Beverages Friday Five

Okay I admit it, I don’t have many ideas about (or give much thought to) writing in my blog, so I’m falling back on answering memes. >_> Luckily I think they’re interesting or I can write a bit on them, and they’re not stupid.

1. What is your favorite drink of all time? Does it hold a special memory to you or is it just because it tastes good?
I don’t think I could pick a favorite of all time, because my favorite changes from time to time. I remember when it was lemonade, cranberry juice, root beer (specifically A&W or Mug, not any other), sarsaparilla (omigosh love ya, Virgina City, and Knott’s!)… But ocha (aka green tea) is a good failsafe, I’ve been drinking that for years.

2. Tea or coffee or hot cocoa?
I guess I already answered this in the previous question, but I can stand to write more. *grin* I’m not a big fan of coffee. I don’t like the bitterness, but my mom has had me taste some really good coffee (yes, I do refer to McDonald’s here, points to McD’s!) and if I really need a caffeine boost I’m willing to drink it. With creams and sugars, of course.

Hot cocoa, I’ve mostly had the Nestle instant variety. Lately I don’t like how sweet it is, and I keep mixing in Ghiradelli’s cocoa powder or Hershey’s cocoa powder. But in general if I’m out somewhere and need a hot drink this is my first option. (Unless this place offers green tea, then of course I choose that.)

As for tea… I’ve tried peach-flavored black tea (my first non-green tea) and really didn’t like it; orange tea, thought it was a bit too sweet but it was drinkable; and black tea, not as bad as the peach-flavored tea would have me think, it was much more like green tea than I expected. I’ve never had sweet tea, but as a kid I drank Lipton’s instant iced tea.

My mom served us kids the iced tea for our ochazuke (or chachagohan, for a more cutesy, kiddy term ^_^), but eventually we asked her for the “hot tea” that we thought tasted better: genmaicha. She told us if we liked it better then she would make it for us, even if it did take longer to make than the “instant tea.”

Thus, the tea of my childhood became genmai cha. This is considered a poor variety of green tea, though. Right now I like bancha, a better variety, but still not the best. I’ve had matcha and sencha, but they’re more expensive than bancha.

3. Best summer time drink?
Cold ocha, or for a special treat, Ito En’s Oi Ocha! ^_^-b

4. Worst soda brand ever?
:o I don’t know that I can come up with an answer for that. I definitely won’t drink Mountain Dew though. And I prefer Coke to Pepsi, although that is not saying that I like Coke. My favorite soda is Dr. Pepper, or Dr. Pepper Cherry.

5. Water: flavored, bottled, carbonated, or regular old tap?
None of the above? I think that’s just semantics though. I don’t like to drink water that comes in those little bottles at the grocery market, since it’s so bad for the environment, but I’m okay with Sparklett’s. (Arrowhead has a weird taste…) I don’t like the taste of tap water, because I’m a spoiled urbanized child, used to filtered water. And that is what my choice is.

questions from Friday Five

Friday Five (LJ) December 25 version

I was never good at doing Friday Fives on Friday, but here’s the latest one (from Livejournal).

1. What one food most reminds you of your childood?
Is Japanese food an acceptable answer? If not, then probably udon. Or maybe homemade chow mein with scrambled egg strips in it, that was how Bachan made it. :3

2. How old were you when you learned how to ride a bicycle?
I was nine years old (or maybe ten, it was during the summer anyway) and I taught myself! Without a scratch. I even remember my bike, it had a teal paint scheme and pink handlebars and seat and white wheels.

3. How old were you when you stopped believing in Santa Claus?
Eight years old, third grade, I remember some classmate was talking to other kids at his table saying he saw his mom doing Santa one night. Er I mean doing Santa’s job.

4. What was your favorite television show/cartoon when you were little?
First answer that comes to mind is Ren & Stimpy. :P I could also say Rugrats or The Simpsons (that one has lasting power, wow), but R&S was the first I thought of. That might have been the first show my brothers and I would watch regularly on TV in its scheduled slot (Snick!), rather than whatever we had on VHS.

5. What is the youngest age you remember being and do you have a specific memory of when you were that age?
Preschool age, three or four, and a memory from preschool: the teacher and his aide had just put us down on the carpet for our nap and drawn the curtains so the room was dark. The aide asked the teacher if he’d like a Coke, she was going to grab a Coke. I thought, ‘Lucky, they get to have soda whenever they want.’ :P I’m an adult now too but I can’t have soda whenever I want! I have to remember all the sugar and carbonation and, depending on the soda, the caffeine that’s in those things. Ugh.

still seeing MSG

I saw a commercial yesterday for Campbell’s that said there is no msg in over one hundred (and twenty? eighty? I don’t remember) soups of theirs.

