RE: Dispatches from Akune (Full Version)

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estebanana -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Jul. 9 2013 5:55:11)

I just watched a show in Mt. Fujis watershed. Scientists don't know where all the water goes, but Fujisan sheds less water on the surface than other mountains of its size.

The sides of Fuji are covered in ancient pyroclastic flows, sheets of lava, and the lava is riddled with large tubes that were formed by gas expanding in the cooling lava. As the snow melt off of Fuji trickles down the sides of the mountain it finds its way into gas tubes in the layers of lava crusts and turns into underground rivers.

The rivers bubble up far from the slopes and create springs and streams down on the lower flatter lands. The waters issuing from these springs is very clean and the people or communities that live in those areas protect the well and spring heads using them to collect drinking water. Farmers treasure the waters of Fuji for growing specialty crops.

Wasabi, the hot green lump that comes beside your sushi, is a root grown in pure, clear shallow running streams. A stream bed with 6" or less of water and very wide makes a good spot to grow wasabi. The farmers who tend the streams and the root crop often have small very organically constructed shrines near the stream to leave small offering of gratitude to nature for providing them with water pure enough to grow the wasabi. A shrine could be as simple as a bough from a tree stripped of branches and left in a horizontal position at the forked base of a big tree to serve as a shelf to leave offerings.

The farmers can pull a wasabi root like a carrot, wasabi looks likem a bright green cross between a carrot and a clump of ginger. To test the taste of the hot green paste that goes with your sushi, all the farmer has to do is break the wasabi in half and rub it on a flat rock mid stream to grate off a slurry of the root. The farmer in the program did this for the presenter and she tasted the wasabi straight from creek to cheek while squating in the stream. It must have exploded in her mouth; she cupped several palms full of Fuji water in an effort to calm the wasabi nose burn. It was funny.

estebanana -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Jul. 24 2013 14:29:51)

What was it Bilbo said when he left the party:

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like. And I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

I don't feel that way exactly, but it expresses half of my feelings for more than half of the crowd. [:D]

I have to go work something out that has to do with "interpersonal relations" on the foro. Should you want to find me, send an email or look for me on facebook.

Enjoy your flight!

pink -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Jul. 24 2013 22:07:13)

Best to you Stephen....
I hope you won't be away too long....was just starting to know you and was enjoying the process of hopefully becoming friends.


Leñador -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Jul. 24 2013 22:26:00)

Awwwww, hate to see you go but love to watch you leave [:D] lol jk

I wish you the best of everything man and hope to have the funds to commission something cool from you one of these days. Go forth and represent California to the world!

See you soon!

El Burdo -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 3 2013 15:21:55)

Just came back from a quick week in Aichi and I nearly brought about the death of all around me twice. 1) I slept head to the North whilst jet-lagged. My Father in Law was wondering if he ought to turn me round 180º as I slept 2) I stuck my chopsticks upright in my rice as I reached for something. Only dead people do that apparently. Other than that we ate grilled eel in Jingu Mae, apparently a disappearing delicacy.

BarkellWH -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 3 2013 16:16:54)


I stuck my chopsticks upright in my rice as I reached for something.

The Chinese have that taboo as well. If you ever want to see a dinner table of Chinese turn anxious, watch them when someone who does not know better sticks his chopsticks upright in a rice bowl. The offending party will quickly be apprised of his indelicate table manners.



estebanana -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 4 2013 14:10:25)


Only dead people do that apparently. Other than that we ate grilled eel in Jingu Mae, apparently a disappearing delicacy.

When you go to funeral there is bowl of rice offered to the deceased and the hashi ( chopsticks) are placed in the bowl standing straight up. Then a few of the the remains of the cremated bones of the deceased person are passed with hashi by family members from one person to another. The bones are passed first by the oldest son if the parent has died or the wife or husband when one or the other dies. The ceremonial parts of the funeral are conducted by either a Shinto priest or Buddhist monk and have deeper meanings in those traditions of you want to research them. For example the Shinto priest will determine which bones are the ones that are important to handle and pass though the family, all the bones can't be passed into vessel in the time allowed, so certain bones have symbolic significance and go first.

So two things you never should do with East Asians present is pass food from chopstick to chopstick when sharing meals and never stick your hashi into the bowl standing straight up. These two gestures are deeply ceremonial with respect to funeral traditions. Even in the US many Asian American families will take offense or at least wince visibly and say something to the extent of please do not do that.

