Udon and merging lives

Sometimes soup is just soup; sometimes it’s a metaphor.

Go ahead! Be social!
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Kirtsy
  • Digg
  • Tumblr
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Print
  • email

When James and I were moving in together, I used to think a lot about the phrase “merging households”. There are a lot of practical considerations when two middle-aged people decide to occupy the same space, with all their accumulated belongings: Whose dishes will we use? (His. They were prettier.) What will we do with all the extra furniture? (We had a big-ass yard sale.)

And really, because I’m a geek like that, What will we eat?

udon with shrimp and veggies

Not to get too ultra-metaphorical about it, but merging our foods and food habits has been emblematic of the merging of our lives in general. In our prior live-in arrangements, each of us had done all the cooking, and felt a fair bit of homemaker pressure in general; now we partnered to get dinner on the table, and to do everything else—laundry, shopping, everything. I had been vegan, and he a big meat-eater; now we were both eating (and continue to eat) some meat, but not much, and lots and lots of fruits and veggies. He taught me how to cook just enough food for one meal, to save us from having rotting leftovers in the fridge. I taught him how to bake bread, to save us from paying $4 a loaf for something we could have fresh from the oven.

Veggie Udon
Photo by Janet Hudson

My first James-inspired food discovery was udon. Hard to believe I’d never eaten it before, but there it is. Suddenly, about once a week, there would appear this satisfying, hot bowl of soup that I didn’t have to cook for myself, and that just nourished me on so many levels. Sometimes, he made the udon with tofu; sometimes with meat or seafood. Sometimes, he used store-bought seasoning packets, and sometimes he made a rich broth redolent with miso and spices. Nearly always, there was bok choy. Nearly always, onions. Beyond that, it was whatever caught his fancy, and it was always just so delicious.

Vegetable Udon with Veggie Crab
Photo by Janet Hudson

This is one of those things you don’t need a complicated recipe for, and that’s kind of a metaphor for us, as well. We don’t have a lot of rules or stresses in our personal life; we sort of go with each day as it comes, and make it up as we go along. Everything that was hard about my previous relationship is now so easy. We don’t bicker and fight; we don’t take each other for granted; we make each other soup. See? I can stretch a metaphor with the worst of them.

As far as the actual soup goes, if you can find fresh udon noodles in your store, get them. They’re cheap, usually packaged in single-serving amounts (sometimes three to a package), and better, texture-wise, than the dried noodles. Dried are sometimes easier to find, but hey, if you can’t find udon, use fettucine — it’s almost the same, especially if you put a little miso in the broth at the end. At any rate, if you’re using fresh, you’re good to go; if dried, cook them up first, according to package directions, then drain and rinse them under cold water and set them aside.

恐るべきさぬきうどん Sanuki-udon noodle
Photo by Hajime NAKANO

The basic prep is as follows, but really, it’s a very forgiving dish:

If you’re using the seasoning packet from store-bought noodles, just follow the directions on the pack. Otherwise, stir together a tablespoon per serving of miso (any flavor) and enough water (roughly equal measures) to loosen the paste enough to blend with the soup. Set the miso-water mixture aside.

Put about 3 cups water or stock and a tablespoon of soy sauce (to taste) per serving into a soup pot along with chopped onions, maybe some garlic and/or ginger, and any longer-cooking veggies you want to use (carrots, for example). Bring that to a boil and cook for a few minutes, then toss in the quick-cooking veggies (bok choy is our standard, but greens are good, or bean sprouts, or whatever) and the udon.

For protein, we often throw in some tofu or shelled shrimp or cooked sliced meat or vegetarian gluten meat substitute at this point; you can wing it on the protein question. It’s a really good way to use up leftover meat or tofu from a prior meal.

Bring the soup back to a boil, then cook and stir for two or three minutes, until the udon has come unclumped and the soup is heated through, and take the soup off the heat. Stir in the miso-water mixture. Serve it up hot.

