If I could only have one more bowl of miso soup…

The one I had today would be the one. It was always my go-to soup when I was a poor student living in Kyoto and was almost always out of money. Tofu and moyashi or bean sprouts were the cheapest way to eat a nutritious meal back then, or at least the cheapest we could think of. We used these two ingredients in instant ramen, miso soup, stir-fry and more. But my favorite was always a white miso soup with bean sprouts and aburaage or thin deep-fried tofu.

The best aburaage I had was when I visited my ex-husband’s small hometown in Fukui Prefecture. His mother would go out early in the morning and get it from the local tofu maker. She would always laugh, because they would kindly try and treat me to expensive delicacies when we visited, but honestly my favorites were the local tofu and a kind of broiled fish called sanma or mackerel. Expensive cuts of fish or fish eggy stuff was wasted on me. So was the lovely local crabmeat. I just don’t like that stuff. It’s tofu and mackerel all the way for me. It took a while for the family to realize that I wasn’t just demurring, but really wanted the cheap stuff!

My French boss in Tokyo liked to go out to eat at nice sushi bars. I’d go with him and mostly eat the vegetable sushi. I was a total cheap date. But really, the simple things are the best.
Today’s miso soup: simply the best!

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