Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Anime Club: Anime Thanksgiving!

As a lover of holidays and a big fan of using themes in my programming, I decided to try an Anime Thanksgiving meal for my club meeting this past week. Yes, I know Thanksgiving isn't a Japanese holiday, but I couldn't think of a more appropriate name for the program. I set up buffet-style tables and let the teens try different kinds of Japanese/Asian dishes as we watched some anime. Here's what we ate:

1.Yakisoba: You can absolutely try to make it from scratch. But I'll admit that I cheated and found these kits from Maruchan at the grocery store. It should either be in the Asian foods or the soup aisle by the ramen noodles. These were easy because all you have to do is add water and microwave them. I purchases the roast chicken flavor. I also set out forks and of course, chopsticks that I found in bulk at my local Asian market.

2. California Roll Sushi: I picked up some California Roll sushi from my local grocery store. I figured that this is a good starter sushi to let my teens eat, especially for the ones who have never tried sushi before. There's nothing to scary or adventurous inside - just avocado, crabmeat, and cucumber. 

3. Soy Sauce: I set out some soy sauce and little cups in case the teens wanted to dip their sushi/or yakisoba in it.

4. Miso Soup: I'll admit that I cheated with this one too. You absolutely can make your own if you like. But I'm lucky enough to have a Japanese restaurant very nearby and purchased 3 quarts of soup from them.

5. Anko Paste Buns: All you need for these are cans of anko paste (red bean paste purchased from my local Asian market), dinner rolls (I used Sweet Hawaiian rolls to add some more sweetness), whipped cream, and cherries/orange slices. You cut the buns in the middle and fill it with the anko paste. Then add some whipped cream on top and a cherry or orange slice. This was our dessert. I got the recipe from The Manga Cookbook, which gave me lots of good ideas for future recipes!

6. Bubble Tea: Also called Boba Tea. I found an easy recipe here. I brewed some black tea in a pot over the stove. I used a 4 quart pot and added 15 tea bags. Next time, I would use more tea bags since it will end up getting more diluted with cold water. I had also cooked the tapioca pearls the night before at home and refrigerated them. I wouldn't really recommend this because they ended up hardening again and just stuck together in one mass lump. Cook them the day of the program if you can. I set out cups, straws, the tapioca, the tea, ice, and sweetened condensed milk and let the teens make their own bubble tea to taste. 

Please excuse the messy kitchen!

How It Went:

Overall, the teens loved the food. I had a mom call afterwards asking for the miso soup recipe! By far, their favorite dish was the yakisoba. They also liked the sushi and the soup. The anko paste buns were a little weird for them. Some clever teens took the soy sauce cups and put whipped cream and cherries in them to make their own dessert. One younger teen would only eat whipped cream in a bowl! Some were leery about the tapioca pearls, but most brave souls tried them anyway. This was a prep-intensive but very fun program that I would definitely do again.

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