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Re: Umeboshi.....eh?

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  • Jason Adams
    OK, so lets pretend Ive never eaten a plum before. Any kind. Lets also pretend my familiarity with Japanese cuisine ends with rice. Soooo... eh. The heated
    Message 1 of 23 , Feb 2, 2007
      OK, so lets pretend Ive never eaten a plum before. Any kind. Lets
      also pretend my familiarity with Japanese cuisine ends with rice.
      Soooo... eh.

      The heated debate over genus/subgenus/plum/apples/basil has made me
      even MORE confused! Im not from Belgium, so I dont really "get"
      waffles. Im not from Japan, so I realy dont "get" umiboshi :) see?

      America has lots of very nice "200 years ago our ancestors brought
      *this* over, look at how much *better* we've made it since then" going
      on. So if I wanted an AUTHENTIC umeboshi experience, I should be
      doing what?

      Should I just get the damned things off of Amazon??? LOL :) :) :)
      (geez, is there nothing you cannot get off of amazon?)

      Since amazon is better know for books, would there possibly be a
      recipe book they might carry as well? Something with "traditional" or
      "folk" japenese foods and the like?

      FYI, I ate at 'Shogun' (or something like that) ONCE. I liked the
      food ok, but it was pretty generic and very remincent of any Chinese
      take-out. Didnt impress me. HOWEVER, I tried the sake.....

      .... I didnt drive home :)

      Im sure theres an anecdote in there somewhere, but...eh.

      -Jason....eh.
    • Franzi
      ... As I see it, the debate runs thus: pro- plum side: Plums, apricots, and those Japanese ume things are all closely related. All are pretty different from
      Message 2 of 23 , Feb 2, 2007
        On Feb 2, 2007, at 12:36 PM, Jason Adams wrote:
        > OK, so lets pretend Ive never eaten a plum before. Any kind. Lets
        > also pretend my familiarity with Japanese cuisine ends with rice.
        > Soooo... eh.
        >
        > The heated debate over genus/subgenus/plum/apples/basil has made me
        > even MORE confused!
        As I see it, the debate runs thus:

        pro-"plum" side: Plums, apricots, and those Japanese ume things are
        all closely related. All are pretty different from each other.
        "Plum" is the translation everyone is used to for 'ume', so we should
        stick with it. This opinion is held by quite a lot of different people.

        anti-"plum" side: "Plum" conjures up a big, purple fruit in the mind
        of an English-speaker. "Apricot" is still inaccurate, but it's a
        better translation than "plum", half-baked traditions be damned!
        This opinion tends to be held by pedants and scholars, though many of
        them also favor just using 'ume' as a word of English.

        The basil issue: Umeboshi are made with a specific plant that is not
        basil. For some reason, the recipe that caused all this debate lists
        basil. Regardless of what anyone wants to *call* ume in English,
        even using the correct fruit, that recipe won't produce anything
        remotely similar to umeboshi.

        Just for kicks:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plum
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apricot
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umeboshi
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ume
        > Should I just get the damned things off of Amazon??? LOL :) :) :)
        Yes.
      • Solveig Throndardottir
        Noble Cousin! Greetings from Solveig! ... 1. The same plant is often classified differently by different botanists. 2. For culinary purposes, there can even be
        Message 3 of 23 , Feb 2, 2007
          Noble Cousin!

