Growing up, my mom cooked a new meal and my family had dinner together every night. I always thought that was what everyone did, until I went to my friends' homes in high school and it was every man for himself!
Over the years, the older kids grew up and lived on their own, and the younger kids grew more independent, and meals became mostly my mom and dad. They could afford to eat out more often, too. I noticed take-home boxes more and more in their refrigerator, and after my mom's aneurysm surgery in 2007, I decided to come home and cook for them once a week. My older brother joined in the effort, and we were having family dinners together twice a week. Gradually we reduced to once a week and divvied cooking privileges between the four siblings. It became a family tradition that we are still continuing each week. This year I decided to document what we cook and eat.
I had a visitor in town over the New Year, so the first week's dinner was moved to Honda-ya, one of my favorite izakaya restaurants in LA. We went more for ambiance than food quality (their food is good, but there are other places that are better): we sat in the tatami section and ordered pitchers of beer and tons of food, reminiscent of days in Japan (where I met my friend, so brought back old memories).
It's Dungeness crab season, so last Wednesday we decided on seafood shabu shabu, adding salmon and shrimp along with the usual goodies (napa cabbage; spinach; enoki, shiitake, white and brown kinoko mushrooms; tofu; konnyaku; green onion). We used ponzu and lemon for dipping. It was delicious!
I'm looking forward to the culinary delights that are in store for us this upcoming year! I hope to come up with a better name than "Family Dinner." Suggestions are welcome!