Monday, November 26, 2007


As I said before, my maternal grandmother made a great Plum Pudding. How did a woman from Japan learn to cook this old English Christmas dish? My grandmother came over in her teens to marry my grandfather. Yoshi came from a very prominant family, her father was the head of their village. Yoshi attended a Catholic school contrary to the ideas of the times. My great grandfather was a very progressive person and believed in education, even for the girls. In the early photos my grandmother is always the one in a different colored kimono. This is to differentiate her rank from the regular students. Yoshi came to the States when she was 17 or 18 to be married to the man she was promised to. My grandfather was already here and was working as a cook for the railroad. Until my grandfather got established my grandmother went to Sacramento High School and worked for room and board. After they married they had a strawberry ranch in Reigo (Rio Linda). After the war and they got out of the internment camp in Tulle Lake they moved to San Mateo. My aunt went to work for Stanford University and my grandparents became the caretakers for a home in Hillsboro owned by the Vicount and Vicountess. I don't remember what their name was but they lived primarliy in France. My grandmother had to learn how to cook gourmet meals for the times the Vicount and Vicountess would come to the house and entertain. My grandfather had learned to cook American foods working for the railroad and my grandmother had learned some working as a live in while in school.
My grandmother could cook.. she could put out a meal to rival any caterer... I don't know if she actually cooked for the Queen of England but I do remember that she was so excited because the queen was going to stop by to visit her cousin the Viscountess. I'm sure she at least served tea and pastries. I remember my grandmother making Baba Au Rum, eclairs, cream puffs, legs of lamb, and probably a lot of things I've forgotten. The pantry of the house was located in the basement and I would love to go down there (as long as someone went with me) and check out all the strange cans,bottles and jars ... turtle soup, frog legs, quail eggs, pate,escargot all kinds of things I'd never heard of before. They had a dumb waiter that you could load with food from the pantry and send up to the first floor where the kitchen was located. It seemed to me it had a huge stove, I'm sure it was a commercial type that seemed to me to take up a whole wall. Everything in the kitchen seemed extra large. I don't know if it was because I was little at the time or if it really was all commercial grade appliances. I was probably 11 or so the last time we visited the mansion. My grandparents retired and moved to a small house in San Mateo. I wish I could go back and see that mansion.. check out the kitchen again.
That is how a Japanese Grandmother learned to cook gourmet meals.. Plum Pudding included.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow...very nice story!!

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