gmhTODAY 19 gmhToday April May 2018 - Page 90

cooking FOR fun WITH SAM BOZZO Sakahara-Gonzales Families Starting the New Year Right! Sakahara-Gonzales Family (l-r): Kaiden, Gena, Bode, and Fortune Gonzales with Kathy, Gene, Makena, Tim, Shea and Karisse Sakahara. J udy and I have enjoyed many meals with the Sakahara-Gonzales families, and each was a great experience! But for the last few years, New Year’s Day has been extraordinarily special. A fabulous feast of Japanese delicacies adorns the dining room table, prepared by three generations of the family. Kaiden and Bode (grandsons), Fortune Gonzales (son-in- law), Gena Sakahara-Gonzales (daughter), and Kathryn and Gene Sakahara (parents). And from Hawaii, Tim (son) and Karisse Sakahara (daughter-in-law) along with their children, Shea and McKenna, visited Gilroy for the holidays and participated in the cooking. This year, Tim’s family prepared a special edamame dish, with garlic, of course. Gene said, “when you get one Sakahara you get the whole family.” Gene notes that celebrating New Years is very prevalent in Asian culture and has history in the Sakahara household. He remembered as a child, his step-mother and his sister, Alice, prepar- ing traditional dishes before the clock struck the New Year’s hour. Then on New Year’s morning his father would take Gene and his younger brother, Dale, to the homes of relatives and friends wishing them a “Happy New Year!” Back at home, the New Year’s morning would start with rice cake and o-zoni (soup). It was made from mochi (rice cakes) before the arrival of the New Year and eaten only for that celebration. The mochi was made from a sweet, sticky rice steamed, pounded, and molded by hand into little round pillows. I recall eating the mochi while traveling through Japan. Gene loved it too, especially with soy sauce and sugar. Not only was our experience eating the New Year’s 90 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN Japanese delicacies wonderful, but we’ve also learned to appreciate the time, the preparation, the traditions and the symbolism. Here are some examples: Prawns (ebi), shaped like an elderly person and represent longevity. Red pink or white fish cakes (amaboko) represent the successfulness of the rising sun. Lotus root (renkon) has holes in it so that we can see to the year ahead. Taro (satoimo) represents an important person. Carrots and white daikon radish when cooked with other vegetables represents the colors of happiness. On New Year’s Day, the family participated in cooking chicken teriyaki, shrimp and vegetable tempura, sushi, and noodle (somen) salad. Check out two of the recipes that were made on New Year’s. Judy and I and the Sakahara’s were pleased that J Chris and Larry Mickartz from TODAY were able to experience the feast and to appreciate the gathering of family and friends. A special thank you to the Sakahara-Gonzales family for opening their homes for both the preparation and the holiday feast. When Gene was younger, he thought the New Year’s celebrations was just about eating good food and bidding good cheer. He now recognizes the celebration has family and traditional significance. As a third generation Japanese American (Sansei), the New Year’s celebration and mak- ing the traditional foods continues with his children and grandchildren and hopefully …for many future generations. It should be noted that while Kathryn Cooke Sakahara’s ancestry is from Sweden, she also has mastered the art of Japanese cooking and fully accepts the values and traditions that goes along with it. And remember, “cooking is fun.” gmh APRIL/MAY 2018