⟨ Food ⟩

Stories told by Misao Yajima and Canapé

Miso Marinated Tofu

Words & Photography / Ron Lam

「如果可以為每個器物編一個故事,應該會很好玩吧。」在京都河原町一家叫做Second Spice的藝廊裡,矢島操這樣跟我說。矢島操,居於滋賀縣的陶藝家,這天在藝廊裡舉辦她的個人展覽,大部份作品都是她最著名的黑白圖案器皿。我手上的碟子繪了森林,幾隻動物隱藏在樹木茂盛的叢林裡,長頸鹿與兔子等則聚在碟子中央。我想像著碟子放在層層疊疊的菜蔬,一層層的被夾起,最後一層掀起後,動物們展現眼前,就像我們在森林裡撥開茂密的葉子,尋找動物的踪影。

矢島操以陶藝說故事的創作特色,在她於京都精華大學修習陶藝時便蘊釀著,那時她造的不是實用的器物,而是以陶瓷為媒介的藝術品。畢業後為生活開始製作器物,但同樣的器物一口氣製作上百個,長時間下來,她會感到自己體內的養份逐漸流失。偶爾她會讓自己離開器物一點,重新走進帶領她吸取現世種種的藝術世界。

像去年,矢島操於鄰近琵琶湖的藝廊中裡舉辦個展,於各種器皿之中,混了數塊風格截然不同的陶板。陶板內,深藍、湛藍、藏藍交疊,交匯處飄著柔弱的鱗光,尤如一片深邃的湖泊,那是矢島操以琵琶湖為主題的作品。又例如數年前,她舉辦了名為「惹人憐愛的十二個故事」的展覽,展出的是她於一年間,以每個月份為主題而創作的作品。每個月,她聆聽自然,聆聽自己的內心,三月裡明亮的月暖和的風,她捏出了在月球上吹笛的少年;六月梅雨天,春末夏初,她造出了如魚的船……矢島操與自然之間沉默的對話,安靜而詳和,展示在她的雕塑藝術裡,也在她的器物上。

矢島操很羞澀,談起自己的器皿,語氣裡總是沒有太多的自信,她總是看到自己的不足,覺得自己的作品不合乎大眾口味。她明知道大部份顧客,都愛能顯現出侘寂精神的、粗糙的、帶點自然質感的器皿,而她偏愛在器物之上畫上各種各樣的圖案——蔬菜、四時花卉、動物……器皿裡有著不合大眾口味的世界,卻是她喜愛的世界。

這天我在Second Spice中帶走了一隻繪了酒瓶圖案的碟子,這個碟子展示的世界,大概是個浮光掠影的世界,充滿了芳醇酒香,醉薰薰、笑盈盈的世界。

味噌漬豆腐

材料:

木棉豆腐/硬豆腐一塊、味噌三大匙、味醂兩大匙

做法:

  1. 在煲子內注滿水,煮開後把豆腐放進去,水再次滾時將豆腐撈起來;
  2. 拭去豆腐上的水份;
  3. 為豆腐包上兩層廚紙,放在盆子裡,上面壓一隻碟子再放上重物,存進冰箱裡一天,以壓出豆腐的水份。
  4. 翌日,將豆腐拿出,扔掉濕透的廚紙,把水倒去,再重新為豆腐包一張廚紙;
  5. 把味噌及味醂混合,並抺在包著豆腐的廚紙上;
  6. 將豆腐放在食物盒,收進冰箱,三日後便能食用,但待兩星期後,咸香變得溫潤更好吃。

 

同樣方式也可用來漬Mozzarella芝士等。將芝士從包裝袋取出,抺去表面水份,便可以直接用味噌及味酬漬,兩日後便可食用。

食用時,可再灑上黑椒、蜜糖增加風味,拌以餅乾等,作為下酒菜。味噌的風味與日本酒尤為相配,不妨試試看。

In the art gallery called Second Spice in Kyoto Kawaramachi, Misao Yajima mentioned to me “it would be so interesting to write a story for every piece of utensils.” Yajima is a pottery artist living in Shiga Prefecture who is currently having her personal exhibition in this gallery. The exhibition mainly displays her most well known black and white containers. The plate in my hands bears a drawing of a forest, in which a few animals are hiding in dense bushes, whereas giraffes and rabbits are gathering in the center of the plate. I imagined how it would be like having pieces of vegetables stacked on the plate; taking the vegetables away bit by bit would be like exploring in the bushes and discovering all those hidden animals.

Yajima started to enjoy using pottery as a platform for story telling ever since she started studying pottery in Kyoto Seika University. Back then she was not making utensils for daily use but creating pottery as a form of art. It was only until graduation that Yajima began to make utensils. Mass production of the same kind of utensils made her feel empty at some point, therefore she sometimes tries to step away from the realm of utility and to return to the world of art, the gateway through which she understands the world.

Yajima had a solo exhibition near Biwako last year. Among many of the containers in display stood a few ceramic tiles. Different shades of blue harmonically converge on the tiles and create a gentle reflection; this is the reflection inspired by the Biwako Lake. A few years ago in another of her exhibition “The 12 Lovable Stories” displayed works she created for the 12 months of the year. In every month of the year she listened attentively to the nature, and to her own heart while creating these works. A young boy playing flute on the moon to personify the bright moon and warm breeze in March; a boat in the shape of a fish for June, the in-between spring and summer rainy season… The silent conversation Yajima has with the nature is so soft and peaceful, such an ambience is beautifully revealed not only in her sculpture art but also in the utensils she makes.

Yajima is a shy person; when talking about her creation, she appears to be rather lack of confidence, and sometimes self-criticizing for not meeting the taste of general public. Although she is well aware that most of her customers are into the natural roughness as embraced by wabi-sabi, she simply loves to paint vegetables, flowers and animals on the utensils she makes. Regardless of how her work could go against popular taste, this is entirely the expression of her truthful self.

When leaving Second Spice, I took with me a plate with the pattern of a wine bottle painted on it. From this plate, I can envision a world that is filled with the fragrance of wine, in which people show a tipsy and joyful smile.

Miso Marinated Tofu

Ingredients:

1 piece of Cotton tofu / Hard tofu, 3 tbsp. of Miso, 2 tbsp. of Mirin

Steps:

  1. Fill a pot with water and bring to boil. Put tofu in and remove when water is boiled again.
  2. Wipe excessive water from the tofu.
  3. Wrap the tofu with two layers of kitchen paper and place it in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate and weigh down the plate. Leave it in the fridge for one day to further squeeze water out from the tofu.
  4. On the next day, take the tofu out and remove the kitchen papers. Get rid of the water and wrap the tofu with a layer of kitchen paper.
  5. Mix miso and mirin and rub the mixture against the kitchen paper wrapping.
  6. Put the tofu in a container. Leave it in the fridge for three days before serving. The salty taste can have an even fuller body when marinated for two weeks.

 

The same method can be used to marinate Mozzarella cheese. Take the cheese out of the package, wipe away liquid on the surface and marinate with miso and mirin. The cheese can be served after being marinated for two days.

Adding black pepper and honey before serving can further enhance the taste. Serving with biscuit makes it a nice canapé that goes perfectly with Japanese wine.