Tokyo's food supply

Yesterday I was in bed with a fever and I spent most of the day sleeping. Even in a crisis, we catch colds. Germs don't care.

Celestial mechanics don't care either. March 21 is the spring equinox and we will celebrate it today with a barbecue. It's been our tradition since last century to fire up the grill on the first day of spring. After my father died in 2005 we changed our spring ritual to visiting the ocean and toasting him, but today we revive the barbecue. It will be a great pleasure to bring friends together and enjoy each other's company and feast to new beginnings. Plus we're having a tinfoil hat competition and my friend Sareh is adding in her Iranian new year traditions with a haft sin table and decorated boiled eggs. It will be fun and we'll be sure to remember the departed as well. (You're invited, of course. Join us anytime after 3; bring something to grill. I promise not to cough on your food.)

After a lot of napping yesterday, I dragged my fevered brow out of bed and to the supermarket to get the necessary supplies.

I was really hoping for some exotic portobello mushrooms, though I doubted there would be any, what with food shortages and all. Hahahaha, joke's on me. I got ten gorgeous mushrooms! And asparagus. Pretty much every vegetable I could desire was available. The in-store bakery was churning out baguettes and pizzas. The deli section was full of salads, sushi, and lunch boxes. Aside from a definite lack of milk and a minimum of rice, the store looked as well-stocked as usual. I got lots of tinfoil, too, for our millinery competition. And two cartons of eggs to boil and decorate in the Iranian tradition.

So we are ready to have a great celebration, thanks to the hard work of everyone in the food supply chain. I wish I had time to do some research into the way it works so we all could understand exactly what a feat it is to keep our metropolis well fed, but I have to go make some coleslaw now.

Happy spring!


I hope you share photos of those hats! Happy Spring.

Dear Kristen,
I am one of Elizabeth Andoh's friends from New York; I was the senior articles editor at Gourmet before the magazine folded a year ago, and Elizabeth and I were colleagues for many years. I was thinking about writing something about Elizabeth on my blog at, and happened to find online a marvelous photo you took of her; she is teaching cooking class and demonstrating the usefulness of long chopsticks. Would it be possible to use that photo on my blog? I will of course print a photo credit if you send me your full name....
Thinking of everyone, of course, in Japan during this dreadful time....And I must tell you your blog is wonderful--it gives a great sense of place, and I can't wait to subscribe.
With all best wishes,
Jane Lear

one of my favorite pics of your dad is of him standing in the backyard with a spatula, probably getting ready to flip a burger. hmm grilling sounds good but i think it might rain again today. happy springtime!

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