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torakris

eG Foodblog: Torakris in the Heartland - Fast Food to Fine Dining

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Hello from Cleveland!

My kids and I are on vacation in my hometown for a month, my husband couldn't make the trip this year, so this blog will be a little different from the other 3 I have done.

Some words of warning before you start this blog!

This blog will NOT contain beautiful pictures like we are seeing in Ann_T's blog.

This blog will take you into places you may never have stepped foot in before, like Chuck E Cheese.

This blog will actually contain very little Japanese food.

A little bit about myself.

I am 36 years old, happily married for 12 years and have 3 children (Mia is 10, Julis is 8 and Hide is 5), our home is in Yokohama, Japan. I try to visit my family once a year, and we are just halfway through our trip. I am the second oldest of 8 children and when I am here I do most of the cooking. Most dinners are for at least 7 children and 6 adults, though they can easily reach 20 people. Growing up there were 10 people at the dinner table every night so this is nothing new for me, hte challenge is working around everyones dislikes and medical conditions. My sister has 4 very picky eaters, my dad is diabetic and my mom until 2 weeks ago was on a doctor ordered extremely bland diet. After being on this for almost 1 1/2 years she is very excited to be eating food again but she is adding the foods back slowly and still trying to avoids acid-y foods.

Since this is a vacation we are going to be out a lot and eating out more than we usually do. It is also a busy week for Cleveland eGulleteers as we have two dinners planned.

It is almost 1:00am and I should get to sleep, I guess I will see everyone in the morning...

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Hooray! Always happy to see you blog, whether there are beautiful pictures or not.

Chuck E Cheese, eh? Hopefully you approach it like I do, and eat first :wink:.

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Totally looking forward to your blog, Kris. The Big Cheese and all. :biggrin:

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This blog will actually contain very little Japanese food.

Is this a warning? :blink: Actually, I feel good about it. I'd like to see lots of your local dishes.

And,

Chuck E Cheese.

You'll have to explain it to your international audience! :biggrin:

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I'm sure she will.

Have fun, Kris!

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You'll have to explain it to your international audience! biggrin.gif

My thoughts exactly! I'll be following with great interest, and no doubt more closely than I should be, since it's exam week for me...

So how are you getting on with cooking for nieces and nephews? I'm going to have 4 teen nephews "on my plate" shortly, and they are not very adventurous either! Please let us know which dishes were most popular :rolleyes::smile: .

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This is going to be good. Thanks, Kris.

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Cleveland!

I can't wait to see what you and the local eGers dish up for us.

I hear the city has acquired a modicum of cool of late, since the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame opened. Any chance we can see some of the cool parts?

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You'll have to explain it to your international audience! :biggrin:

For the brave of heart and sound of mind, a brief introduction to Chuck E Cheese's can be found here. Enter, ye who dare.

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Good Morning!

It is good to be blogging again.

Don't worry, I am going to be showing the best that Cleveland has to offer! By the end of this blog I am sure that most of you will be rushing to the nearest travel agent and booking flights to Cleveland. :biggrin:

Let's start off with breakfast, at home I start every morning with an iced coffee (I am a Toddy cold brew fan) here in Cleveland I have a choice of instant coffee or nothing... Cold instant coffee is even worse than hot so most mornings I drink a cup of hot instant. Once or twice a week I go out for an iced coffee, today was one of those days.

I had promised my kids donuts, so this morning we headed out to Amy Joy and picked up two dozen with a buy one dozen and get one free coupon. :biggrin: My sister Mary had to go out to the hospital htis morning and visit a friend and her husband was working so she dropped her 4 kids (ages 12, 8, 6, 5) off here. Breakfast was for 7 kids, myself and my little sister Stef (age 23) who is still sleeping as I type this so I guess she will eat later. Neither of my parent's eat donuts nor does my other sister Erin, who also lives here.

I was only able to eat 1 1/2 coconut donuts, these are my absolute favorite and the Mister Donut by my house in Japan has stopped selling them so it is now a once a year treat for me.

I also picked up an iced latte...

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oops, I forgot to include the pictures...

gallery_6134_3289_355792.jpg

gallery_6134_3289_39544.jpg

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Don't worry, I am going to be showing the best that Cleveland has to offer! By the end of this blog I am sure that most of you will be rushing to the nearest travel agent and booking flights to Cleveland. :biggrin:

Yay, it's Kris!

I was actually supposed to go to Cleveland to visit two of my closest friends (who are married to one another and have left me in New York for life on the frontier) a few weeks ago, but got stuck on the ground here in New York due to intense storms in Ohio...now, when I go, I'll be armed with Kris' recommendations! :wink:

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I just popped a piece of Big Red gum in my mouth, another can't find in Japan product. No cinnamon flavored gum anywhere...

Since we ate a fairly late breakfast there is a good chance we may not have a lunch today, rather an early dinner. I guess it will depend on how hungry the kids get. My aunt is taking us to the zoo today, my 3 kids, sister Mary's 4 kids, me, Mary, Stef and another sister Gina. Gina and her boyfriend bought a house a couple years ago in Trumball County about about 45 minutes southeast of Cleveland, they have no kids (yet :biggrin: ) but do have the most wonderful great dane named Cujo, a coop full of chicken and a gaggle of geese that live in her lake. She is also the only sibling with a pool, so we spend quite a bit of time at her house. :biggrin:

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I also wanted to explain a bit about my teaser photo, the food on the left are examples of food I have in my pantry at home while the food on the left is an example of the food I see when I open the pantry here at my parent's house.

gallery_6134_3289_65704.jpg

I cook quite a bit differently when I am here...