Unagi, the eel, is under a lot of fishing pressure and the prices have gone up this year in accordance to how difficult it is to get. A lot of the eel is coming from Indonesia as fingerling eel and being raised on farms. Wild eel is getting more rare, but like any resource it will eventually come under more strict fishing rules until it rebounds.

What is to be done with you gringos?

I'm using impulse control to sit on all the wonderfully barbed and sarcastic things I can say with respect to how pissed off I still am, but I realize it's merely my attachment to the earthly plane that feeds my discontent. So until I sever the attachment to the foro I'll give you gringos your Japanese culture lessons, but from now on there will be no more Mr. Nice Guy from Bananachan!

Don't expect much.

BarkellWH -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 4 2013 15:39:33)


So two things you never should do with East Asians present is pass food from chopstick to chopstick when sharing meals and never stick your hashi into the bowl standing straight up.

Definitely good advice, Stephen. And good to continue reading your comments as you deem it appropriate to post them.

One thing that is considered an elegant gesture among Chinese at the dinner table is to honor the person sitting next to you by using your chopsticks to convey food from the various communal dishes to his (or her) plate. To do so not only honors the person to whom you have conveyed the food, it also marks you as one who has achieved a level of courtesy a step or two above basic etiquette.



Richard Jernigan -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 4 2013 18:20:15)

It is always a joy to eat sushi with Larisa. She loves it. She is knowledgeable about it. Her cheerful and outgoing disposition always makes for lively conversation with the chef, his assistants and with others sitting at the bar. It's a hoot.

But I inevitably notice for a moment that she doesn't pour out my soy sauce into the little dish for me. I'm ashamed to notice it, and I would not ever say anything to her about it. As soon as the food is served and the conversations begin, I forget about it.

Odd how we can adapt to foreign courtesies, and miss them when they are absent.

And it is interesting how local custom acquires the effect of absolute reality in its neighborhood. One of my more entertaining cases of culture shock involved my momentary inability to conform to the fact that in southeast Asia, how you look is far more important than what you say--and I was telling the absolute truth.


pink -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 4 2013 20:38:25)




estebanana -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 5 2013 1:18:04)


But I inevitably notice for a moment that she doesn't pour out my soy sauce into the little dish for me. I'm ashamed to notice it, and I would not ever say anything to her about it. As soon as the food is served and the conversations begin, I forget about it.

I'll make a video about pouring things which you can slyly and "accidentally" watch with her.


You know I hold you in high esteem as a gentleman, radarist and master story teller. But I have to show this, after we made it she said "I'm Yuko and I approve of this message." [:D][:D]:
I removed this now that we all got the joke.

El Burdo -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 5 2013 16:09:49)

Do you get these guys Bananasan?

Richard Jernigan -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 5 2013 17:25:54)


ORIGINAL: estebanana
after we made it she said "I'm Yuko and I approve of this message."

I already said I was ashamed of myself.[8D]

Once in a great while I do remember to pour for her, but....ingrained habit--bad habit in this case--was meant to be the point.

Now that I have been publicly shamed, perhaps I will improve. Thank you, Yuko.

estebanana -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 6 2013 0:44:38)


I was not trying to shame you further, just tease you into telling a long story.....[;)] If you and your gal pass through Japan on your next adventure, I'll be pouring the beers for both of you.


Cicadas, yes I'm familiar with them. To familiar in fact. There are two kinds, each species makes a different sound and each species will make the biggest John Cage doubter long to hear his music instead of cicada buzzing 24-7.

jshelton5040 -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 10 2013 23:25:37)


I don't normally read the off topic forum so just recently discovered these excellent pages of your adventures in Akune. Thank you for using your valuable time to send off these notes. I've enjoyed reading them immensely (everyone else's as well). I spent some time in Okinawa playing guitar in a resort hotel so can relate somewhat to your experiences.

I selfishly hope you continue to keep us informed.

estebanana -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 11 2013 5:55:02)

Thanks, I'll see if I can muster some story. BTW I got to see a really nice guitar of yours when Stan O. came to hang out for a few days.

Stay tuned.....

jshelton5040 -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 16 2013 0:09:52)


ORIGINAL: estebanana

Thanks, I'll see if I can muster some story. BTW I got to see a really nice guitar of yours when Stan O. came to hang out for a few days.

