For the rest of the world, V-J Day is August 14-15 (depending upon which side of the date line you’re on). It marks the day Japan announced their surrender. In America the “Official” V-J Day is September 2, when Japan signed the surrender documents. In 1995, President Clinton referred to the 50th anniversary of American’s official day as “the end of the Pacific War” rather than V-J Day.
Naturally, the administration came under fire for being overly deferential to Japan and insensitive toward U.S. veterans who, as prisoners of war, suffered greatly at the hands of their Japanese captors. Both terms are correct in that it was victory over Japan and an end to the war in the Pacific. Over the years many of the celebrations have fallen from favor due to concerns about being offensive to Japan, to Japanese Americans, and celebrating a day brought about by the nuclear devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Today marks the 75th Anniversary of Japan’s official surrender.
My mother was a young girl in the Philippines during World War II. The liberation of her homeland meant everything to her. The last photo taken of my mom she took herself. Dad had hung a flag to mark Flag Day and mom took a picture of the flag. In the reflection of our front window is her image. Mom loved this country very much. She also valued the Japanese friends she had made over the years.
My 5th Grade Teacher was a young woman during the war. She and her family lost everything when they were sent to internment camps for “protection” after the attack on Pearl Harbor. She was one of my most memorable teachers, sharing her culture in beautiful ways. Today there are elementary schools that bear her name.
It’s important to remember the past, both the good and the bad. It is a measuring stick for where we have been, how far we have come and where we want to go. Without a point of reference, not only are we doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past, and not recognize the threats to our future, but we are left wandering without a compass.
Remembering V-J Day Menu
Asian Beef Rice Bowls
Sesame Soy Green Beans
Asian Beef Rice Bowls
3 cups cooked Sticky Rice
Make sticky rice according to package directions.
Note: I use Jasmine Rice and make it in my Instant Pot. 1-1/2 cups of uncooked rice, 1-1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Set rice, white 12 minute cook. By not rinsing the rice, it is very sticky. Keep warm until ready to use.
While the rice is cooking, make the sauce.
1 tablespoon Hoisin Sauce
2 tablespoons Oyster Sauce
1 tablespoon Sake
2-1/2 tablespoon Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Sesame Oil
1/4 teaspoon White Pepper
In a bowl, whisk together ingredients for the sauce. Set aside and make the beef.
Beef Stir Fry
2 Garlic Cloves
1 bunch Green Onions, divided
1 tablespoon Oil
1 lb Ground Beef
Sesame Seeds, garnish
Peel and finely mince garlic, set aside. Trim ends from the green onions, finely slice, separate white and pale parts from the green tops.
Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add garlic and pale onion slices to the pan, cook for 1 minute or until onion starts browning.
Add beef, crumble and cook through. Once the beef has all changed from red to brown, add Sauce. Cook for a further 2 minutes, or until Sauce has evaporated and beef is cooked.
Remove from heat. Add half of green parts of the onion, stir to incorporate into the meat.
Place rice in individual bowls. Top with meat mixture. Garnish with sesame seeds and remaining green onion tops.
Sesame Soy Green Beans
3/4 lb Frozen Green Beans
1 pinch Kosher Salt
1/2 cup Water
1 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons Sesame Seeds, toasted
Trim ends of beans. If necessary, cut some of the longer beans for a more uniform size. Rinse under cold water to thaw, and shake dry.
In a large saucepan add water. Place beans into saucepan, sprinkle with salt. Bring beans to a rolling boil; reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender and nearly all the water has evaporated.
While the green beans are cooking, toast the sesame seeds lightly in a dry skillet over medium heat. Shake pan and toast. Set sesame seeds aside.
Drain remaining water from the saucepan. Add the butter, soy sauce and sesame seeds to the green beans; toss to coat.
Transfer to a serving bowl or dish and enjoy!
Note: Green Beans can be served on small plates alongside the beef bowls or beef on one side of the bowl, green beans on the other to use the same dish.