3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life

by Chisato - Japan Licensed Guide
(10) Reviews

Food is Life

"The life in the old times was painful. What was pain? Busy for surviving everyday."

Village grandmas always say like this. "Busy for living all the time"...

3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life
2 hours drive to the north from Kyoto city leads to a small cozy shuraku (village community) of Amaza, located in the hidden valley of Mount Ooe in Fukuchiyama. We had a retreat to experience this, thinking about "living"

Starting from making fermented koji mold, we made miso by using home-made koji, miling (sake taste seasoning in Japan), amaze (sweet sake), and mochi (sticky rice ball), also processing konjac by using ash, indigo fermentation, and so on.

Local village people also came and talked with us, having dinner together with locally harvested vegetables and sake, and we also visited their daily lives, hunting wild boars or harvesting vegetables....

This experience was valuable time, thinking about livelihoods and foods all the days.

Program of the Retreat

Day 1     NT    (Fermentation)soaked rice in water
      (Fermentation)amazake (sweet sake making)
Day 2  AM (Fermentation)steam rice
      PM (Food Processing)making lye from ash to make konjac
      (Fermentation)Indigo fermentation
      NT  (Event)Hot pot party with local people
      (Fermentation)sweet potato koji (fermented food)
Day3   AM   (Fermentation)stirring koji
      (Food Processing)steam land lace green rice
    PM  (Food Processing)yuzu-miso making,bean jam making
                        (Event)Visit to local villagers - wild boar hunter
    NT   (Event)Birthday party
      (Food Processing)soake indigenous beans
Day 4 AM (Food Processing)steam beans
      (Fermentation)rice mold koji is ready!
     PM (Food Processing)baking salt, make miso by using koji and smashed beans
 
 

Fermentation

What is fermentation? We learned fundamental subject of fermentation, how Japanese traditional seasonings had been developed and passed down from generation to generation. What is beneficial bacteria and mold to make Japanese washoku's key ingredients.
 
 
1. Steam rice
 
3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life
 
2. put koji mold on steamed rice
3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life

3. on the Day 2, the koji mold is gradually stretching its fungal thread on rice
3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life

Food Processing 

We learnt how to utilize ash from local grandmas.
On this occasion, we use wooden ash and straw ash to make coagulant for konjac without using Sodium hydrogen carbonate (NaHCO3).

Konjac by using wooden ash was the best.
We were all convinced that granmas were talking about how to differentiate strong lye and weak lye.
3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life
When I was a master student of agriculture, I tried to understand by scientific knowledge, how substance react to the environemnt, however, village people all knew the relationship with substances, plants and people, ash and ph, without thinking scientifically, but just feeling by hands and nature. This is the methods people had been inter-related to the world, and to the nature.

3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life

We could not make konjac well be using scientific Sodium hydrogen carbonate (NaHCO3)

3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life
left: konjac by using wooden ash right: by using straw ash
 

 
Making Miso
Koji mold is ready after 3 days fermentation process
 
 
3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life
roast salt - in macrobiotic method to make salt more ”yang (positive)” state
 
 3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life
 
 
 3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life
put miso ball into a bucket.
 
put sake paste on the top to prevent molding
3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life

At leisure....

We also made clothes, and visit to local village people.
 3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life
local villagers caught small wild boar
3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life

Time for Meals

Nanakusa gayu (rice poridge using 7 wild plants), irori hot pot, 3 times meals were also all special by using local specialties, while making koji mold, yuzu-miso processing, making lye, konnac, mochi making, and milim... Literally, we were doing yonabe (night pot in Japanese, which stands for working all the night), preparing food for next meals, while processing preservation foods
 
3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life
irori hot pot party with locals
3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life
kuwai (arrow-whead, swamp potato / Sagittaria trifolia L. 'Caerulea')
3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life

Visit rural Kyoto to learn traditional wisdom and livelihoods!


We were always making something, eating something, concentrating on living. When we make ingredients from scratch, we noticed how busy is making a living, as grandmas told us.

In modern days, we are selling our own times as a labour, and buying times of somebody else to make food ingredients.

We cannot go back to ancient era any more, however, it was absolute pleasure to share times of eating and make a living with somebody else like this retreat for some days.

Thank you for the local village people in Amaza, sharing this time together, this is unforgettable memory.
 
3 days culinary retreat in rural Kyoto: Learning traditional wisdom on food and life

We would like to pass down these old livelihoods and organize the village tour again.

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03 Apr 2017

Chisato

Licensed Guide
(10) Reviews

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