Stay tuned.....

Was it the cedar top negra? It's such a good guitar it's a shame about the finish problem. We have since switched to another brand of lacquer which seems to have solved the problem with the cold checking. We have agreed to replace the guitar at his convenience. The new guitar is excellent and hopefully as good as the first one (isn't it interesting how one cannot remember the sound of a particular guitar after building so many? Then again maybe it's just old age).

Stan told me that he was very impressed with your skills and grateful for your hospitality.

estebanana -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 16 2013 2:11:13)


Was it the cedar top negra? It's such a good guitar it's a shame about the finish problem. We have since switched to another brand of lacquer which seems to have solved the problem with the cold checking.

I saw the blanca, which was very impressive. I liked playing it, if you call what I do playing. I was sort of pawing at it. Stan told me about the situation with the negra and it is a shame. There's video a Youtube of Stan playing yours an mine together to compare different kinds of flamenco sound. Check out my channel and look for Stan's name.

This week is Obon here in Japan. An interesting week because several things are happening; The National High school baseball tournament is being played, and they play great baseball. All the kids who compete play in the pro stadium near Kobe. After they play their game the players get down on the field and scoop some of the infield dirt into an equipment bag to take home to remind them of the tournament. They will never get to play in that league again or in that pro stadium unless they turn pro. Right now Okinawa is playing Awamori..Okinawa might lose.

Obon is also the week where the altars in the homes are lit with lanterns at night and relatives drop by to say a prayer. The butsudan in our house has some lanterns in front of it which are modern that remind my of disco lights because they revolve. Tonight after dark there will be a ceremony at the river where they will let candle lit lanterns float down the river.

Back to work...I'll continue soon.

jshelton5040 -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 16 2013 18:02:32)


Thanks for the link to the video of Stan. Very enjoyable and interesting.

estebanana -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 18 2013 10:09:05)

Here's one that is not exactly all about Japan, I'll get back to Obon week later, first a word from our sponsor:

Shade Tree Cello Mechanic

( I need to edit a few things to smooth it out, but dinner is calling. )

I’m a Sunday cello maker, Monday through Saturday I make guitars. I sneak in a few hours during the week to work on the cello when glue is drying on guitar assemblies. The cello has been along time on the process, I started it in 2010, had to put it away to build guitars and other intricacies of life seemed to get in the way of finishing it. It is not the first cello I’ve started that will be constructed from scratch, but this one will get finished of the next few months.

When I was in high school my after school job was rebuilding celli. I was paid $3.80 an hour to help Mr. Tenney refurbish the celli he had collected in antique buying trips he took with his wife who was a dealer of old stuff. He first employed me to strip old dressers and frames and revarnish them to serve as the mid range priced merchandise in this wife’s shop called Fiddler’s Cove Antiques. She also had some dandy pieces that we did more subtle restoration work on. After a few weeks of laboring on the back patio burning my forearms with old Jasco stripper, much more caustic and effective than the highly regulated a wimpy product we have to settle for today, Mr. Tenney moved me into the shop to begin to work on violins, celli, basses and the more rare antique pieces for Mrs. Tenney’s shop. I think his motivation for moving me to the inner sanctum was three fold: He needed help and I had trustworthy hands, strong back, and an honest lad. He wanted to contribute to my future well being by giving me a vocation what could generate supplemental income should my career as trust funder from a poor family go sour. And that he needed captive audience for his ribald jokes and earthy Depression Era sayings.

He was fond of cussing out inanimate objects that were not processing well through his idea of how they materialize into objects ‘d art. I have memory of so many Tenneian sayings, but one of my favorites was when a piece of wood or other material was not strong enough for the task he could get mad and tell at it. “ You damn piece of ****, why you’re so weak you could not pull a sick whore off a piss pot!” Then he would glare at me and get mad at me. “What in the Christ are you looking at? And why are still sitting on your ass when you should be going to Gerard’s Market to buy a half gallon of chocolate ice cream!” The rhetorical questions never ended whether they were admonishing me to go buy candy or hamburgers or he was cross-examining an uncooperative bow he was making.

