Like an Olympic athlete I’m saving my energy for the big game – New Year’s Day Oshogatsu. Last year’s event was epic and I need to at least make it up to par again.

A key component in my party is fresh mochi, so off we went to Food Librarian’s house for their annual mochi making event. 50 years of tradition don’t lie – these people know their stuff.

It starts the night before with the soaking of the mochi rice. Normal people do this about 2 cups at a time – this right here is 150 pounds of rice being prepped…

Then it goes to the steamers!

Next, into the extruders, where rice goes in and mochi comes out

…and is grabbed by ‘The Catchers’. If you are asked to be a mochi ‘catcher’ you must have nerves of steel (or no feeling in your fingers) to perform this task.

The Catchers hands are sprayed with Pam because the fresh mochi is SO sticky, the Pam helps when then they form the burning hot mochi (no joke) into nice rounded shapes.

Then the mochi goes to the racks to cool down.

Then it’s off to the flour rooms. Here mochi goes to cool some more and then be covered in Mochiko (Sweet Rice Flour) so that it won’t dry out.

This is ‘my’ fave task because I get to play in the flour like it’s snowing. The only white Christmas I’ll get in soCal is a mochiko one!

Then the little mochis go off to the packing room. Here the older generation sort and pack all 150 pounds of mochi into various containers for church, family and friends. This is where the love is.

Now I can enjoy the fruits of – er, everyone else’s labor – and eat! FRESH mochi with soy sauce and sugar the old skool way. There is nothing better in the whole world. And now to get ready for…New Year’s Day!

For different ways to eat mochi, go HERE.

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