Two of our friends had their ohana mochi-making fests, and the Mountain View Buddhist Temple held their annual Mochitsuki fundraiser. We are the lucky recipients of fresh mochi from all them.
Mochi is pure and simple. Sweet glutinous rice, (mochi kome) is soaked an then steamed. The recipe is simply mochi rice and water. It's made into sticky, smooth, slightly sweet dumpling devoured for dessert, breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The process is just as important as the actual food. Mochi weekend is a pre-Christmas homecoming. Grandparents, aunties and uncles, cousins, sig-o's, work-orphans (which I was in this case) and any interested friends all come together to eat, gossip and make mochi. Everyone takes a turn to either "stick" or "pound" for good luck in the coming year. Everyone is welcome and everyone helps. At least 800 pieces of mochi were lovingly hand-made with 100 pounds of rice.
Symbolically, mochi is very important for the New Year's Japanese celebrations. The stickiness is supposed to keeps people together. Mochi is filling, symbolizing that you won't be hungry for the next year.
Mochi is soul food, just in time for Christmas. Eat Well. Be Well.