Once I got moved into the shop one of the tasks I had to do was make abalone and mother of pearl slides for the frogs on his bows. I would go into the back room and stand at the water covered electric lapidary wheel and polish strips of abalone shell I had used a jewelers saw to cut from raw shell. Then as I would leave for the day around five o’clock he would follow me out the gate and say ”Don’t tell your grandmother I put you in the back room making pearl. She’ll have my ass for that.” I gathered that ‘making Pearl’ was old navy guy talk for making out with a girl named Pearl.

Between the jokes and stories about his days as a WPA artist during the depression we got a lot of work done. And I learned many things I never would have learned in college. Mostly things that I can’t use that were are useless as going to college so I broke even and got paid $3.80 to listen to some damn fine comedy. Eventually I did to go college and many things I learned in the shop put me at the head of the class, but college cost much, much more for things I already knew, and the jokes were terrible.

The Tenney’s had a storage room, or several storage rooms they would hold their treasures in. One room was full of cellos they had collected while on antique gathering tours. My main job as it turned out was to pull out those instruments and put them in working order so Mr. Tenney could sell them to cellists. Some of them needed minor work and others complete over hauls. It almost always involved at least removing the top and giving it a check over. You remove the top of a cello by slipping a thin knife into an open seam between the ribs and top. Then moving the knife carefully around the rim of the ribs to release the top for the rib assembly, the trickiest part is often under the fingerboard where the top is glued to a heavy end block into which the neck is set. If you could pop the top off oat the tail and neck blocks the rest was usually a piece of cake, unless some idiot used white glue to put the top on. The hide glue used on violin cello viola tops is mixed with a lot of water to make it weaker than the joints of the rest of the cello. The weak glue is what allows you to knife the tops of instruments without damaging them. But as Mr. Tenney would say when “Some dirty turd rolling bastard used white glue…” the top removal process would be much more difficult.

Once I had removed the top from a cello we were going to restore we would sit down together and go through the inside of the instrument make notes about what needed to be addressed; grafts, cleats, cracks, broken linings, patches, there could be many problems. We would set up a plan of attack by drawing up an order to do the repairs. One type of repair might be necessary before anther repair could be done, or several conditions could be worked on concurrently, but staging the work was our concern in the first meeting. Many of the celli I worked on were not high-end instruments 75% were good and better quality ‘trade fiddles’ usually factory produced in the late 19th or early twentieth century. This gave me the opportunity to work up my restoration chops while not risking expensive rare instruments, although high-end instruments did come to the shop regularly for adjustments. These celli turned out to be nice instruments some suitable for professionals, most intended to be advanced student instruments or more affordable professional instruments. In the early 1980’s these celli were in the $3500.00 to $15,000.00 range. I worked for Mr. Taney for four years, and I visited him every year for few weeks to work in the shop and stock up on jokes. After we had put together four or five cellos in the first two years I was in the shop, he sold a few of them along with some rare Acoma pottery, a couple of old Kachina’s and Persian rug and took his wife to tour Europe on a three moth antique buying junket.

The full and detailed antics of Mr. Tenney are fair game for a book, which I may put together later, but for now I’m having good time remembering him by building cello for myself. I’m toying with the idea of using the label ‘Stephen Faulk alumnus Burdell Tenney’ which in Latin means ‘student of Tenney.’ Besides the restoration an rebuilding of cellos which he sold a shop merchandise, he also allowed me to look at the Italian masterpieces by Grancino, Testore, Storioni, ….which either passed through the shop or he owned. I was able to study these Italian violins on a daily basis for several years, and augment my studies with the deep piles of Sotheby’s Auction of Fine Instruments catalogs he subscribed to. He had every Sotheby auction catalog of Italian instruments from the late 1950’s through 2000….I checked the updates every year I visited. There was always a selection of catalogs on the book shelf next to the toilet, usually a dozen or so of the olive green covers. Together with real McCoys laying I state on the top of the Beethoven era Chickering piano, the catalogs provided a wealth of information about Italian nuance and style. I hope some of that ribs off on the cello I’m making now. Because the catalogs often were studied in situ in the bathroom, I’ve been flirtiing with the title of the possible book about Mr. Tenney the renaissance man and one of my favorite teachers, how about calling it: ‘On a Throne with Stadivari’

estebanana -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 20 2013 12:11:25)

Satsuma Imo

I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between culture shock and the surprise of learning something new about another culture. Some experiences are a systemic shock, for me lack of peanut butter in the stores is a source of constant cultural irritation. Difficulty with a new language is a more serious shock, but linguistic difficulty is often accompanied by delicious surprises, both literary and literal.

