Saturday, August 1, 2015

Weekend Cooking: Bento Box in The Heartland by Linda Furiya

I picked up Bento Box in the Heartland for a couple of reasons. I love Japanese food and I like immigrant stories. Furiya was born in the US but her parent's immigrated from Japan. I enjoyed the stories Furiya told as well as all the recipes and food related tidbits.

Furiya grew up in small town Indiana in the mid 60's to late 70's. Her stories show the prejudice she faced and some of the hardships she and her family endured. I enjoyed the stories about her parents and how she was raised. I loved the stories about her favorite foods and how her mom prepared them. Furiya has 2 brothers but they are mostly mentioned in passing.

Furiya not only talks about the food but some of the traditions her parents brought with them. I liked the fact that her parents tried hard to bring a little bit of Japan to their small Indiana town. I also loved the relationship between her parents. Her mom was especially funny but her dad was kind.

A lot of the book talks about the foods her parents made and took them to eat. I loved her trip to Japan and all the yummy food details she includes. Japanese food wasn't easy to find in the Midwest when Furiya's parents arrived, They had to trek to big cities like Chicago to find ingredients. They would go every couple of weeks to stock up and even then her parents worried they would run out of ingredients. Her parents hoarded food and worried when they might not be able to make it an Asian grocery store.

Furiya includes a recipe at the end of each chapter. I decided to make gyoza. Her recipe is very similar to this one.
 I made a batch of just pork and cabbage and another batch with pork and kimchi (just mixed chopped up kimchi with the pork and a little sake).
First batch ready to be cooked.
The finished product!

I've never made gyoza before. It was a lot of work. I made 120 gyoza in about 4 hours. The cooking part took the longest. But they were delicious. Everyone loved them.

Furiya has another book about her time in China, How To Cook A Dragon. I might pick that one up too. Others who shared their thoughts on Bento Box In The Heartland: You Think Too Much, Shelf Life, and What Did You Eat?.
This is my fourth read for The Foodies Read Challenge.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


  1. Good job on cooking up so many! They look delicious. And the book itself sounds like one I need to add to my list

  2. I don't know a lot about Japanese food other than eating sushi and sashimi. Cheers from Carole's Chatter!

  3. Those look good, but I don't think I'd want to do all that work!
    Thanks for linking to Foodies Read!


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