December 23, 2011
For the last four years, Sylvan of Peko-Peko catering in San Francisco has been making osechi bento sets for the first of the year. Osechi, as you know from Yamahomo’s annual posts (here and here), are foods that are traditionally cooked for the new year, that are consumed for good luck. There is a special significance to every dish, often word plays (medetai = joyous; tai = snapper), and are usually stews and foods that can be eaten over the course of several days. Osechi is usually cooked well in advance, so housewives can rest for the first couple days of the new year (hence they are generally foods that are not easily be perishable, mainly for back when there were no refrigerators).
At $250 a box, Sylvan’s osechi is a lux way to kick off the year — he has built quite a cult following here in the Bay Area for his carefully assembled osechi bentos. The boxes themselves are handmade by himself and his father, and this year they are filled with traditional osechi foods such as: kuromame (sweet black beans), tastukuri (candied fish), and ikura (sake-cured salmon roe) in a yuzu cup. Lucky for us Californians, he’s also including the creme del la creme of the Pacific, like Dungeness crab, miso-cured black cod, handmade kamaboko (steamed halibut cake), and his house-cured kazunoko (herring roe) from herring caught in San Francisco Bay.
I’ll be dropping into the Peko-Peko kitchen next week, to get some behind-the-scenes shots of all the prep work that goes into making these meticulous little dishes. But for now, take a look at le menu below.
Order by Monday, if you are in the SF Bay Area. Do it for your health, wealth, and FERTILITY!