Haibun, “The Best Meal I Ever Had…”


(Oil, “Still Life with Melon”, undated? Jane Kohut-Bartels)

The first day of Spring!  Over at dversepoets pub, Kanzen Sakura is posing a prompt to write about the best meal one ever had. I had to think on this, but the winner in my memory is below.  I love food, maybe too much.  Thank you, Toni, for this lovely prompt. And happy First Day of Spring to all!

I still remember a meal in a Japanese restaurant with my ex father in law. His name was Mori, so he knew about the food. But that food! Oh, Dear God! I remember the sizzling rice soup, something I never tasted again. I can still remember those nuggets of rice vibrating in my mouth. I remember a Kobe steak. It was different from any steak I had before. Only many years later I found what this meat cost. My father in law was a doctor. He could afford it.

I remember the owner coming out from the kitchen and bowing to him and him bowing back. They knew each other well and I think this marvelous dinner was because of this. I remember the warm sake bottles, endless brown pottery bottles and weird, misshapen handle-less cups. I thought them strange, but only decades later, long after  kicking his lazy, entitled son to the curb, did I discover these cups cost more than the dinner. Raku, a pitted glaze different on each cup. Priceless, at least to me, beyond my poor budget. Obvious now, not every day sake cups.

I remember getting a little drunk. I remember his brown eyes glittering above his sake cup. He proposed setting up a business for me. That was a great kindness because his son was a perpetual student and never did work. My father in law suggested a high end sake import business. I wanted to import the soup.

I never saw him after the divorce but what a man and what a memory. And what a dinner! I should have married him instead of his God-Awful son. But I would have had to kill his witch of a wife, and doctor’s wives are like vampires, hard to kill.

Ume blossom soup

Frogs bellowing in the pond

Night to remember


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017


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39 Responses to “Haibun, “The Best Meal I Ever Had…””

  1. Brian Says:

    You always make me laugh with your observations.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! I love you, Brian. It’s better to make them laugh than cry, right? Well, most of the time.
    Your comment brightened my day, and thank you, Brian. For many things!


  3. kanzensakura Says:

    What a fun haibun. And yes, those wonderful little cups are tres expensive. I know for I have several in my cabinet, thanks to being gifts from a special friend. LOL…I love the observation about Doctor’s wives. Great laugh on my part at that. And I am so glad you came to eat with us today at dVerse!


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Me, too, Toni. I needed a good meal after last week. LOL! And you always draw me back to dverse, kicking and screaming…you and Bjorn. This was a LOT of fun…and I love haibuns. Funny, that after 10 years of haiku/tanka/etc…I had never written one until you introduced them to me this last fall. I am beholden to you for that (and many other things)

    Ugh…doctor’s wives. I just finished a book: “Japanland” of an American woman who stayed in Japan for a year, guests of a wonderful judo expert, a wonderful man who reminded me of this ex=fatherinlaw, and the woman of the house, who was as evil as my ex motherinlaw. LOL! PU~! Doctor’s wives….LOL!

    I can imagine who gave you those sake cups…LOL! What a wonderful gift! the only thing I have expensive of Japanese ceramics is a beautiful vase on a pedestal…with a brass plate in Japanese I can’t read. LOL! Cherry blossoms, other symbols, absolutely beautiful. Very delicate so I put it in a glass cabinet because the cats were interested in knocking it over. LOL!

    Thank you for reading and your wonderful comment. You make dverse go down easily. LOL!



  5. charliezero1.wordpress.com Says:

    You have excellent observations and this made me laugh and smile. 🙂


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Charlie…well,,thanks. I do miss Dr. Mori after all these years. I haven’t a clue whether he is still alive or not, but he would be in his 9o’s. A wonderful man. And a beautiful man, inside and out. I am very glad this made you laugh. Laughter is so much better than crying in my opinion. LOL!

    Thanks for reading and your wonderful comment. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. charliezero1.wordpress.com Says:

    You welcome my friend.

    Yes, laughter is the best medicine. Good for the heart and good for the spirit. 🙂


  8. ladynyo Says:

    And good for the soul if it exists. It doesn’t you know, in certain folk. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. charliezero1.wordpress.com Says:

    True. hahahaha!!!


  10. lillian Says:

    Great recounting of an interesting evening and a unique meal. LOVE the line “I wanted to import the soup.” 🙂


  11. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Lillian…me too. about the soup. That is what I remember the most. The steak? Ahhhhh….good, but the soup was superb! Thank you for reading and your comment. Sorry about the snow in Boston. But you get to see the daffs/tulips/crocus/ soon. Here? only the tulips are delayed…


  12. ladynyo Says:

    my comment back to you didn’t take, Ithink….Yep, I loved that line, too. The steak was good, but the soup was superb. I have been chasing that taste and the vibrating rice forever. Never to experience that again. LOL!


  13. Victoria C. Slotto Says:

    This is such a delight. Now I’m wanting me some good Japanese food but I’m not aware of any Japanese restaurants here in the desert. I tend to feel sorry for doctor’s wives who often are neglected, awakened in the middle of the night. I know. As a nurse, I used to do the awakening. But on the other hand, they don’t seem to mind spending the money the poor guys make.


  14. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! No they don’t Victoria. and I have yet to meet a humble doctor’s wife. In the far past, yes, they existed…but now?>? Don’t believe it.
    I make miso soup a couple of times a week. Just a light broth or water, get the bonit0 flakes and miso and seaweed from WholeFoods (Whole Paycheck) soak the seaweed and bonito for a 1/2 hour or so in hot water, drain, chop up some spring onions if you have them….some mushrooms….and simmer in broth for about 20 minutes …add about 1/4th cup of miso paste when it has cooled a bit (don’t boil miso) and voila! A lovely soup. I haven’t figured out how to make that vibrating rice (LOL!) but if you do, let me know. Thanks, Victoria for reading and your lovely comment.


