I’m Judy, welcome to my “home” away from home, 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 mostly cook simple and child-friendly American and Japanese dishes (comfort food). However, I married my husband who is Chinese – American, so I’m slowly learning how to cook some of his family’s Chinese dishes. I learned to cook much later in life, mostly from Mom (a.k.a. Bebe’s baachan) and through trial and error; but I’m happy to be where I am, enjoying my time in the kitchen.
I majored in economics and Japanese in college, and also hold an MBA. I spent the majority of my career in the corporate world, but I spent the first few years of Bebe’s life as a stay-at-home-mom. Fortunately, my career leading up to motherhood 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.
While I was pregnant with Bebe, I spent time with my Mom (also known as Bebe’s Obaachan) to learn how to make some of my favorite childhood Japanese dishes. This was something I always wanted to do but rarely did, given the pressures of work, travel, graduate school, moving and getting married.
After Bebe was born, I decided to create a family cookbook and journal, a.k.a. my blog, with all of my childhood favorites, as well as dishes that I tried and loved. My primary purpose for this blog is to preserve the influence and culture my Mom instilled in our family through food, randomly chronicle our life, and to one day share these experiences with Bebe.
You’ll discover that the Japanese recipes I share on my blog are down to earth, family-friendly, budget-conscious, and easy to make, using simple ingredients sourced locally (in California). My blog is a labor of love, our family journal, and one of my favorite hobbies. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy sharing recipes and stories.
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, where rice is the star of the meal.
In American culture, okazu refers to the main dish, with rice as the side dish. I prefer the American interpretation of okazu, given I really didn’t like rice as a child, and to this day, I still don’t care for it much.
Regardless of cultural differences, I face the same challenge as my Mom, wondering what I should make for dinner every night. In my blog, Bebe Love Okazu, I hope to share some of my favorite okazu recipes. Surprisingly, you’ll also find recipes for plain ol’ rice “dressed-up”! My okazu is your okazu. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Hideki Ueha
I’m not a photographer, and I struggle with taking pictures of my food. Perhaps one day I’ll have the time to take some classes and actually learn how to use a camera. For now, I’m fortunate to have a relative who is absolutely amazing with the camera. You’ll notice a few outstanding photos on my blog, and those were taken by Hideki Ueha. You can see more of his work on my site here.
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© 2010 – 2017 All Rights Reserved. All images and content on this site are the property of Judy Ung | Bebe Love Okazu and may not be reproduced in any format. In other words, please don’t download or copy an image and re-use it or repost it without my express permission. Images by © Hideki Ueha are similarly protected and may not be reproduced in any way.