each her own.