Going back over 150 years from the present, you would find yourself in the Edo Period. What were the people living in YUKIGUNI eating at their celebrations back then?
At the time, feasts would have been taking place at each of the annual events. The main food being eaten at celebrations would have been mochi and zoni (a soup dish containing mochi), azuki-gohan (red soy beans with rice), botamochi (mochi covered in red bean paste), mackerel, herring, and whale, among other dishes. Also on the menu would have been mountain plants such as zenmai and warabi, salmon, and waterfowl.
Among those, mountain plants and fowl were highly prized and often given as gifts in Edo and by the feudal lords. Compared with modern times this was an era where transportation, mainly by horse or by boat, was a challenge so pickling in salt was often employed to preserve the food.
Within the limits of the ingredients and methods of preparation available to them, our predecessors managed to work out this knowledge and these techniques, and these preserved food and countryside dishes have been passed down to be used today.
Progress over the march of time means things are more convenient now and we can eat what we want when we want. Especially in these times of plenty we shouldn’t forget this, and perhaps should retain a sense of gratitude to those that came before us and their ingredients.
Previously worked at Shiozawa Town Hall as part of the town history office. Currently a member of the Minami Uonuma City Local History Society.