  15. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) Says:

    I remember dining in Tokyo 15 years or so ago… I came there knowing little. But when my host proposed that we should go to TGIF I declined and said I preferred the local food… Then he showed me everything he knew… he made a plan… today we go for udon he might say… Most of all I remember the giant oyster we had at a sushi restaurant. A perfect piece of sashimi served with soy-sauce and lemon…


  16. ladynyo Says:

    Makes me hungry. The simpler the better, especially with oysters….I like them just with lemon and maybe a little hot sauce. don’t even need the crackers. Now I am REALLY hungry.


  17. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) Says:

    We went to a 50 year’s party where they had almost unlimited supply of oysters (and a guy opening them)… just lemons in that case. But soy-sauce was not bad actually. And the Japanese oysters are huge, not something to eat in one piece.


  18. ladynyo Says:

    Yeh…..about the oysters. Sushi is supposed to be eaten in two bites, but these oysters are HUGE. Wonderful that someone was doing the dangerous work of shucking the shells!


  19. Glenn Buttkus Says:

    So few Japanese restaurant here in Tacoma, except for those steak joints where they juggle the knives. I may be wrong tough, for there are numerous sushi-joints. I’m not a fan of raw fish. Your memory, as with most of us, is equal to the meal.


  20. frankhubeny Says:

    Nice ending with the hard to kill, doctor’s wife vampires. It was a surprising and humorous conclusion to the meal, like a fine dessert, and transcended the distaste for the ex-husband.


  21. wolfsrosebud Says:

    so cool to be able to reflect on memories from the past in the way you did… almost, as if it happened just yesterday.


  22. Singledust Says:

    that was a memorable meal and loved your story telling skill! In a rich culture such as that every part of the meal is like a work of art and its really seductive to be entertained like this, all the senses heightened, through taste, scent and texture and even sound. and you presented it so well in this haibun


  23. kim881 Says:

    I enjoyed reading about your Japanese meal, Jane, and am now hungry for sizzling rice soup! I just got back from choir and promised myself not to read until I had eaten – and then started to read!


  24. ladynyo Says:

    Well, it will help your appetite!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. ladynyo Says:

    thank you! and you are exactly right. The food is presented as art. Eatable art!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. ladynyo Says:

    Sigh..,,I wish it was just yesterday. I would have benefited greatly taking him up on his offer. Thank you for reading.


  27. ladynyo Says:

    Yep, Frank,the husband was very distasteful. Wonder where a man (him) gets his notions on domestic violence…actually behavior…with such a gentle father. Humor is a way to pacify sorrow I think. Or to detour it.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Glenn. Here in Atlanta, it is very expensive, even at the sushi joints. So I try to make my own Japanese meals. I make miso soup a couple of times a week, and it’s a great breakfast food. I have had to buy a few cookbooks because I run out of ideas. Thanks for reading. Raw fish can be dangerous….but so far, I’ve been lucky.


  29. emangarduque Says:

    that memory of yours is a true gem. i did enjoyed reading it. thanks


  30. Waltermarks Says:

    At least there’s one happy moment to savor. Two, if you count divorcing your husband of the time.


  31. Beverly Crawford Says:

    Oh my, it seems the doctor was the best of that family, and it seems you escaped to tell the tale! Thanks for sharing. It was a rollicking good read!


  32. ladynyo Says:

    And thank you, emangarduque for reading and leaving a comment!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. ladynyo Says:

    Oh, yeah, Beverly. It was basically a snobby family and Dr. Mori was the best of them. Thank you for reading and your comment.


  34. ladynyo Says:

    Yep, Waltermarks! That is exactly true. That ‘husband’ was more of a roommate, not a mate. It took 13 years to divorce, but many more to get over the trauma of those years. Married now for 32 years, and it is a Great Blessing! Thank you so much for reading and your comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Gospel Isosceles Says:

    What a funny write-up! I think you should still think about that importing soup business, the way you “sold” it to us here.


  36. ladynyo Says:

    thank you, I wish I could, but that ship sailed many decades ago.


  37. Waltermarks Says:

    It worked out well at last


  38. hypercryptical Says:

    Love your smile-making observations. I have never dined Japanese of yet but your feast makes me want to try…
    The best soup I ever tasted was that of the french onion variety in a little B&B on the island of Guernsey. I can still taste the splendour of it after more than (gulp) fifty years…
    Kind regards
    Anna :o]


  39. ladynyo Says:

    Oh, Anna! Isn’t it marvelous how the tastebuds remember meals? LOL! French onion soup is wonderful. For years I didn’t know how to make it. But! If you saute the onions in a little bacon or pork fat, for a long time on low…and through in beef broth and a touch of sherry at the end…of course there are other spices to us…but voila! You have a decent soup.

    Japanese is very different that Chinese though most people don’t know this. I think Japanese has a cleaner taste in the preparations…less sauces than the Chinese. But both cultures bring to the table great food. Many people only savor sushi, sashimi, etc…but there are so many other dishes. Pickled veggies, seaweeds, stuffed rice balls, and various meats and fish…and dried fish reconstituted…I’m getting hungry again. Miso soup is certainly a wonderful staple of his cuisine.
    Thanks so much for reading and your comment.


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