Japan is famous for amazing Kobe wagyu beef. Exceptional taste (thanks to the marbled fat) and exceptional cost (thanks to the methods - such as massage - used to raise the cows.) Beef certainly was not taken for granted at our dining room table in Tokyo.
Tofu was always in our refrigerator. Not the kind of packaged tofu in an American supermarket. Sure, the contents looked similar, but in Tokyo (circa 1960s, 1970s) fresh tofu was purchased from the tofu store. No kidding. Right next to the vegetable grocer, stood a tiny store selling tofu. Tiny is an apt adjective. The tofu store was smaller than a hallway in an American office building. White blocks of tofu swam in wooden vats. My nanny would point to the tofu she wanted. The tofu seller would scoop up the bean curd and place it in a plastic bag. Not an easy feat as anyone knows who has handled tofu. Tofu crumbles very easily…The very reason I chose firm tofu to make tofu nuggets for Sunday Supper.