          Greetings from Solveig!
          > Wow, was that selective reading. Notice that I pointed out the ume
          > plum is both the prunus genus and subgenus. Being of both the genus
          > and subgenus, they differ only in very specific morphology, and --- as
          > someone just pointed out --- are probably even inter-fertile.
          1. The same plant is often classified differently by different
          botanists.
          2. For culinary purposes, there can even be significant difference
          between different varieties
          of the same genus.
          3. Richard Hosking in "A Dictionary of Japanese Food" classifies ume as:
          Prunus mume (Armeniaca mume)
          Kodansha Nihon Shokuzai Hyakka Jiten says that ume is a Japanese
          apricot
          The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Food says that the "Japanese plum"
          is Prunus salica NOT Prunus prunus or
          Prunus mume.
          4. My earlier identification of ume with with Prunus mume was not
          taken from Hosking, but was actually taken from
          Tyôzaburô Tanaka. Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the
          World. Edited by Sasuke Nakao. Keigaku Publishing
          Co., 1976. which I found at the Harvard Yenching Library.
          5. Prunus prunus doesn't even show up in the linean index of the food
          dictionary for the Cambridge Encyclopedia of food.
          The dictionary states that the European domestic plum is Prunus
          domestica which are frequently dried to make prunes.
          The dictionary also states that Prunus salicina only made it
          Japan about 300 years ago. According to the index, Prunus
          domestica is the "plum" or "cherry plum", Prunus salicina is the
          "Japanese Plum". The index does not list Prunus mume.
          The text entry for apricot (Prunus armeniaca) states that it was
          domesticated in China 5,000 years ago.
          6. The authors of Shoku Bunka Ron (ISBN 4-7679-1428-0) [see page
          86-87] state that ume are indigenous to Japan
          dating to before the Yayoi period.
          7. The plant name database at the University of Melbourne http://
          www.plantnames.unimelb.edu.au/Sorting/Prunus.html
          states that Armeniaca mume (Siebold & Zucc.) Carrière -> Prunus
          mume Sieb. et Zucc.

          Prunus mume Sieb. et Zucc.

          SYNONYM(S) : Armeniaca mume Sieb.

          CHINESE : Mei,  Wu mei (medicinal name),  (Ma mei -
          incorrect name, result of a bad transliteration).

          DANISH : Japansk abrikos.

          DUTCH : Japanse abrikoos.

          ENGLISH : Japanese apricot.

          FINNISH : Japaninaprikoosi.

          FRENCH : Abricot du Japon, Abricotier du Japon, Abricotier japonais,
          Prune du Japon, Prune d'ume, Prunier japonais, Ume, Umé.

          GERMAN : Japanischer Aprikosenbaum, Japanische Aprikose, Mumebaum,
          Schneeaprikose (Switzerland).

          ITALIAN : Albicocco del Giappone, Albicocco giapponese.

          JAPANESE:  Ume,  Ume, Ume no mi,  Miume.

          KOREAN : Maihwa.

          PORTUGUESE : Damasqueiro da China.

          RUSSIAN : Abrikos iaponskii, Abrikos mume.

          SPANISH : Albaricoquero japonés.

          THAI : Boir, Foung.

          VIETNAMESE : .

          > So don't teach old monks to suck eggs.
          Now that I have shared my sources of information. Please share yours.

          Your Humble Servant
          Solveig Throndardottir
          Amateur Scholar




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Solveig Throndardottir
          Noble Cousins! Greetings from Solveig! The problem with traditional translation is that you are prone to getting the wrong ingredient if you go to the store
          Message 4 of 23 , Feb 2, 2007
            Noble Cousins!

            Greetings from Solveig! The problem with traditional translation is
            that you are prone to getting the wrong ingredient if you go to the
            store and try to make stuff from scratch. For example, katsuo
            (Katsuwonus pelamis) despite anything it says on the packaging is not
            bonito. It is actually a skipjack.

