Thursday, June 13, 2013

New Favorites

The two best foods that became popular in this area while I was away in Japan are Greek Yogurt and Hummus. Yogurt is quite popular in Japan.  My theory is that after milk was introduced post WWII in the non-fat dry powder variety* and universally disliked, the Japanese later discovered, I know not where or when, that you could ferment milk, add some fruit flavor and get the same nutrition. My Japanese friends confirmed the cultural idea that fermented foods are good for you. Beer, Soy Sauce, Natto, Sake, are all considered to have very healthful properties. 
*friends who lived through the post war period have told me that they figured that the Americans took all the best part out of milk before sending what was left for them to drink.

It seems that rather than making yogurt thicker, in Japan they make it runnier. The standard fruit flavored cups are very soft and the other favorite thing to do with yogurt is to add it to drinks. There are several very popular health drinks available in stores, not to mention the Yakult company. A veritable army of young women dressed in light green uniforms riding light green bikes make home deliveries of various kinds of health drinks made with fermented milk and a specific pro-biotic. Having just looked Yakult up on Google, I find that they have branched out to other countries including the US. 

Here, though, we've gone the other way and have adopted the strained yogurt that we attribute to the Greeks. It is thick and so creamy, even the non-fat kind. For me it was instant love. Several of the popular brands in this area have returned to leaving the fruit on the bottom rather than mixing it with the yogurt. What's not to love?

The other food is hummus, also from the Mediterranean, also with great nutritional value. Today I finally had all the ingredients I needed to make my own. It's really, really easy. Probably about $3 worth of ingredients for two full cups of hummus.  Next time I want to put in chopped Kalamata Olives. Yum.


  1. a fan of both things! In fact, I purchased tahini yesterday to work on varieties of hummus, using other legumes, like edamame and black beans :)

    1. Wow! Let me know how that works, especially the edamame one.