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Preface: Fridgin' Out: A Japanese Fridge in Cupertino, Pt. 1

Alright so this week I went through my parent's Fridge Door- which was immensely overwhelming, and I really did not have patience for it like I did with the first part. There is so much stuff in here from years and years ago- the containers are crusted with sticky condiment debris of god knows what. The DOH would have a hayday in here. And nothing is organized! I found a different kind of mustard in each level- kinda drives me nuts. Here are the highlights.

Level #1: Tea, lots and lots of fancy furikake, Grey Poupon mustard, an unopened yokan (red bean cake) in that bamboo leaf paper there, sesame dressing on the right.

I have no idea what this is- maybe truth serum? Mother is so tricky...

Supposedly "raw" caramel is all the rage in Japan right now. My aunt made me bring this back for my mom from Hokkaido.

Nameko mushroom slime. I love this stuff- I put it in noodle soups or grated daikon.

Level #2:

Oh god, look at this- things are stacked up and laying on their SIDES!!! Some nasty salad dressings, Lee Kum Kee XO sauces, sour cream from when I made truffles. There's a tube of karashi (japanese mustard) in there too, all crusted up. Ugh. Also yuzu kosho (yuzu pepper) that gives a great tang to soups.

Kewpie mayo- duh.

Zasai- pickled Chinese turnips. Crunchy goodness.

Gourmet curry flakes.

Ukon juice- I don't quite understand this but this too, is all the rage in Japan. It's some sort of vitamin packed citrus concentrate or something that can be added to juice or water. Can anyone expand?

Level #3: Lots of old crap that I don't want to touch here. Pre-mixed okonomiyaki powder and more condiments for rice, like tsukudani.

This is mine- Yakult, which is concentrated yogurt drink. I have one everyday for my calcium. It's Yamahomo's secret Pinkberry ingredient!

Cute little bottles of mustard and mayo. Cute, but I estimate that this is at least 4 years old.

Gourmet dried bonito flakes. This makes intensely good dashi (soup stock).

I have finally trained Mother to only buy organic eggs.

Chinese pidan eggs (thousand year preserved duck eggs). Often comes in congee- I love this although my parents don't. You can make this great salad with these!

WHEW!!! It's so scary in here, you never know what moldy mess you may find. Stay tuned next week for the freezer, where at the very least, the mold will be frozen.
Column: Fridgin Out


  • Kiwa, you’ve got to read last week’s post where Japanese mama’s weigh in! it’s hilarious!!!

    kayoko on

  • Dude, my mom was a hoarder too! We had two fridges growing up and both were constantly overflowing with crap. My dad (a neatfreak) would have a breakdown every few months and basically throw everything out while my mom cried on the kitchen floor about how she was planning on using that leftover tablespoon of mystery sauce for some future casserole… Is this like a Japanese thing?

    kiwa on

  • that brazilian stuff looks like propolis to me…

    sweetie Bird {RML} on

  • Ukon (sounds like Unko( shit)), aka turmeric is the best hangover cure. Have a sip before you go out to drink, and one more sip when you come back (this is the tricky part to remember to take that sip while intoxicated), your pain the next morning is significantly less. Trust me, I have loads of its powder version.

    Yamahomo on

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