            Your Humble Servant
            Solveig Throndardottir
            Amateur Scholar
          • chasrmartin
            ... I merely consulted my local botanist; I m an academic, there are lots of such folks around. I can get him to tell me what he consulted. However, note a
            Message 5 of 23 , Feb 3, 2007
              --- In sca-jml@yahoogroups.com, Solveig Throndardottir <nostrand@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Noble Cousin!
              >
              > Greetings from Solveig!
              > > Wow, was that selective reading. Notice that I pointed out the ume
              > > plum is both the prunus genus and subgenus. Being of both the genus
              > > and subgenus, they differ only in very specific morphology, and --- as
              > > someone just pointed out --- are probably even inter-fertile.
              > 1. The same plant is often classified differently by different
              > botanists.
              > 2. For culinary purposes, there can even be significant difference
              > between different varieties
              > of the same genus.
              > 3. Richard Hosking in "A Dictionary of Japanese Food" classifies ume as:
              > Prunus mume (Armeniaca mume)
              > Kodansha Nihon Shokuzai Hyakka Jiten says that ume is a Japanese
              > apricot
              > The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Food says that the "Japanese plum"
              > is Prunus salica NOT Prunus prunus or
              > Prunus mume.
              > 4. My earlier identification of ume with with Prunus mume was not
              > taken from Hosking, but was actually taken from
              > Tyôzaburô Tanaka. Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the
              > World. Edited by Sasuke Nakao. Keigaku Publishing
              > Co., 1976. which I found at the Harvard Yenching Library.
              > 5. Prunus prunus doesn't even show up in the linean index of the food
              > dictionary for the Cambridge Encyclopedia of food.
              > The dictionary states that the European domestic plum is Prunus
              > domestica which are frequently dried to make prunes.
              > The dictionary also states that Prunus salicina only made it
              > Japan about 300 years ago. According to the index, Prunus
              > domestica is the "plum" or "cherry plum", Prunus salicina is the
              > "Japanese Plum". The index does not list Prunus mume.
              > The text entry for apricot (Prunus armeniaca) states that it was
              > domesticated in China 5,000 years ago.
              > 6. The authors of Shoku Bunka Ron (ISBN 4-7679-1428-0) [see page
              > 86-87] state that ume are indigenous to Japan
              > dating to before the Yayoi period.
              > 7. The plant name database at the University of Melbourne http://
              > www.plantnames.unimelb.edu.au/Sorting/Prunus.html
              > states that Armeniaca mume (Siebold & Zucc.) Carrière -> Prunus
              > mume Sieb. et Zucc.
              >
              > Prunus mume Sieb. et Zucc.
              >
              > SYNONYM(S) : Armeniaca mume Sieb.
              >
              > CHINESE : Mei,  Wu mei (medicinal name),  (Ma mei -
              > incorrect name, result of a bad transliteration).
              >
              > DANISH : Japansk abrikos.
              >
              > DUTCH : Japanse abrikoos.
              >
              > ENGLISH : Japanese apricot.
              >
              > FINNISH : Japaninaprikoosi.
              >
              > FRENCH : Abricot du Japon, Abricotier du Japon, Abricotier japonais,
              > Prune du Japon, Prune d'ume, Prunier japonais, Ume, Umé.
              >
              > GERMAN : Japanischer Aprikosenbaum, Japanische Aprikose, Mumebaum,
              > Schneeaprikose (Switzerland).
              >
              > ITALIAN : Albicocco del Giappone, Albicocco giapponese.
              >
              > JAPANESE:  Ume,  Ume, Ume no mi,  Miume.
              >
              > KOREAN : Maihwa.
              >
              > PORTUGUESE : Damasqueiro da China.
              >
              > RUSSIAN : Abrikos iaponskii, Abrikos mume.
              >
              > SPANISH : Albaricoquero japonés.
              >
              > THAI : Boir, Foung.
              >
              > VIETNAMESE : .
              >
              > > So don't teach old monks to suck eggs.
              > Now that I have shared my sources of information. Please share yours.


              I merely consulted my local botanist; I'm an academic, there are lots
              of such folks around. I can get him to tell me what he consulted.
              However, note a few things:

              (1) Your identification of ume with prunus mume is exactly the same as
              I gave. Most of the rest of your accumulation of references is either
              beating our agreement on that to death, or simply non sequitur. I
              simply think "it's not really a plum" is a silly thing to say; the
              word in English is "plum". It's not "really" an apricot either. The
              word in English is still "plum." Lao Tzu said it, sorry you didn't
              catch the quote before: "The name that can be spoken is not a fixed
              name."

              (2) If you're going to make a big deal about the "linean index" you
              should probably learn to spell "linnean". After that, you should
              probably work on the distinction between a "dictionary of food" and
              formal botanical description.

              (3) And following that, you might consider whether being a pedantic
              self-important twit is really a productive approach to achieving a
              happy life.

              Mugyo
            • Jason Adams
              Ah, the ole wiki :) I should have looked there first! Itns nice to see community efforst inspired under the Wiki tradition. Ill have to see if I can dig up
              Message 6 of 23 , Feb 3, 2007
                Ah, the ole wiki :) I should have looked there first! Itns nice to
                see community efforst inspired under the Wiki tradition. Ill have to
                see if I can dig up an old college buddy who lived in Japan for a few
                years, maybe he can get me some of the real ume and Ill just salt the
                livin hell outta the little buggers and leave em in the sun and see
                how they turn out! :)

                If they're no good to eat, maybe they're good for slingshots?
                hhmmmm... I'd like to see that umeboshi made in 1576 now!!!