Satsuma Imo means Kyushu sweet potato, Imo means potato. I find this very funny because when I was growing up there was an imitation sour cream product called Imo.

In the 6th month, June, I was fishing on the Akune jetty late one afternoon. The jetty is long, it juts out into harbor almost a mile. I was out at the tip, fishing by the light tower. I’m told in the 9th month that Sawada can be fished off the jetty if you’re lucky. Sawada is Spanish mackerel, and it’s one of my favorites. It’s in my opinion the most tuna tasting of the mackerel, not to discount the wonderful saltyness of cured Saba, a slightly smaller member of the mackerel family. In the 6th month you can catch the usual Arakabu, you can fish for Arakabu all 12 months in fact. Arakabu are a kind of rock fish, a coastal hugging version of the bigger Ling Cod. A good Arakabu can get five pounds, but most of them that I catch are under a pound. It’s like eating a tender little sea bass, a large arakabu can be cut into sashimi too. We poach them lightly in a pan of miso soup, sake’ and shoyu, with a pinch of sugar which is a Kyushu style. Sometimes the food here is too sweet, but the regional style of cooking in Kyushu tends to be sweet. I suppose you could cook a largemouth bass or any other ocean rock bass fish this way with good results, with or without sugar.

That day of arakabu fishing I heard a wailing sound coming from shore. Sound travels well over the water, but this was coming from the roads in the hills of town. It sounded like a long drawn out chant. Each syllable was held on an open vowel and sung:


It repeated over and over in threes:




What the chanter was really saying was: Ishiyaki-imo, or ‘stone roasted sweet potatoes’.

The chant was coming from a truck with a bullhorn mounted on its roof and the driver was chanting through it to attract customers to buy his stone grilled potatoes. Sour cream not included on this traditional dish.

This way of selling goes back to the days when men and women would push carts of roasted potatoes around town and cry out Ishiyaki-imooooooooooooo! But to my western ear the chanting sounded like a monk chanting a sutra or a religious call to observe a ceremony or something. So I listened intently when I first heard the chanting thinking I best be vigilant to learn about another of Japan’s intricate ceremonial culture. I gave it my earnest attention thinking I was hearing a solemn recitation of a text I should know about. I admit I felt silly when I learned the true meaning on Ishiyaki-imo, literally Stone Grilled Potato(e). It was a cultural DQM or what I call the ‘Dan Quail Moment’.

In the 8th month comes Obon, a ceremony week like a mixture of Dia de los Muertos & Buddhism only without Mexican stuff. But lanterns are lit at home altars for deceased relatives and there is a ceremony that takes place at night by the water; lanterns are released into the river and allowed to flow into the sea. That is the part that reminds me of Dia de Los Muertos, altars and lit paper lanterns, offerings of food and gifts. Beautiful night time pageantry coupled with the solemnity of remembering ancestors.

Without going into too much discourse about how and why Obon happens, I refer you to Wiki if you want to get the facts, and just the facts. But lets steer away from religious pedagogy, and if you will allow me to share with you a photograph of the river ceremony, you may see what I mean. Does it look like Frida Kahlo will just jump out and grab you any minute?

I will post the scritchety-scratchety video I made of the lantern boat circling in the water in front of the crowd while we watched the lanterns float out to sea. Some Japanese people around me were weeping, so I just stayed quiet and observed. In the video you will hear the monks chanting, you can imagine the driver of the satsuma roasted tuber truck intoning his sales pitch much the same way. He used a very similar tone of voice and meter. No wonder I thought it was a call to a ceremony.

Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

estebanana -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 20 2013 12:13:25)

I very shaky video of the lanterns. I wanted you to hear the monks chanting.

The ceremony is called Shoryo nagashi.

keith -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 20 2013 12:38:20)

estebanana, i guess the water-cooler debates about which peanut butter is better are a rarity.

BarkellWH -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 20 2013 14:14:56)

Thanks for the photo and description of Obon, Stephen. It reminded me of two separate Thai festivals that occur simultaneously in northern Thailand, primarily centered on the 700-year old city of Chiang Mai. I had the great good fortune to have been assigned to a four-month gig at our Consulate General in Chiang Mai in 2006, from mid-August to mid-December, and since both Loi Krathong and Yi Peng occur during the 12th lunar month of the Thai calendar, which generally falls in November, I got to see and participate in both.

