Over the past couple of years our family has resurrected the old tradition of making mochi for the New Year. It's one of my favorite parts of the holiday season, it honestly takes the cake on Christmas for me. No major expectations, no frenzy of wrapping paper and no major freeways. Just some good old eats and chats.
We spend about half a day, hanging out rolling mochi. Much of it to be bagged up and given to others. Some mochi are filled with sweet beans and others stay plain and get fried up for late night snacks. The mood is light and there is always some fish soup cooking on the stove.
Back in the day processing the rice for mochi was very labor intensive, they used crazy pallet tools to pound the rice. By all accounts it was a lot of work. I wish we could find this very cool photo of the my father in law wielding the pallet, while another spins the rice beneath him. You get the immediate sense that the two mochi participants better be in super synch. If not someone was going to get knocked unconscious.
Of course now we have three super cute mochi machines that take the danger element out of the event. So everyone can sip sake, beer and chat. Once the buzzer hits we all take our positions!
This year I'll admit I was lazy holding the baby and didn't roll much mochi, but next year I vow to be out there. Sipping sake with the best of them!
At the end of it all, we make this mochi offering with a tangerine on top for good luck. We forgot ours and I think that's why the year started off so rocky for us! (major stomach flu, followed by major dental work!) Yikes.