                -Jason

                --- In sca-jml@yahoogroups.com, Franzi <fdickson@...> wrote:

                > Just for kicks:
                > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plum
                > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apricot
                > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umeboshi
                > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ume
                > > Should I just get the damned things off of Amazon??? LOL :) :) :)
                > Yes.
                >
              • James Eckman
                ... I m positive that outside of 3-4 select areas in the US, that asking for umeboshi would get you a completely blank look. Asking in anything but an Asian
                Message 7 of 23 , Feb 3, 2007
                  > Posted by: "Jason Adams"
                  > America has lots of very nice "200 years ago our ancestors brought
                  > *this* over, look at how much *better* we've made it since then" going
                  > on.

                  I'm positive that outside of 3-4 select areas in the US, that asking for
                  umeboshi would get you a completely blank look. Asking in anything but
                  an Asian market in those select areas will probably get you a blank look.

                  > So if I wanted an AUTHENTIC umeboshi experience, I should be
                  > doing what?
                  >
                  > Should I just get the damned things off of Amazon??? LOL :) :) :)
                  > (geez, is there nothing you cannot get off of amazon?)

                  Yes. I haven't seen geisha advertised there yet, but perhaps I'm not
                  looking in the right location ;)

                  > Since amazon is better know for books, would there possibly be a
                  > recipe book they might carry as well? Something with "traditional" or
                  > "folk" japenese foods and the like?

                  Others on the list can give you good links to historical recipes, I have
                  a fairly modern book I often use;

                  http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Cooking-Simple-Shizuo-Tsuji/dp/0870113992

                  I will admit that I haven't tried the chicken sashimi recipe yet.

                  > Posted by: "Franzi"
                  > As I see it, the debate runs thus:
                  >
                  > anti-"plum" side: "Plum" conjures up a big, purple fruit in the mind
                  > of an English-speaker.

                  Growing up near the plum capital of the US, I guess I missed that
                  connotation. When I go to the farmers market, sometimes I can't even
                  figure out what's a plum unless they label it!

                  "Apricot" is still inaccurate, but it's a
                  > better translation than "plum", half-baked traditions be damned!

                  Part of the problem is that ume that most of us see never one ripened! I
                  think they get a ruddy golden when they do. Some of the weird plum
                  varieties I've seen are kind of like that as well.

                  > Posted by: "Solveig Throndardottir"
                  >
                  > Greetings from Solveig! The problem with traditional translation is
                  > that you are prone to getting the wrong ingredient if you go to the
                  > store and try to make stuff from scratch. For example, katsuo
                  > (Katsuwonus pelamis) despite anything it says on the packaging is not
                  > bonito. It is actually a skipjack.

                  I've never lived in an area without Japanese markets so I've not been
                  forced to that extreme yet. I have dried fish before, but I'm sure
                  there's a trick to get it rock hard like the Japanese manage to do.

                  > Posted by: "Solveig Throndardottir"
                  >
                  > Noble Cousin!
                  >
                  > 1. The same plant is often classified differently by different
                  > botanists.
                  > 2. For culinary purposes, there can even be significant difference
                  > between different varieties
                  > Now that I have shared my sources of information. Please share yours.

                  My Canon Wordtank has both as a translation, as well as Shogakukan! The
                  freeware JEDICT only has plum, the one I usually 'grab' when I'm on my
                  computer. (Might need to update!) Shogakukan uses plum though to
                  describe all of the derivatives like umeboshi, etc.

                  Enough to confuse anyone.

                  My cookbook also has a recipe for umeboshi which mentions as an aside
                  that almost every village in Japan has a special recipe for it. I've
                  also seen on NHK the farmers that put the bottles over the buds so that
                  the ume are grown in the bottle! That's pretty hard core, I suggest a
                  mason jar, which is appropriate for this type of liquor ;)

                  I'm also sure that you could probably cause a national riot if you made
                  a claim that only this one type of umeboshi is the real one. The other
                  99.9% would have to hammer you. It would be as bad as some of the ramen
                  wars ;)

                  Jim Eckman
                • Solveig Throndardottir
                  Noble Cousin! Greetings from Solveig! ... I don t recommend chicken sashimi in North America unless you raise the birds yourself. The problem with North
                  Message 8 of 23 , Feb 3, 2007
                    Noble Cousin!

