Invitation to Speak

M's teachers have been asking her lots of questions about me lately, trying to scope out whether or not I'd make good lesson material. She confirmed that I could probably manage to speak in Japanese and that I'm not a terrible cook, among other things. I must have qualified; I had a call today from the head of the year asking if I could participate in a general studies session/event on Sunday October 21st during a school open house and talk to the 7th grade about my first impressions of Japan and provide a recipe (and probably the actual cutting and cooking) for a "foreign" food that can be cooked over campfires behind the school and consumed at lunchtime with rice.

I suggested a big pot of minestrone soup, thinking that it might be economically feasible and epicurically (I know, it isn't a word, it just sounds like one) tweak-able to a simple enough flavor that the students won't waste the entire pot just because of too many tomatoes and a little oregano. It might not be particularly American, but neither is chili, either of which were more likely to be approved than Rocky Mountain Oysters (bread crumb clean-up is pesky and the hot oil is too scary over an open fire...even if I could find the proper ingredients locally).

They liked my idea and will be in touch with me again after they recruit a few other parents for manning the fires, chopping, stirring etc. They're hoping I can bring a few friends from other countries to talk about food and culture and things which may have surprised them when they first came to Japan too. I said I'd ask around but that most of my friends might not be available on Sunday or, if they were, might not be able to contribute to the menu. So...any takers?

The now bilingual recipe (which may just show up as gobbledygook on non-Japanese encoded computers), using local ingredients, is as follows:

Simple Minestrone Soup for 5 (100) people
5(100)人前分 かんたんミネストローネ・スープ
120 g (2.4kg) carrots, chopped 1cm角に切ったニンジン
90 g (1.8 kg) chopped cabbage適当に切ったキャベツ
1/2 (10) celery ribs, thinly sliced薄くスライスされたセロリ
1/2 (10) onion(s), chopped 1cm角に切ったタマネギ
1 (20) slices bacon, chopped 適当に切ったベーコン(optional)
3 g (60g) garlic clove, minced みじん切りニンニク
10 ml (200 ml) vegetable oil サラダ油
710 ml (15 l) water お水
1 (20) (14.5 ounce/ 411g) can(s) diced tomatoes, in tomato juice            
3 (60) beef, chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes固形スープ(コンソメ)
95 g (1.9 kg) cooked elbow macaroni 茹でたマカロニ
0.5 g (10 g) pepper胡椒
0.5 g (10 g) salt 塩

Saute carrots, cabbage, celery, onion, bacon and garlic in oil for 5 minutes. Add water, tomatoes and bouillon; bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in macaroni, salt and pepper; heat through.

A bay leaf or two and/or some oregano would be nice, but not necessary I suppose...