Guest blog post by Nelson Guda
We love food movies!
Last weekend we saw a really good food documentary called Miso Hungry (2015). The Miso Hungry movie follows Craig Anderson, an Australian comedian and actor, as he is challenged to eat nothing but Japanese food for 12 weeks. He starts with two weeks in Japan learning about Japanese food (and how to cook it), green tea, and wellness practices like meditation. It is the exact opposite of the popular food documentary Super Size Me.
Miso Hungry movie trailer
Miso Hungry begins with Craig Anderson looking honestly at his life habits and his excessive weight, and seeing a doctor who tells him frankly about his health condition. Craig takes on the journey with an endearing and disarmingly charming approach, being open to everything set in front of him. Here’s the trailer…
What exactly is miso?
Miso (みそ or 味噌) is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji (the fungus Aspergillus oryzae) and sometimes rice, barley, or other ingredients. The result is a thick paste used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixing with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup called misoshiru (味噌汁), a Japanese culinary staple. High in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, miso played an important nutritional role in feudal Japan. Miso is still widely used in Japan, both in traditional and modern cooking, and has been gaining worldwide interest.
The one funny thing about the movie is that the only mention of miso is when Craig talks about making miso soup using instant miso. It’s surprising, because miso is such a big part of Japanese cuisine. In my experience, miso is a much more important part of the Japanese diet than natto, the fermented soybean dish that plays a big part in the movie. I suppose its because eating natto has shock value with its slimy, sticky texture you can play up in the movie. Miso, on the other hand, is easy to like right away, and Japanese people often eat it with every meal.
Japan's profound influence on my diet
The Miso Hungry movie also totally made me miss Japan. I lived in Japan for three years during my college years, and it’s been 25 years since I lived in Japan and over 15 years since I last visited. Even though it’s been so long, my time in Japan still has a profound influence on me, and especially the way I eat.
It seems like Rachel and I talk about food, cooking, eating habits, and how to be healthy all the time. Since we’ve been together, I’ve thought a lot more about my own history of eating and cooking, and I have come to realize how hugely important those three years in Japan were for me.
When I lived in Japan I stopped drinking soda or any sweet drinks almost entirely. I dramatically reduced my consumption of wheat and dairy products, and I learned to like an entire world of food that had almost no processed food in it. This movie rings so true to me, and it is so positive about how possible it is to make changes anytime in your life. Go watch the movie or come and see it with us and try Rachel’s amazing cooking!
Miso Soup Recipe
Rachel just put up a wonderful recipe for Miso soup. In addition to the miso soup recipe, she shares a link to a great video from South River Miso Company showing how miso is made in the traditional way – it’s totally worth a watch!