I don’t know if they just didn’t include the soups that I have in that commercial, or if the soups that I have are old, and they switched their recipe.

Either way, I think “less than 2% msg” still counts as msg.

I’ve seen the glowing light of MSG

I saw this commercial yesterday for some canned soup. Not sure of the brand, and I don’t want to falsely advertise. (Based on this and the previous post, one would think I’m watching a lot of television. o_O)

The commercial was playing, but I wasn’t really paying attention until they mentioned “no msg” in their ingredients. I thought, why would you advertise something as obvious as that? Who uses msg in their products other than Asian foods?

Well that just goes to show how oblivious I am, because lo and behold, after the commercial ended, I got up and checked the Campbell’s soups I had, and yup there it was, monosodium glutamate.

There was a study I found once, I don’t know where, that rats who were fed large amounts of msg went blind. (I guess it was this study cited in Wikipedia.) But the amounts they were fed were much greater than any amount that humans would eat, so it wasn’t really a health risk.

I don’t really worry about msg in my food, mostly because I was going on the assumption that it’s only found in products sold at Mitsuwa or other Asian foods in the grocery store. I just keep my intake of those items to a minimum. Maybe no more than once or twice a week.

The soups that I have here (Campbell’s Chunky salisbury steak, condensed homestyle chicken noodle and condensed minestrone) all say “contains less than 2% of … monosodium glutamate.” The Chunky one actually says 1% and not 2%, but it also has disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate. (Although I don’t really know what they do, health-wise or chemical-wise. I just don’t consider them all that natural or healthy.)

The condensed split pea with ham & bacon soup does not have msg, although it says “flavoring” (and not “natural,” hmm…) which is sort of ambiguous, and “natural smoke flavoring.” What the heck is natural smoke flavoring?! Did they pump smoke into the soup through little tubes??? (Sorry, I just thought it was funny.)

I don’t eat soups often anyway, because of all the sodium (my soups here range from 1780 to 2400 mg of sodium for the whole can), but knowing that there’s msg as well will make me think twice if I’ve eaten a lot of Asian food recently. :3

[Addendum, March 5, 2021: Wikipedia now says:

The controversy about MSG has been tied by some to alleged racial stereotypes about East Asians,[60][61][62] saying that East Asian cuisine is being targeted while the widespread use of MSG in other processed food hasn’t been stigmatized.[63] These activists have claimed that the perpetuation of the negative image of MSG through the Chinese restaurant syndrome was caused by “xenophobic” or “racist” biases.[64]

I just wanted to clarify if anyone reads this ancient post that I don’t think MSG is any more unhealthy than anything else one can ingest in large, unhealthy amounts. I’d worry more about the amount of salt I’m ingesting at a restaurant, be it an American fast food restaurant, the fanciest steakhouse, or cuisine from a different country. Even at home in a can of soup. Everything in moderation!]

yucky ocha

I am still surprised, after almost a year, how gross ocha can be if made with tap water here.

I’ve probably been spoiled, living in L.A. where water comes from high up in Colorado. Here, it comes from groundwater, where there’s lots of minerals.

Although I can tell when I’ve been served tap water in restaurants in L.A., it just doesn’t compare to the tap water here. In L.A. it’s fine using tap water for instant ramen; I don’t drink the broth, and the taste of the water isn’t intrusive enough to ruin the noodles. Here, tap water makes the already salty noodles noticeably more salty. Which, yes, tastes just as bad as it sounds.

But honestly, I probably would not have noticed the difference in the ramen if it hadn’t been for my beloved ocha. I can use the tap water fine to make rice, tortellini, wonton soup. It’s the ocha where I really, really noticed a not-so-subtle disgusting taste that ruined the green tea.

Now I buy distilled water, specifically, at the market to get nice ocha. I use it only for ocha and ramen. I also buy water with “minerals added for taste” just for drinking. (That’s the one at the market I go to. I have to go to another market entirely for distilled water. And non-molassassed bread.) I can taste when C has used the water kettle for instant ramen, it makes my ocha bad. boo. But I can’t tell him, Use the expensive, nice-tasting water! If he doesn’t notice a difference in the ramen, there’s no reason I should waste more money keeping my ocha nice. I just have to remember to empty the kettle of water before I add my own.

Just two more weeks, and I get to go home to nice water.