Ta-Da! Here is the cover of MISO MAGIC ! You might notice that the illustrations look familiar. The talented Mizuho Fujisawa, who also worked on my first book, THE STAR FESTIVAL, brought her umami and magic to this book as well. I am so grateful for her beautiful artwork!
This book is special to me because both my parents played a huge role behind the scenes. MISO MAGIC was inspired by my mother, whose dislike for beans originated in the misogura behind her childhood home. Years of crushing beans in cedar barrels left an indelible mark on her memory. Consequently, she won't touch most beans, except for miso, soy sauce, and the sweet red bean variety in the Japanese dessert, diafuku. Being a good daughter, I use an old parenting trick and blend pureed beans into some dishes, tasty, nutritious, and beyond recognition!
I dedicated this book to my father because he was the one who instilled a strong work ethic in me from a young age. My dad served as a Marine and worked in the fields of electronics and calibration. He loved his job and valued education, discipline, and integrity. He found happiness in his work and provided a positive role model for me. My dad passed in 2012, but he would have loved to see my progress as an author!
But the recipe for this book was only the beginning. From there, the plot fermented into a heartwarming father-daughter relationship story. I hope you love it as much as I do!
MISO MAGIC was written during the pandemic, so I relied heavily on my mother's experience and personal research. Since I couldn't witness the process of making miso firsthand, I decided to create some on my own. Koji, miso's magical ingredient, became available at my local Asian market. Perhaps they sold it before I was aware of this ingredient. The image shows the batch I made. I will be sharing more about this process on Instagram later this year! I didn't have the proportions exactly right, and my style is to wing it! So the miso came out a bit salty. It is a perfect addition to my homemade soup broths! Full of umami! My next attempt will be to make the fermented rice (koji.)
In the summer of 2023, I finally visited a misogura (miso house) for the first time. A full-day excursion to a local brewery in Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan, did not disappoint. The live-size barrels brought to life the images my mother conveyed. It was well worth the three-and-a-half-hour trip to experience the tour and tasting. I left with three-year fermented miso, including their specialty miso made from rice grain instead of soybeans.
In my search to find miso production in Los Angeles, I stumbled on Omiso, a small business focusing on locally sourced, high-quality miso in the arts district downtown. These beautifully packaged miso balls are my favorite instant soup treat!
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