Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Takoyaki Party

This post is dedicated to my old friend Cleo.
Aya and I had another takoyaki party on Sunday night. I guess people call takoyaki "Octopus Balls" in English which is hilarious. Takoyaki is associated with Osaka as a regional food.

When I was really little my family often went to the Hatfield Marine Science Center. They keep a giant pacific octopus in a tank at eye-level for kids. His name then was Cleo and I loved him. I used to think the red light on the Yaquina Bay Bridge meant that Cleo was awake. But then I grew up and forgot about him. One day last year I went to a sushi restaurant with my mom, and while happily munching on some octopus I saw her shaking her head. "I can't believe you can do that," she sighed. "Probably Cleo's cousin..." Whoa! Shock! Disbelief! Memories of my dear old ocean friend came rushing back. Tears filled my eyes.

"I hate myself," I whispered, and pushed my plate away to write a vow on a napkin. I drew an elaborate picture of an octopus and wrote out a promise to never eat octopus again unless under pressure of hospitality while abroad (in which case I generally eat anything). I stuck to it for months and then, well, to make basic takoyaki you mix water, eggs, special flour, and chopped cabbage. Separately you dice up one of Cleo's cousins.

You pour the batter into a takoyaki pan and drop a bit of friend into each sphere-shaped hollow. Once the batter cooks firm, you use skewers to turn it around in the hollows. It's really fun.

Miku, Aya, Kei, and Hiroki's hand flick some serious takoyaki.

Takoyaki's usually seasoned with takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise, bonito flakes, and that green stuff I like. You can put anything into takoyaki. I like it with kimchi and cheese especially since I don't have to hate myself that way.

P.S. Recently takoyaki pans have become an infomercial product in America. PANCAKE PUFFS! Oh my god, look at that infomercial. Hahaha. Warms my heart.


Beth said...

I actually still feel horrible about eating octopus. I don't even know how I can, because they're still one of my favorite animals. If you want to feel bad, too, check out how rad octopuses are (Wiki):

"In laboratory experiments, octopuses can be readily trained to distinguish between different shapes and patterns. They have been reported to practice observational learning, although the validity of these findings is widely contested on a number of grounds. Octopuses have also been observed in what some have described as play: repeatedly releasing bottles or toys into a circular current in their aquariums and then catching them. Octopuses often break out of their aquariums and sometimes into others in search of food. They have even boarded fishing boats and opened holds to eat crabs."

Man, that's it! I'm kicking this habit again.

selena said...

It may be anathema, but I can attest that tako-less yaki are really good too. I like mine with bulldog sauce. And if you're making them at home and feel that bad, just leave the dear cousin out of a handful and have those!

γ•γ‚‰γΎγ‚Š said...

Oh I'm sorry to hear about the story of Cleo and takoyaki. Yes, I understand your feeling about that.

I don't like takoyaki much, the sauces on it aren't to my liking but it must be very fun to make it at home with friends ^^

Oh yeah! I have see that pancake puffers infomercial haha!

Jen B said...

Thanks for that Beth. *sobs into cup of coffee* Seriously though, have been feeling emotional for completely random things recently; last one was the thought of what goes through a dog's mind those first few minutes after its owner closes the front door to go out. Being pack animals and all that. *blows nose*