During Loi Krathong, each night small boat-like floats, consisting of banana tree bark topped with flowers and a candle, are set loose on the river by thousands of people. They are meant to carry away hate and negativity, and to pay homage to the river. It is a sight to see, as thousands of the floating "krathong" with flickering candle light are on the river carried along by the current.

During the same time as Loi Krathong, the festival of Yi Peng occurs. It entails the release of thousands of rice-paper "balloons" at night, with a lit-candle under the rice-paper balloon canopy providing both the hot air powering the balloon upward and a point of light in the night sky. Hundreds are released at various intervals and they float quite high, making it seem like stars and constellations are moving around in the night sky. A beautiful sight.

I have always appreciated the way many Asian cultures utilize floating candle light, rice-paper balloons, kites, and other low-tech instruments in the celebration of their various festivals. Just as I enjoy and appreciate the US Southwest's Mexican tradition at Christmas of lining a walkway with "luminarios," small paper bags filled partly with sand and with a lit candle inside.



estebanana -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 24 2013 0:50:16)


i guess the water-cooler debates about which peanut butter is better are a rarity.

They happen once a week in the kitchen when I bitch about no peanut butter. I came with two jars and nursed them until they were empty. The only Japanese food I don't like is natto, and I'll eat it if I have to. Natto is fermented soy beans, yuck.

It's unfair! They tease me about my American peanut butter, but I eat everything else here. But I'll get my fresh supply soon. We live near the water so we go fishing an catch a bunch of fish an then send them to relatives who live in the big cities. Japan Post has this cooler box you can pack with frozen fish and send 400 miles for about ten bucks. Really a good deal.

I have a college friend who lives in Tokyo and soon I'm going to send her family a box of Arakabu. They can send me some peanut butter in return.

Ever eat mentaiko? Yum....

BarkellWH -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 24 2013 1:04:14)

When I was a kid, I loved scooping a large table spoon of Peter Pan creamy peanut butter up and licking and eating it right off the table spoon. I still enjoy it today. Man, I love peanut butter!



guitarbuddha -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 24 2013 2:49:03)



When I was a kid, I loved scooping a large table spoon of Peter Pan creamy peanut butter up and licking and eating it right off the table spoon. I still enjoy it today. Man, I love peanut butter!



Good God yes, I'm gonna have a spoonful right now.[:)]


guitarbuddha -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 24 2013 2:52:45)


Why not buy some peanut kernels and toast them in the oven till you suspect you no longer like the look of them. Then place in a blender with a little salt and just enough peanut oil to lubricate the blades and whizz whizz till it looks right.


estebanana -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 25 2013 13:09:11)


Why not buy some peanut kernels and toast them in the oven till you suspect you no longer like the look of them.

We don't have an oven, not the kind you would recognize as something to bake a cake in. I also thought about eventually getting food processor or mill of some kind, but I blender won't do the job.

I'm going to try to work my Tokyo connection. The other really difficult thing is your kitchen counter is designed for shorter humans than me. I love cooking, but I hate our kitchen counter, it comes up to the middle of my thighs. It's not fun for me to cook and lean over the counter.

guitarbuddha -> RE: Dispatches from Akune (Aug. 25 2013 13:55:54)

No oven no problem, pan fry with hot oil (groundnut naturally) and a pinch of salt. I leave the skins on. Let cool well before blending. (if you are going to use as sweet then a little brown sugar can be stirred in at the start of the cooling)

I have done this in the blender for real, peanut butter can be hard to find in France and a bit anemic for my taste. I needed some to make Satie which mi girlfriends fathers partner loves. I used a standard upright blender with a 1.5 cm blade at base.

If you are having trouble with the blender then you have not been using enough oil. Short bursts at the start to try and get some oily pulp going and then it gets easier. You can get things going with a handheld stick plender if you use a deep bowl to avoid spray and have a little patience. Once you get enough oily pulp it gets easy.

If you use little sesame oil in with the blender let it cool in a sterilized (or don't sterilize if you know you wont make it last) and then keep in the fridge.

I promise you you will never have had better peanut butter.



Low work surfaces are an abomination, they would keep me out of the kitchen too.

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