Natsukashii & Ofukuro no aji ( A taste of Home )
Natsukashii (an adjective) derived from the Japanese verb Natsuku which means to become familiar with. The word is used to express emotion, fondness and gratitude for the past in a kind of nostalgic way.
I think when we are talking about food we can relate to Natsukashii, like sounds and smell can bring back memories so can taste. Another Japanese word/ expression that relates to this is Ofukuro no aji which translates “Mothers Taste Meal “. Linked to family relationships these are Japanese home cooked meals that your mother used to make. Eating them later in life can bring back memories and comforts from home. Such meals in Japan I think associated with this are warming winter nimono “ stewed dishes” simmering on a stove top. Something maybe served with rice like a donburi bowl or just a simple bowl of miso soup. Not growing up in Japan I can only go on the meals my mother used to make. The smell of freshly baked bread, pea soup and meat and potato pie. Even now food plays a large part in nostalgia, I look back on my travels to Japan and cafes I’ve been to and dishes I have tried. Sometimes I will recreate them in my own kitchen and that’s when you get that feeling of Natsukashii.
One of those Japanese comfort mothers taste meals is Niku jaga, a sliced beef, onion and potato stewed dish with a sweet soy sauce dashi. Jaga is an abbreviation on jagaimo meaning potato Niku meaning meat. I decided to make this meal today, for the meat substitute I used Maitake mushrooms.
I have my full vegan recipe on another recipe page along with other comfort meals like soboro donburi, onigiri, ramen or nabemono. What meals bring back a feeling of nostalgia for you?