Jean’s Cincinnati Chili
jeans cincinnati chili_7046

“Next to music there is nothing that lifts the spirits and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili.”
Harry James (1916-1983) band leader and trumpeter

My mum used to serve a Midwestern-style chili made with hamburger, tomatoes, oregano, garlic powder, and kidney beans on macaroni elbows. It was a way of stretching a pound of ground beef to satisfy a family of six inexpensively. I recall we even added grated Cheddar cheese to top it so very very elegantly. It wasn’t until I started this project to learn Japanese cooking, that I first heard of this delicious and somewhat exotic version of Cincinnati chili from a lovely woman called Jean on the Taunton Press Fine Cooking magazine forum. It’s become a favorite meal, and I want to let my online friends know about it.

Japanese Ketchup Spaghetti

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.”++++++++—Sophia Loren

Like Ms. Loren, I love spaghetti. And Japanese wafu (Western) spaghetti is too good to deprive my husband of the experience: Spaghetti Napolitan! During the U.S. occupation of Japan, this scrumptious dish became popular in restaurants all over the country. It is comfort food—a meal you’d eat because your mom made it for you. The predominate flavor comes from ketchup, a condiment with variations all over our earth: fruity, sweet, sour, and sometimes hot.
Yes, I do know that ketchup has been denigrated by many gourmands…

Natto Spaghetti
Natto spaghetti is a very Japanese version of a non-traditional food.
Spaghetti Napolitan is an example of the Japanese imitating Western spaghetti. It was invented after World War II in Yokohama at the Hotel New Grand where GHQ (including General MacArthur) were staying. A chef was attempting to serve some Western-like foods when he came up with the idea of making spaghetti with ketchup. Wafuu pasuta or wafuu supagetti is popular in homes and kissaten (small cafés) all over Japan.

The concept of wafu spaghetti expanded in the 70’s when foods that are usually eaten with white rice were mixed into or put on top of spaghetti.