Fiction, Japanese, Loved-it, Well known books, Women's

What do fried potatoes have to do with books Or The Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

So I read a really enjoyable book this week. It was one I got for a voucher my friends gave me for my birthday, which was ages ago, but I only spent it last week. I got two books, one of those was The Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto.

This is a book I’ve wanted to read basically ever since I joined GoodReads. I think that must’ve been in 2012? Quite a while ago anyway. I would try to stalk it at the library, but it was just always borrowed. And it cost a lot on Amazon too. Which is why come 2016, I still hadn’t read one of the first books I ever put on my TBR.

So when I saw it at the book store two weeks ago, it wasn’t a hard decision at all! Even if it was a lot thinner than I had imagined it to be.

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A lot of people love this book. It’s hardly surprising that I turned out to be no exception to this.

The Kitchen is not what you expect it to be. Before reading a book, I rarely read up about it – I like getting to know a book first-hand, without any background. It’s much more exciting that way. I had put The Kitchen on my TBR some 2 or 3 years ago, so naturally I didn’t expect to remember anything I might have read on the blurb. But the name – The Kitchen – does hint at things. I thought that maybe it would be about a housewife? Middle age crisis? No?

As it turns out, it’s about.. Being lost, being found. Having emotions. Coming home to someone who you make your family rather than being born into a family with them. It’s about making decisions to act on your feelings instead of going with the flow and hoping it’ll work out. It’s also about loving life, living it with joy and understanding where you want your place in life to be.

Now that’s hazy, but you all know I don’t like giving away plot details. If I like approaching a book without spoilers, why shouldn’t I respect your right to do so?

So why is it called The Kitchen?

Because the kitchen is the tying element in this story. The main character’s connection to the world is the kitchen. It’s her lens of relating to the world. The kitchen might have nothing in particular to do with the story, but it’s Mikage’s (the main character) point of origin in this world.

And I feel like this story encourages us all to find this starting point. This part of the world that makes our lives tick. We’ve all got it, it’s just slightly different.

I wonder, what’s yours?

Now let’s talk about the header of the post. Fried potatoes?

Well, I just thought, the book is called The Kitchen, so why not add a recipe to my blog post? At the time I came up with that idea, I was cooking some really damn good curried potatoes. It’s my favorite go-to dish when there’s nothing in the house but taters and onions, basically. I think you’ll enjoy it too. And will you please excuse my inability to take normal photos. I swear, in a few weeks I’m taking an Instagram class.*

*not shitting you, it’s actually for my job 😂

So, if you’re cooking for two (or if you’re just exceptionally hungry), you will need about 4-5 potatoes (middle size to bigger, about the size of your fist if you’re a tiny lady like me, or about the size of a teen’s fist, if you’re a normal person 😂) and two onions. Later on, you will also need curry powder and some sour cream or milk. Or cream, if you want to feel totally posh about it.

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Cut them all up into strips, because they’re more aesthetically pleasing when the onions and the potatoes match in size and shape.

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You should add the onions first so they could soften (they don’t tend to do that when something else is fried along with them. Silly creatures), but you don’t need to brown them. In a few minutes you should add the potatoes because they take FOREEEEEEVER to cook. So just keep frying them on moderate heat, and let them have more oil because this dish is quite oil consuming.

After it has become somewhat soft (not cooked yet though), add the curry powder.

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My boyfriend is of the opinion that I put curry into too many different dishes.

I am of the opinion that curry powder never hurt any dish whatsoever. ‘Nuff said.

After it has sat there a little (don’t forget to keep stirring), you should add a spoon or two of sour cream (or milk/cream). It’s hard to tell how much you’ll need, just add enough to make it sort of like a sauce. If you’re cooking with milk, it will take longer for it to evaporate into a sauce, so you should consider adding it earlier, before the potatoes are moderately soft.

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And then just keep stirring and cook till they’re soft. Don’t forget to add a little salt.

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I promise they taste better than they look.

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Over and out! Hope you will visit me again on my blog soon.

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

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Jeann @ Happy Indulgence
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Yummm that potato dish looks absolutely delicious! I am mesmerised by that little cake gif that you have put into your post. The book sounds really interesting being focused around the kitchen. Lovely post Ava!

Cait @ Paper Fury
Guest

THAT LOOKS DELICIOUS. *pretends is not considering eating computer screen* But seriously yyuuuum. And the book sounds really nice too! I won’t lie that I spent a long time looking at that little mini cake gif. And yay for reading a book you’ve been looking forward to for so many years! I generally forget what I wanted to read if I don’t try to read it immediately. I’m hopeless!!

Cait From Paper Fury
Guest

THAT LOOKS DELICIOUS. *pretends is not considering eating computer screen* But seriously yyuuuum. And the book sounds really nice too! I won’t lie that I spent a long time looking at that little mini cake gif. And yay for reading a book you’ve been looking forward to for so many years! I generally forget what I wanted to read if I don’t try to read it immediately. I’m hopeless!!

kimbacaffeinate
Guest

Ok, I am seriously hungry and gads I adore that you used a Doctor Who gif. From what you described of the Kitchen, the title makes absolute sense, particularly since it is the hub of the family home. Where we engage the most, socialize etc. So glad you read and loved it

Efka
Guest

Curry paste is always better than curry powder. 😛

Greg
Guest

Nice post! I’m hungry now so thank you lol. Seriously though the book does look interesting, I like the part about acting on feelings rather than going with the flow. Sounds like an inspiring read to a certain extent.

And thank you for visiting my blog! Nice to find yours and good luck with your blog. 🙂 Looks like you’re off to a great start!

Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews
Guest
I’m gonna make that potato dish one of these days! Sadly, most of my family aren’t big fans of curry, but I love it… Maybe I’ll make it when I have some friends over instead? If I were to write a story about my family, I think it could be called ‘dining room’ because that’s where we all see each other at the same time 😀 For breakfast, sometimes lunch, and then for dinner… it’s not all that often that we are all home at other times than when we’re eating – so The Kitchen kind of does make sense… Read more »