In the Kitchen: A very post-modern Christmas to you

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One of our three trays of post-Christmas cookies. They were spice-flavored and tasted better than they looked!

My cousin and I decided to make cookies after finding a fantastic Christmas cookie deco set on sale at Sur La Table.

Kuhn RikonΒ at more than half off? Does syrup have sugar in it? Then, yes!Β We also test drove the Cuisipro decorating pen, which I have to say was a worthy non-sale splurge.

In light of the fact that this was Dec. 26 and also in honor of a trip to the SF MoMA earlier that day, we decided to forgo traditional Christmas colors (and cookie-decorating principles in general). We covered ourselves in bright pink and electric blue sugary icings well into the night and gave ourselves stomach aches sampling the goods. A very merry post-modern, post-Christmas cookie time, indeed.

Happy Boxing Day!

Kandinsky snowmen, Miro snowflakes and Klee stars for the sky!

Jess admires a Rothko at the San Francisco MoMa.

One of Dieter Rams' ten principles of good design, listed as part of an SF MoMA exhibit. Cookie makers, take heed!

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Koreanese bento #17: There’s no place like home

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Fried tofu and edamame nuggets with baby lettuce, radishes, cucumbers and multigrain rice; bell pepper kinpira and a berry-citrus fruit salad for dessert.

Ft. Lauderdale! The Everglades! The Keys! Napa Valley! A bevy of beautiful places and faces in a whirlwind week and a half.

I could never get enough of dolphins, anhingas, stingrays and miniature deer. Sleeping in a suite is all the better for having slept under the stars. And I love drinking beer at the No Name Pub on Big Pine Key, Fla., as much as I do sampling the wine pairings Ad Hoc in Yountville, Calif.

But have to say, I am so happy to be back home and making bento on this most beautiful of San Francisco days.

Koreanese bento #5: Invasion of the octopi

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Chicken sausage octopi invade unsuspecting bento box, feasting on the kimchi omu rice, edamame and fresh berries inside.

As I’m going through a Japanese cuisine cooking phase, I’ve been studying up a lot on the subject, watching video series on YouTube, like Cooking with Dog, and pouring over my favorite Japanese cookbooks in the tub (favorite pastime).

I’ve realized that sometimes I’m not sure if something is Japanese or Korean … For instance, the above-mentioned omurice. Now, I first ate the omelet-over-fried-rice dish while studying abroad in Seoul. We would slather ketchup all over the tasty egg and then dig in with one of those long, wide Korean spoons down to the steaming rice below.

But then, I look in my Japanese cookbooks, and there it is: omurice. So which one is it?

And then there’s the matter of rabbit-shaped apple slices. My mother made these for me my whole childhood. It was the only way I would eat apples, which I never much cared for … Even today, I never eat apples (thought I do love apple sauce, juice, pie, etc.) But I guarantee that if you slice an apple up like a bunny, I will finish the whole thing!

Then, earlier this year, I discovered the apple bunnies in the pages of The Just Bento Cookbook, which states that all Japanese kids grow up knowing and loving these tasty treats. What? They’re not Korean? How can that be?

A plate of apple bunnies, just like my mom used to make. I ate the whole thing.

But I guess growing up where no one else’s mom packed apple bunnies in their lunches, much less roasted seaweed squares and stinky kimchee, I had no one to compare with … There wasn’t another Korean kid in my class until high school and certainly no Japanese!

I guess in the end, it doesn’t matter whether apple bunnies or omurice originated in Japan or Korea. They’re still a part of what I see as my amorphous and ever-changing Asian-American culture/identity. But I’m still curious who invented them.

Here’s a video on making omurice on “Cooking with Dog.”