Living in Japan can make it difficult for me to buy certain ingredients. I try to find suitable substitutions, I use natural yoghurt instead of crème fraiche, milk soured with lemon instead of buttermilk. But sometimes I can’t find what I need. While I was chopping soup vegetables this morning I was thinking about how great it would be to be able to buy parsnip. I have never seen a parsnip in Japan. There are some other tuber like things in the supermarket but I have never bought them.
I’m not the only member of my family to make food substitutions. My great-uncle used to make dinner for his mother, my great-grandmother, and he didn’t always have what he needed. Apparently, if he didn’t have enough salad vegetables he would go out into the garden and pull up some weeds and substitute grass for spring onions. I’m not planning on doing that with my soup but it didn’t seem to cause my family any harm. So maybe I should just try cooking with some of the strange looking tubers in the supermarket and not worry so much about having the exact vegetable.