Japan – Empathy Through Food

March 16 2011 - 1:12 PM


A sure way to empathize with people is to share their food. It conveys a culture’s uniqueness in a way that is palpable, a sensory connection that helps with an understanding of what a place may be like.

I have a strange penchant for taking pictures of ramen soup, mostly at Ginza, and posting them on Twitter (#chicagofoodies). Considering what’s going on in Japan I felt it appropriate to share a few of them again.

I’ve always enjoyed soup and went looking for a quote to sum up the sincere feelings of nourishment, warmth and comfort that most tobogan hinchable soups bring. Growing up with homemade chicken soup made it very easy for me to adopt an affinity for ramen in particular.

“Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who also is capable of doing honor to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests? Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don’t catch steak hanging around when you’re poor and sick, do you?”
-Judith Martin aka Miss Manners

If you haven’t already, please make a donation to the Japan America Society of Chicago.

I’m off to Ginza.