                    Greetings from Solveig!
                    > I will admit that I haven't tried the chicken sashimi recipe yet.
                    I don't recommend chicken sashimi in North America unless you raise
                    the birds yourself. The problem with North American chickens these
                    days is that they generally have salmonella. This is a comparatively
                    recent problem. When I was in elementary school, raw eggs were still
                    considered safe. As for plums. We had two plum trees in our back yard
                    along with two apple trees and a bunch of berry vines.

                    > "Apricot" is still inaccurate, but it's a

                    You really have to put Japanese in front as Apricots are a different
                    species as well.

                    > I've never lived in an area without Japanese markets so I've not been
                    > forced to that extreme yet. I have dried fish before, but I'm sure
                    > there's a trick to get it rock hard like the Japanese manage to do.

                    I ran across a detailed description of how to make katsuo bushi
                    several years ago. Unfortunately, I don't recall where it is.
                    Regardless, it is a rather involved process. Shaving is the final
                    process. Before shaving, the fish looks a lot like a piece of
                    wood. I have even seen one of the things hanging under the eves of a
                    house.

                    > My Canon Wordtank has both as a translation, as well as Shogakukan!
                    > The
                    > freeware JEDICT only has plum, the one I usually 'grab' when I'm on my
                    > computer. (Might need to update!) Shogakukan uses plum though to
                    > describe all of the derivatives like umeboshi, etc.

                    This is probably a concession to early mislabeling.

                    > I'm also sure that you could probably cause a national riot if you
                    > made
                    > a claim that only this one type of umeboshi is the real one. The other
                    > 99.9% would have to hammer you. It would be as bad as some of the
                    > ramen
                    > wars ;)

                    On the other hand, there are several places in Japan which claim to
                    be the true home of Momotarou. And, there can be fairly aggressive
                    regional advertising for miso.

                    Your Humble Servant
                    Solveig Throndardottir
                    Amateur Scholar
                  • chasrmartin
                    ... for ... look. Seriously, most any health-food grocery should have them: they re central to Michio Kushi s macrobiotic diet. Failing that, the Amazon
                    Message 9 of 23 , Feb 3, 2007
                      --- In sca-jml@yahoogroups.com, James Eckman <ronin_engineer@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > I'm positive that outside of 3-4 select areas in the US, that asking
                      for
                      > umeboshi would get you a completely blank look. Asking in anything but
                      > an Asian market in those select areas will probably get you a blank
                      look.

                      Seriously, most any health-food grocery should have them: they're
                      central to Michio Kushi's "macrobiotic" diet. Failing that, the
                      Amazon ones from Eden Foods are the same brand as the health food
                      store ones.

                      Or, you could try my local Japanese foods store, which I've just
                      discovered has an online operation now. These are *dramatically* less
                      expensive.

                      http://www.pacificeastwest.com/pipr.html

                      I like the Nanki brand.

                      >
                      > > So if I wanted an AUTHENTIC umeboshi experience, I should be
                      > > doing what?
                      > >
                      > > Should I just get the damned things off of Amazon??? LOL :) :) :)
                      > > (geez, is there nothing you cannot get off of amazon?)
                      >
                      > Yes. I haven't seen geisha advertised there yet, but perhaps I'm not
                      > looking in the right location ;)

                      The upkeep will kill you anyway.
                    • Solveig Throndardottir
                      Noble Cousin! Greetings from Solveig! ... I believe that you are underestimating the availability of Asian grocery stores not to mention the health food stores
                      Message 10 of 23 , Feb 4, 2007
                        Noble Cousin!

                        Greetings from Solveig!

                        >> I'm positive that outside of 3-4 select areas in the US, that
                        >> asking for
                        >> umeboshi would get you a completely blank look. Asking in anything
                        >> but
                        >> an Asian market in those select areas will probably get you a blank
                        I believe that you are underestimating the availability of Asian
                        grocery stores not to mention the health food stores and natural food
                        stores already mentioned. Try just about any university town with a
                        significant asian foreign student population.

                        Your Humble Servant
                        Solveig Throndardottir
                        Amateur Scholar
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