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We are leaving for the zoo soon, so I will leave you with some pictures of the kids.

Mia

gallery_6134_3289_174487.jpg

Julia

gallery_6134_3289_33469.jpg

Hide

gallery_6134_3289_289643.jpg

Hide with the 2 year old Cujo, Hide is actually taller than him this year...

gallery_6134_3289_474097.jpg

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I just popped a piece of Big Red gum in my mouth, another can't find in Japan product. No cinnamon flavored gum anywhere...

...

I too am really happy to see you blogging again, Kristin~! I had two questions to start:

--Are you bringing back stockpiles of these "can't find in Japan" items, i.e., Big Red gum? :smile:

--Out of curiousity, are your kids comfortable and/or fluent in English? Their school is in Japanese, yet they have a huge American family. Just wondering...

Have a great week!

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Welcome home Kris. So what sort of food is on the docket for Cleveland? Got any cravings you need to satisfy?

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It is 12:30 and we were supposed to leave for the zoo about 2 hours ago, but my sister Mary has just called from the hospital and will be there until at least 1:30 and said we should go without her. So we have decided to eat a little bit of something before we head off. The kids are being fed eggs in a variety of forms, scrambled, hard boiled and egg salad. So for lunch I ate a black raspberry donut and a glass of water.

I swear I normally eat better than this...

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--Are you bringing back stockpiles of these "can't find in Japan" items, i.e., Big Red gum?  :smile:

--Out of curiousity, are your kids comfortable and/or fluent in English? Their school is in Japanese, yet they have a huge American family. Just wondering...

I have about 4 boxes of stockpiles... :biggrin: I just made a large Penzey's order and will soon be picking up a bunch of hog and sheep casings (for sausages). I also have 6lbs of Kosher salt and a years supply of Sour Patch Kids. :biggrin::biggrin:

Other things I will be picking up in the next week or so are various dried beans and baking supplies (nuts, shredded coconut, cocoa). These items (unlike the ones above) are available in Japan but very expensive.

My kids are definitely more fluent in Japanese, it takes them a couple days to feel comfortable speaking English, but now 2 weeks into the trip they are doing quite well.

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Welcome home Kris. So what sort of food is on the docket for Cleveland? Got any cravings you need to satisfy?

You are going to see some of the best the restaurants in Cleveland have to offer, you just have to keep following along. :biggrin:

My biggest cravings are sour patch kids (I am addicted) and beef. Last week I had one of those mile high rare roast beef sandwiches topped with thousand island dressing and cole slaw that really hit the spot. I can't wait to get my hands on some really fresh corn and tomatoes.

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I just shoved a deviled egg in mouth, the whole thing all at once. Daughter Mia made them just now for her lunch but couldn't finish them all. As like most mothers you will see me eating quite a few leftovers from my kid's plate...

I wish I had taken a picture, she does deviled eggs quite well.

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It's funny all my friends always ask if there is something I really miss food-wise in the United States and I honestly cannot think of one thing I miss. I don't know why that is. When I go to the States I usually bring back vanilla because it is cheaper there than it is here.

Is there some dish that is specifically from Cleveland?


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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torakris,

i'm always interested in westerners, especially like you who grew up in a very "american" area, who end up living in asia. as far as this can apply to food, how did this happen for you? your kids are so cute (hapa kids are the cutest...i can say that 'cause i'm a hapa too :wink: ). how americanized is your husband? it seems that you have assimilated very well into japanese culture and you say your children speak better japanese than english, do you have any plans to return to the united states to live?

it is a very different profile than say fellow eGulleteer bryanz who just finished his blog a week ago and is half japanese (his mother) and was raised in the states.

i realize this is more sociological than food related, but it is so interesting.

as much as it can relate to food and how your cooking differs from japan and the united states, with all of the american junk food infiltrating foreign countries, do you find that the japanese diet has changed significantly? are people less healthy? can you do a bit of comparison/contrast?

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with all of the american junk food infiltrating foreign countries, do you find that the japanese diet has changed significantly?

Alan, I think its more the other way around... Japan has always had really serious junk food, and they are influencing our trends in snacks more than anything else.

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with all of the american junk food infiltrating foreign countries, do you find that the japanese diet has changed significantly?

Alan, I think its more the other way around... Japan has always had really serious junk food, and they are influencing our trends in snacks more than anything else.

i actually lived in japan for three years back in the 80's on a u.s. military base (yokota-kichi, kris you might know it). i understand japanese "snack" culture pretty well...but overall, these snack-type things weren't how people ate at home (from what i remember). special occasions and such. not like in the u.s where junk/fast food constitutes an entire meal. often three meals a day.

from what i can see in china, it is really changing how people eat on a day to day basis and now that it has been 20+ years (maybe 30+) since the first mcdonalds opened in japan, i'm wondering how people are eating.

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