Memories of Making Miso, Shoyu, and Pickles with Cornellia Aihara by Cynthia Briscoe

Cornellia Aihara

I was so very fortunate to have worked closely with Cornellia Aihara for eight years,  managing the Vega Study Center kitchen, training staff, resident students and teaching cooking classes. Cornellia was a firm believer in making her own macrobiotic staples. We made Vega’s own miso, shoyu (natural soysauce), umeboshi, umeboshi vinegar, mochi, rice bran pickles, takuan, seitan and many other items. Sometimes students would question her,  “Cornellia, why don’t you just buy these foods?” In her unique Japanese/American manner of speaking, she would say, “What if boat doesn’t come?” I reflected on those simple words when the tsunami disaster hit Japan. Only Cornellia and Mr

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. Muramoto taught students in America how to make their own shoyu. Especially, when students stayed for a while at Vega and ate these products, then they understood the value in terms of health and flavor.

Cornellia was always very proud of her accomplished shoyu, miso and pickles – wanting to share them with everyone. I savoured the flavors, but more importantly, the unique opportunity of learning the art of making these traditional foods. I knew of no American macrobiotic teachers who taught making these foods, so I happily engaged myself as a link between Cornellia, a first generation macrobiotic teacher, and future generations of students. Now, I’d like to share this knowlege with you.

For myself, I enjoy making these products. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment and even security. I know exactly the quality of the ingredients and how it is made. I can save money and still enjoy these wonderful and delicious products without breaking the bank. Some of these items, like miso, or mochi can be made in larger amounts with friends, extended family, groups or neighbors and shared. Producing our own food, as a community,  for well-being and sustainability is a special human experience most of us no longer know within today’s social structure. The modern hurry-up lifestyle removes us from  a deep connection to our food, leaving it to the chain of manufacturers-shippers-middlemen-marketers.

In my upcoming June 6-10 “Make Your Own Home Crafted Foods”course in Oroville, CA, you can learn to make many of your own special home-crafted foods, and then return home to establish a deeper sense of community  with family, friends, and local support groups. You simply can’t compare the quality and flavor of these homemade foods to anything that can be store-bought. They’re sustainable, economical, ecological, practical, fun and incomparably delicious!

Please come join me for this 5-day, hands-on cooking intensive and let me share with you what I learned from Cornellia. REGISTRATION & MORE INFORMATION


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