Be it summertime, I figured I’d talk a bit about on of my favorite matsuri foods. A matsuri (祭) is a festival in Japan. Most towns from the smallest to the largest have festivals, which are usually during the summertime. Accompanying the festivities are food booths with various tasty attractions. One of my favorite happens to by jaga bata. Jaga bata is a deep fried buttered potato. The name is a portmanteau of jagaimo (potato) and bata (butter).
Jaga bata is often topped with just butter.
Many people, myself included, like to put mentaikomayo along with the butter on the jaga bata. Mentaikomayo is mentaiko (spicy, fermented fish roe) and mayonnaise. It gives the jaga bata a creamy, spicy quality. So delicious.
If you are ever at a Japanese matsuri, I highly recommend you seek out and try jaga bata with mentaikomayo.
I feel guilty when I order takeout. Why? Because that’s money I could be saving for a rainy day. The frugal American we-don’t-have-servants mindset is that anything you can do for yourself, you should, and paying others to do something because you’re too lazy, is wasteful.
When my sister’s washing machine broke, she had to send out her laundry for a while as they waited on repairs. She said, “Olive, it’s great. I may never go back. I know it’s such a Rich Lady thing to do, but….”
I began to think: The services that we consider Rich Lady Things–Uber, Seamless, laundry service, etc.–put money in the hands of the poor. If I tip the delivery guy generously I’m putting money directly in his pocket, much more efficiently than a government entity or charity could do.
As much as I love the church, she doesn’t take care of the poor like she’s supposed to. Mainly because the government has stepped in to do her job for her, and made her irrelevant when it comes to taking care of the needy. Church budgets primarily go for buildings, and salaries, so there’s not much left over to give to the poor anyway.
But could paying for services that I could theoretically do, but don’t have the time or inclination, be the modern way of giving to the poor? Those who are perfectly willing to drive me to the train station, or cook my food and bring it to me, are depending on my generosity. Could it be that I actually owe them their commission and tip? I’m stingy if I have the money in my hand, but don’t give them the opportunity.
The Biblical model of giving and helping the poor is outlined in the Old Testament in “not gleaning to the edge of the field.” At harvest time, the righteous were commanded to leave a little bit of crop around the edges so that the poor could come after the reapers and gather what remained.
When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 23:22
This was the wealthy man’s field–his grain, his land, his laborers–but in the Biblical sense, he owed it to the poor to not reap every single inch of produce his land yielded. Leave a little bit. Around the edges. For the poor. After all, that was there only chance at gathering–they didn’t have their own land or crop.
Yes, you could rightfully command your workers to gather every single stalk, every head of grain, but don’t do it. Leave a little bit around the edges. For the poor.
Today, I could insist on doing my own cooking and cleaning, but why? In one sense it’s a way of being rigid and greedy.
When my brother goes to the bank, he gets $100 in singles, in order to tip his baristas every morning. The idea of tipping as a way of giving comes from him, who declares he does not give to charities generally. But if you go out to eat with him, you will see that he gives generously to the poor.
Thoughts? Are there any Rich Lady (or Man) things you do, that may actually benefit someone?
Today I went to run my errands and what should I perceive when heading to the grocery store at the local mall but the most remarkable odours! A local lady was selling a multitude of spices, most of which I’d never heard of.
They ranged from mild, medium, to hot, and everything from chili powder to coconut, and exotic teas. They were sold by the gram: you just pointed and she’d weigh them and wrap them in paper. From there it’s up to you.
Back in the day, I’d probably have gone home with dozens of these, but having a Web site to support, my culinary ambitions have contracted to “If I can’t nuke it, I won’t cook it.” But still, it was glorious to smell.