Beef Udon IV
Photo by Deborah Austin

This really isn’t very good left over, so I recommend you only make as much as you need for one meal. And I can’t think of a relationship metaphor for that, so I’ll just let it go.

“Every guy wants to make a fake oakleys play,” Gordon said. “Every guy wants you to look at him throwback nba jerseys and think, ‘I can count on this guy.’ That’s how we all want to be. When you get the opportunity to have the ball in your hands, it’s your job to make something happen.””You can’t turn it over three times in a half. You’re not going to win games like that.”A week after becoming the first player in league history with 300 passing yards, cheap oakleys four TD passes and zero interceptions in his first career road start, Siemian was off to another solid start when he was sacked by Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, who slung the Broncos quarterback to the turf on his left shoulder for an 8 yard loss late in the second quarter. Nature Reviews Neurology 9, 192 200 (April 2013) doi:10.1038/nrneurol.2013.36Focus on: Traumatic brain injuryMilos D. IkonomovicTop of pageAbstractOver the past decade, public awareness of the long term pathological consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI) has increased. Such awareness has been stimulated mainly by reports of progressive neurological dysfunction in athletes exposed to repetitive concussions in high impact sports such as boxing and American football, and by the rising number of TBIs in war veterans who are now more likely to survive explosive blasts owing to improved treatment. Moreover, the entity of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is marked by prominent neuropsychiatric features including dementia, parkinsonism, depression, agitation, psychosis, and aggression become increasingly recognized as a potential late outcome of repetitive TBI. Annually, about 1% of the population in developed countries experiences a clinically relevant TBI. The goal of this Review is to provide an overview of the latest understanding of CTE pathophysiology, and to delineate the key issues that are challenging cheap oakley sunglasses clinical and research communities, such as accurate quantification of the risk of CTE, and development of reliable biomarkers for single incident TBI and CTE.So I cheap China Jerseys turned to YouTube. An unguided journey through the bowels of YouTube can lead to some awfully strange places, as it did for fake ray bans me that day. Somewhere amid my research of Obama, I stumbled across a few videos claiming that individuals within the United States government had conspired with Osama bin Laden decades ago.And we mean everything. The investigation revealed the terrible sanitation conditions that workers endure in Assam, a state in Northeastern India. Many of the families went without toilets and had no other option but to poop among cheap nba jerseys the tea leaves. How’s that for shitting it to the man?Your English breakfast leaves were grown in the remains of an Indian dinner.
Go ahead! Be social!
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Kirtsy
  • Digg
  • Tumblr
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Print
  • email

Author: Serene

I run The Mom Food Project, which was born out of love for my mom and a desire to preserve the recipes of my childhood, which didn't actually exist in written form until I quizzed my mom and wrote the recipes down.

8 thoughts on “Udon and merging lives”

  1. When I met my husband he had never had Chinese Food or Mexican Food, or really anything except PA German pork, pork, pork. It was so cool to witness him trying all the foods that I loved, and learning to enjoy them. For my part, I ate at my first Diner with him, and have become a fan of omelets with homefries and toast.

    1. Yeah, I just love sharing food cultures with my partners. With my ex-wife, I learned a lot about what they eat in Kentucky, and I still love the Snappy Cheese her family used to make.

  2. You metaphor with the best of ’em :) My husband introduced me to salad sandwiches (the extent of his “cooking” skills when we met, but they were actually very, very good!), I introduced him to all sorts of scary asian desserts (his words not mine) that contained vegetables ;)

    1. Thanks for the compliment! Guy (my partner) talks about salad sandwiches, too. He says his mom would make a sandwich out of ANYTHING, and now sandwiches are his comfort food. I would love your scary Asian desserts — the closer sweet stuff gets to savory, the better I like it. We have this cool foofy ice cream store near us with flavors like cardamom, peppercorn, and bay leaf, and I lurve it.

    1. I know what you mean. I have foods like that.

      I don’t know where in coastal Georgia you live, but I found several Asian grocery stores in Savannah. And I’d be willing to mail you some Udon if you just can’t find it near you. It’s good stuff! :-)

Comments are closed.