Don’t just read I Love You So Mochi…Experience it!
I read I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn because the cover captured my attention. The background, beautiful pink cherry blossom trees, almost looked like a blurred photograph. The figures in the foreground were in focus, but definitely hand drawn, cartoonish. The varied styles made the different aspects stand out. As I got further into the story, this aesthetic choice made sense.
Here we go: Despite her friends encouraging her to do otherwise, Kimi Chan lives much of her life in fantasy land, imagining all the perfect possibilities of what could happen. But a fight with her Mom stemming from Kimi’s dishonesty and lack of future focus causes her to question everything. So, she impulsively decides to spend her spring break in Japan with her grandparents, who are basically strangers. Will Kimi’s new environment make it easier or harder to start living life outside her imagination?
This particular book led me to food, which is always appreciated! While Kimi wanders Kyoto, she stumbles upon a curiously dressed boy selling mochi, a sweet rice donut. She quickly finds that his uncle owns a mochi stand in the market. This dessert isn’t new to her, since her dad makes it in his restaurant back home, but she is still eager to try it. She wasn’t disappointed, and neither was I.
To get my mochi, I traveled not to Japan (unfortunately), but to Kim’s Bakery in St. Louis. There, I discovered so many delicious looking treats. As a girl looked at the scrumptious snacks before her, I overheard her ask her mother, “Can I just eat all of this?” and I understood the sentiment, even though the answer was clearly no.
The rice donut I got didn’t sound particularly enticing, with its red bean paste filling, but it tasted incredible. Its outside was more sticky than what I think of as the normal texture of a donut, but that’s because of the way the rice is worked into a paste before it is filled. This is usually a two person process, which I was able to read about in I Love You So Mochi. In the book Kimi tried a lot of different types of fillings in her mochi. I picked the red bean paste because it happened to be the only one available, but I was glad that was the case since I wanted to try something different.
Everything I had the pleasure of sampling was sweet without being too sweet. In addition to trying mochi, I also tried matcha cream filled bread. Matcha is a type of green tea. I first had it in an ice cream at a sushi restaurant, and later tried it in a La Finca Frappe as well as a latte. I liked this pairing of matcha best after it had set in my refrigerator overnight. I also had some delightful strawberry pastries. They were light like strudel with a sweet drizzled icing on top. Needless to say with so many options and limited space in my stomach, I will definitely be going back to try more. I was happy to find that there was a steady stream of customers, making it clear that while this bakery was new to me, many people in the area have already discovered the charms Kim’s Bakery has to offer.
There you have it. Do yourself a favor and read I Love You So Mochi. Then, if you’re in the St. Louis area, head to Kim’s with an empty stomach or a really large bag so you can take plenty of treats home with you. If you’re not in the St. Louis area, do some searching of your own to find some mochi to try. Do it for Kimi, but mostly just do it for yourself. Trying new foods never gets old.
If you haven’t already read I Love You So Mochi, what are you waiting for? If you already have, why not pick it up again? Either way, take my advice when you do—don’t just read it, experience it!
Want information about purchasing this book from Neighborhood Reads, a local Washington, MO book store? Click the book image above!
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