Cycle 4 – Item 103
18 (Thu) April 2013
Hayashi Rice, Too Fancy?
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with W and DJ, B
While Number One Fan LJY’s daughter B was staying with us for a sleepover, and knowing that B isn’t the most enthusiastic eater, I welcomed the culinary challenge. In previous experiences feeding kids not my own, kids with varying preferences and degrees of finickiness, hayashi rice had always done the trick. The dish, basically consisting of meat and veggies in brown sauce mixed with rice, seems to work because nothing about it stands out, nothing for a kid to complain about: the components are pleasantly soft, the blended flavors are safely savory (i.e., no “weird” spices), and everything together is very to easy to eat out of a bowl with a single spoon.
Alas, it didn’t work this time. B just looked at it and, for whatever reason, refused even to try it. In fairness, she eventually did manage to down about 5 small bites when I directly fed it to her, but clearly she didn’t dig it. Maybe I’d tried too hard. I went to the extra effort of first pan-grilling the chicken and red bell peppers before adding them to the mix, which imparted a layer of rich smokiness to the profile. The oak mushrooms provided a deep earthiness. The chick peas contributed a bit of sweet nuttiness. That all may have gone against the aforementioned “nothing about it stands out” simplicity of the dish in its more basic form. Oh well. Sorry, LJY, but I tried my best.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)