Thanksgiving has passed us in the ROTW by. I’d dismissed it as just so much ‘merican hoohah. Besides, we have Thanks for Choosing Us for a Prison Colony Day every January. A rethink was well in order after fantastic planet‘s thoughtful piece. A good excuse to say thanks to Reid for sending me, unprompted, an English manual for my camera (and to tokyo goat for getting me it).

On the subject of gratitude. Japanese has two standard utterances itadakimasu (the very polite form of receive) and then gochiso sama deshita (the very polite form of that was a feast) and we have, well grace, and the last time I heard that was on telly. I wonder what it is that has lead to no formalised act of gratitude or precondition of thanks for meals in our language.

Deep Bow Update: A large thanks to the superstar who just sponsored an upgrade for me to a Flickr Pro account. You know who you are.


  1. Santos’s avatar

    [I wonder what it is that has lead to no formalised act of gratitude or precondition of thanks for meals in our language.]

    hm. terrible cooking?

  2. Anthony’s avatar

    “Me loooveee cookieeee!!!”

    I love Cookie, he is the only authentic muppet. He *knows* what he wants. Bert is neurotic, Ernie doesn’t know how to express his affection in any other way than teasing, BigBird is awkward about his size, Oscar tries too hard and needs a hug – liking trash is OK, Grover is unaware of his own shortcomings, Mr Snuffleupagus(sp?) can’t deal with adults, Kermit is filled with self doubt.

  3. Anthony’s avatar


    You may be on to something there.

  4. FXH’s avatar

    [I wonder what it is that has lead to no formalised act of gratitude or precondition of thanks for meals in our language.]

    I’d suggest a general abundance and self sufficiency. If you have plenty most of the time why be grateful every time. And if you worked hard to catch that two tooth and kill it, why be grateful again.

    I’d suggest that gratefulness for food comes from a slave or peasant background where you are pleased to dine on the masters crumbs. [I have no evidence whatsoever. I just thought that up – mmh maybe I should start a newspaper column or become a Minister for Health or Education or start a blog]

  5. Reid’s avatar


  6. Anthony’s avatar

    Sharp point. Japan was feudal, and I mean this in a nice way, society as of about 150 years ago. But you’ll never get those jobs if you verbalise your doubts, maybe a blogger but with no less than 65% personal journalling. I’ve seen your comments on health, you’ll never be crap enough to make Minister for Health.

    The fruits of one’s own labour/ self made manliness sends us down the road of self serving libertarians but grace, for example, does seem odd in the sense of crediting some kind of interventionist deity. It always make me wonder about those that missed out. But then again your bog standard grace is asking for us to be thankful, not for us to receive or that that was where the food was from. It’s as much a recognition of providence.

    Actually I’d just be happy if people didn’t automatically reach for the salt and pepper and didn’t faff around getting to the table.

    ほんと に どうもありがとうございました。

  7. tokyo goat’s avatar

    so the real issue is with uncouth ignoramuses with zero social skills..

  8. Anthony’s avatar

    Well yes, there is the in meal niceties but then there’s the welded to the event acknowledgement in ritual.

  9. FXH’s avatar

    Talking about two-tooths – can you still get a leg at the butchers over there? I can’t seem to find any here in Melbourne. I reckon lamb has no taste and mutton is only good for curries. Actually I don’t see mutton around much either.

  10. Anthony’s avatar

    Honestly don’t know. I’ve got my own supply in the way of a sheep farming Dad with an esky.

    Couldn’t agree more though,the second season sheep are a nice compromise between bland lamb and the old ewe. Never had much luck with my mutton spinach curry (project on hold) but do make a nice traditional mutton roast. If you can only get lamb, and need your kicks, having it butterflied and then marinating will help. Here’s one I prepared earlier

    I then olive oiled and peppered the meat. Into a mortar and pestle, I put the herbs I had in my garden – some rosemary, parsley, and a mangy bit of thyme and pestled them together with a couple of cloves of garlic. This gets smeared all over the meat and then the meat is wrapped tightly in glad wrap. This leaves the marinade with nowhere to go, rather than pool at the bottom of a dish. The book recommended 8 hours but I only had 4. The flavour gap was made up by sprinkling rosemary over it before roasting.

    Popping in a roasting dish and roasted for 20 minutes at 200C. 180 after that – it was another 30. During this time I basted it now and then with red wine with some rosemary leaves that had been soaking in it. Rested it for 15 minutes wrapped in foil.
    With sheep, I think the flavour comes from a bit of a life lived and lamb fed on milk and then low nutrient pasture really don’t have it.

    Been chatting about salt-bush fed before and seems to make a difference. But have a ring around and talk to some butchers. The good ones are only too happy to have something to talk about and appreciate bespoke meat. If not the two-tooth, a character lamb or a good mutton might do the trick.

    Anyway sheep’ll become less and less of a rural feature so get some before it becomes a pricey specialty.

  11. Anthony’s avatar

    Blogger 3 bus comment phenomena.

  12. FXH’s avatar

    Thanks – I’ll try it.Thats wether we get any cool weather /whether over here in Melb in the next few months. [note: small melb weather joke. small word play on weather sheep joke]

    I have done mutton and spinach – mutton is a bit strong for a peoples used to only bland lamb. The recipe works best with shanks and spinach. I could post the recipe if youse want I guess. This is where two tooth or even hoggett would be ideal I reckon.

  13. Anthony’s avatar

    It’d be a very good thing.

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