Thursday, September 10, 2009

Grandma Miyo

On July 29 of this year, someone very special to me passed away: my surrogate grandmother, Miyo Shintaku. I met Miyo in 1999, when my parents and I moved to Seattle and started attending Blaine Memorial UMC. When my last grandparent passed away in 2005, Miyo told me she would be happy to be my surrogate grandma. Over the years we spent many Sundays after church eating dim sum, having her over to watch the Seahawks game, and my most cherished memory is having her be my “grandma” figure at our wedding last year.

Miyo’s life was honored at a beautiful service on August 18, and there were two consistent remarks made about Miyo: her love for others (she was a total social butterfly) and her love for food. She was a woman I could relate to!

She was best known for her work in the kitchen. In fact, one of my favorite memories was when she came to Hawaii with my family and me for Christmas in 2005. We had a large family reunion at my family farm in Oahu, and she spent the whole time slaving away in the kitchen to prepare the food for the special occasion. My father is usually the dictator of the kitchen, but Miyo kept shooing him away and taking over the dishes. The food turned out great, and I know that Miyo was happy to spend her vacation in her comfort zone: cooking in the kitchen.

This is a photo of Miyo saying "let me cook!" to my mom who is taking the pic!

One other memory I will always cherish is when she took Kyle, my parents and me out for a nice dinner at Ciao Bella, a small and delicious Italian restaurant in the U District. We had such a fun night and stuffed ourselves with the special of the night: wild boar, as well as my personal favorite dish, penne regatta. Kyle also wants me to note that their bolognese pasta is superb. After the service last Wednesday, we went back to Ciao Bella in honor of Miyo. I know she would have liked that.

After our delicious and memorable meal at Ciao Bella

I’m not sure if this was a secret recipe, but I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite recipes she would make: sesame green beans. I hope you might be able to try it sometime (it is great for picnics or potlucks), and will think of my Grandma Miyo.


1 lb Fresh Green Beans
3 tsp sugar
3 Tbs soy sauce
3 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Boil green beans in salted water until cooked, but still a bright green. Drain and chill. In a small pan, combine sugar, soy sauce and sesame seeds and cook until sugar dissolves. Let cool and then pour over green beans. This dish is good for several days, and actually gets better with time because the beans absorb the sauce—this is what makes it such a great picnic side dish or hiking snack.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I love green beans so I'll for sure give this a try.