It kind of seems impossible to save the world with a simple rice ball, but Table for Two’s World Food Day Campaign has completely flipped this assumption. Table for Two USA (TFT), a non-profit organization which first started in Japan with a mission to tackle obesity and hunger issues simultaneously, celebrated World Food Day 2015 with us at the Japan-America Society of Washington DC, by holding a “One Million Itadakimasu” (or bon appetit!) campaign and mini cooking class on October 6, 2017. The campaign featured the popular Japanese food called “onigiri” (rice balls), a simple yet staple of Japanese “soul food”. Participants were able to learn about the details of TFT’s work and learn how to change the world with onigiri by just taking a selfie with their onigiri (rice balls) and posting it on the TFT campaign website or their own social media with #OnigiriAction. For each onigiri photo post, TFT’s partner organizations donate 5 school meals to children in need.

In accordance with the cooking class portion of the event, attendees also got the opportunity to learn how to make “onigirazu”, or onigiri sandwiches with delicious fillings. Some of these fillings included turkey, ham, cucumber, carrots, and even Kewpie mayonnaise! Sounds like your everyday sandwich, doesn’t it? As the processes for making onigiri and onigirazu are so quick and simple, the students of the cooking class were inspired to make these foods at home, and even asked questions about how to properly prepare the perfect rice for onigiri and onigirazu.

At the end, all registered attendees were entered into a drawing with two chances to win a copy of Sake Confidential: A Beyond-the-Basics Guide to Understanding, Tasting, Selection, and Enjoyment by John Gaunter. This drawing was sponsored Stone Bridge Press, established in Berkeley, California, in 1989. Stone Bridge Press now has some 150 titles in print, covering such Japan-related areas such as Japanese language, business, literature, manga, design, and culture. The class was generously sponsored by San-J, renowned for its premium tamari and shoyu soy sauce and Japanese salad dressings, rice crackers, and Asian cooking sauces. All attendees received a free bottle of shoyu soy sauce to take home, along with all the tasty onigiri and onigirazu they had made.

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