Friday, January 16, 2009

Amy's Kitchen

Amy got the idea just before the winter holidays began that she'd like to run a restaurant at our house for all her friends to come to, while she cooked. She started drawing up free tickets (she insisted it must be free) to hand out to her friends at school.

I managed to convince her that she should choose one or two days only to be 'open' and not just hang around at home all holidays! And I was saved by her own procrastination as she never did finish the tickets.

But I had promised her we would do it, so we did, with a few modifications - we did it at Jiichan and Baachan's house (so I wouldn't have to tidy up here!), have it only on one day, for one meal, and just ask a few relatives and a few of my friends to come. I only issued invitations on the morning of the lunch so not so many turned up, but just enough people came to keep Amy busy enough to realize that it was a bigger job than she had anticipated.

Menu: sausages, salad and an egg made to your specifications (fried, scrambled or Japanese omelet); rice and miso soup; fruit salad and ginger cookie for dessert; coffee

Dessert course

She made the cookies the night before, I only helped with the measuring and I put them in and took them out of the oven. She made the salad and the fruit salad by herself in the morning at home, I put the rice cooker on, and she made the miso soup herself, including the cutting of the vegetables.

She held up her end of the bargain and made most of the eggs - she can do fried eggs, scrambled eggs and Japanese-style omelets, so the idea was we'd have a set menu and the guest would choose which type of egg they'd like, which she would then cook up. I say 'most of' because Jiichan took over at one stage, much to Amy's chagrin. Nothing we could say could convince him that she can indeed fry an egg, because he saw her mess one up. She only messed that one because she was not used to using a non-non-stick pan, and he annoyed me too actually by just not listening when even I explained that she CAN fry an egg, she's just not used to that pan. On the other hand, he did teach her a neat new trick - to add a teaspoon of water and put a rice bowl upside-down over the egg to cook the white on the top. We were relieve Baachan wasn't there, we knew she would have just taken over completely. Why can't they just play along???

Lena was the waitress, which she got sick of, and I had to help out, but she kept going until the end too. All in all, both girls did a really excellent job.

The guests were very happy with their meals, and I think it looks like a very nice menu. I ate mine first actually, to give them a practice round before the first guest arrived. In the end there was me, my friend Keiko, one of the gasoline stand staff, Aunty Mie and Uncle Masamitsu, my friend Mari and her baby, and two 'obento' or take-out meals for Aunty Toyoko and her Daddy.

Several others who couldn't come expressed regret, and said they'll come next time! 'Next time' will be at home, to minimize grandparental interference. If they can't appreciate the charm of the situation and just think it's all a huge inconvenince to them, they can just miss out. Next time also, I think I'll charge 500yen, as it looks like quite a few people might come!


Anonymous said...

This is an adorable idea!!! She looks so cute in her Apron, sorry to hear the grandparents felt it was an inconvenience, but Amy will have a fabulous memory of this.. keep us updated on her next Bistro..

thefukases said...

Wow. You're amazing helping your girls follow their dreams like that. I had a cordial stall outside my house each summer when I was a kid but I charged for it. Amy's idea is much more ambitious and much more generous!

What was her take on the experience?

Rachel said...

Well, she wants to do it again, so I think that's a sign that it didn't go too badly for her. I think it was much more work than she had anticipated though, but I admire her for sticking it out. She's full of wonderful, creative ideas, most of which are left unfinished, so I wanted to finish this idea!

She's definitely decided to do it here, though, to avoid Jiichan and Baachan. We both were happy Baachan was out, as we both knew she'd fuss and interefere, but Jiichan was a bit of a surprise. At one point she sank to the floor, head in her hands, screaming. She's like that...

Her idea is a bit too generous. She is happy to charge next time though, and I don't think people will mind paying 500, do you?

gaijin wife said...

What a cool idea! Very nice pink apron too - and love the pic of Erica. She doesn't look all spotty?

I need to start a book of cool kid ideas. Good plan doing it at jiichans but bummer he took over for a while.

As kids I remember having a sweets night and making different kinds of sweets with sister and friend - we then pegged them in bags on the clothes line - very prettily. as you do. Parents and co got to eat sweets while they watched us dance. How exciting for them :)