I am currently reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami.

Have you read it?

I've read several of Murakami's books and there are some definite things that he likes to repeat in his stories, some of those things are jazz music, cats, and the descriptions of foods and meals.

So I've decided to cook my way through The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

I didn't decide this until page 25 so I'll need to go back, make, and eat whatever foods are described in those first few pages.

The first dish I made is from page 25: "Not that I had any great feast in mind: I would be stir frying thin slices of beef, onions, green peppers, and bean sprouts with a little salt, pepper, soy sauce, and a splash of beer--a recipe from my single days. The rice was done, the miso soup was warm, and the vegetables were all sliced and arranged in separate piles in a large dish..."

I went to the store and bought what I needed. Prep time was about 10 minutes, cutting the onion and pepper, setting the water for the rice to boil. I stir-fried the sliced beef (kept moist with an initial dash of water, and oil, the beer and soy sauce were added near the end for flavor), sliced peppers, sliced onions (cook until they look clear), and the bean sprouts (added at the very end).

The rice took about 20 minutes to cook. The miso soup was instant out of a packet.

The total cook time was about 45 minutes.

It was delicious.


a_willhoff said...

this is awesome. i read this book last summer and there are some really cool ideas in there. a LOT of food. it's the only murakami i've read but i have heard that he writes about food like no other. i'm interested in how the rest of the book works out for you.

Ben Spivey said...

So far Wind-Up is my favorite Murakami. He describes food like no other. I need to start taking pictures of the meals as I make them.

If you're interested in reading more by him I would recommend "Kafka on the Shore."

JScap said...

A fantastic idea. And it sounds kind of like something a Murakami character might do. (Maybe your cooking will somehow suck you into strange encounters with strange people, an entire underworld of them?)

A weird thing happened to me with this book: I started reading it maybe three years ago and was digging it, was rapt-- the stuff about the well, that really hit me in the guts-- but when I got a little more than halfway through it, when things started to get even more wonderfully bizarre, I put it down and, for some reason, was never able to pick it back up again.

It's not because I didn't like it. It's not because I wasn't interested. I just suddenly felt like I didn't need to, for some reason. That's all I've got.

What's weird is that I've talked to a few other people who've had the exact same reaction at the nearly the same point in the book.

Has that happened to you with some of Murakami's other novels?

Ben Spivey said...

Something like that happened to me while reading "Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World." I read most of it fairly quickly, but lost interest with only about 60 pages left. It took me like 6 months to finish those last pages.

I'm glad you said this is something that a Murakami character might do. Who knows? Maybe something interesting will happen.