I’m Judy | Bebe Mama – Welcome to my blog, Bebe Love Okazu!
I’m Japanese – American, born and raised in culturally diverse Los Angeles by my first generation Japanese mother and fourth generation Japanese – American father. I was raised primarily on Japanese food and a handful of my Dad’s favorite American dishes.
I’m a mom, step-mom, and wife, that mostly cooks simple and kid-friendly American and Japanese dishes (comfort food). However, I married Bebe Dada who is Chinese – American, so I’m slowly learning how to cook some of his family’s Chinese dishes.
I hold a BA in Economics and an MBA. I spent the majority of my career in the corporate world, and spent the last few years in non-profit until I became a “stay-at-home mom”. Fortunately, my career allowed me to travel both professionally and personally to many countries over the years. I had the privilege to experience the culture and food of France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, China, Russia, Belgium, Mexico, and England, to name a few.
Through my travels, I learned to appreciate new foods, seek out new restaurants, and enjoy a variety of ethnic cuisines. I’ll try anything once, and I love to eat! This drives me to cook and try new recipes.
Bebe E’s arrival truly changed my life. During the first eight weeks of her life, I watched how quickly she grew and changed, never ceasing to amaze me from one day to the next. I have to admit that I’m sometimes guilty of not appreciating each day as if it were my last, but I’m learning to embrace and cherish each moment, even on those challenging days.
While I was pregnant with Bebe E, I spent some time with my Mom to learn how to make some of my favorite childhood dishes. This was something I always wanted to do but didn’t take the time to do in the past given the pressures of work, travel, graduate school, moving and getting married.
I decided that I wanted to create a family cookbook with all of my childhood favorites, as well as dishes that I tried and loved, so that I could pass these along someday. In 2010, after settling into a routine with Bebe E, I discovered food blogs. That’s when I decided not only to share our recipes with family, but also with friends and anyone else who might be interested. So here I am! Stay-at-home-mom | blogger of food | writer of life’s random musings.
Growing up, one of the Japanese phrases I heard my Mom often repeat was,
“konban okazu nani shiyoue?” Which literally translates to, “what should I make for dinner tonight?”
“Okazu“, in Japanese culture, traditionally refers to a side dish which accompanies rice, with rice as the main meal. In American culture, okazu refers to the main dish, with rice as a side dish. I prefer the American interpretation of okazu, given I really, REALLY, didn’t like rice as a child, and to this day, I still don’t care for it much. (I know, not the image of your typical Japanese girl.)
Regardless of cultural differences, I face the same challenge as my Mom, wondering what I should make for dinner…..
In my blog, Bebe Love Okazu, I hope to share some of my favorite okazu that I learned from my Mom, family favorites, and recipes I’ve tried and loved. Surprisingly, you’ll also find recipes for plain ol’ rice “dressed-up”!
My okazu is your okazu. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Hideki Ueha Photography
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