Gravy ‘n’ Rice
It is always a joyful occasion when introducing the Japanese to the miracle of gravy ’n’ rice.
This remarkable meeting of two culinary culture touchstones fuses these staples into a flavour unlike any other.
For certain the Japanese hold rice in the highest esteem in connection with the cultural significance of this sacred grain, and the evolution of Japanese civilization.
Of equal significant meaning, but of less cultural magnitude are the humble drippings of pork roast, which are then turned into gravy.
Indeed one’s beloved father, in the French Canadian tradition was deeply fond of porcine and the versatility of this staple.
In fact, he loved pork so much, he would save bacon grease to add to his world famous pancakes.
Not only were his pancakes excellent, he was also fond of (deep) frying eggs in bacon grease as well, something his spouse put a stop to later in his long life (June 15, 1935 ~ April 5, 2022).
Historically speaking, the Japanese do not roast whole pieces of meat or birds as Japanese kitchens are rarely equipped with a proper oven.
Indeed, the average Japanese housewife’s need for an over, or the concept of roasting something whole lies outside Japanese culinary protocol.
The only thing the Japanese housewife is roasting is a piece of fish, one for each member of the family in the ubiquitous fish grill, which is present in all Japanese kitchens.
It is because the Japanese do not have a concept of authentic gravy is exactly where the magic lies.
There are pretenders to the throne of sauces, such as the popular yet mundane demi glace, or other types of Japanese sauces (tare), which although delicious, can not match the heavenly combination of gravy ’n’ rice.
Eating gravy ’n’ rice for the first time is an enlightening experience for any Japanese person lucky enough to be offered gravy ’n’ rice and may only happen once in a lifetime.
One could say the meeting of sacred Japanese polished rice, and pork grease gravy, which is prepared by gently folding flour into pork fat while mixing the secret flavoured water, containing the hidden mystery of our clan’s gravy recipe invoking a somewhat religious experience.
It’s almost as if introducing the Japanese to gravy ’n’ rice created a fusion of Japanese and Occidental culinary civilization, in the unlikely combination of gravy ’n’ rice.
Adding authenticity to the complete meal entails roasted potatoes slathered with New Zealand grass-fed butter and a generous helping of fresh Aomori garlic.
Don’ forget a health drizzle of Australian macadamia nut oil, and a sprinkle of herbs and spices, which only adds to the perplexing menagerie of flavours one has coaxed out of the lowly potato.
Gravy can be successfully made from may different kind of fat drippings.
A traditional turkey dinner often related to Occidental holidays is a case in point.
For certain, there is a vegan recipe for gravy one can smear all over veggies and indeed even fruit until the heart has become content.
Here one would only need to substitute a vegetable soup cube and other magic (salts, herbs, spices) available to those who chose not to eat the carcasses of dead animals.
Perhaps one can consider gravy ’n’ rice as a metaphor for foundation of a wonderful life.
The foundation of life is rice, and topped with gravy, adds variety and spice to life .