The congregation and many other interested persons gather together in December each year to make mochi from scratch.
Mochi is a rice cake made by steaming rice and either pounding the cooked rice with wooden mallets or grinding it until the desired sticky consistency is reached.
The Simpson method involves running through three separate grindings.
The paste is then cut into sections and rolled into balls and fashioned into the cake shape with a cornstarch dusting to keep everything from sticking together.
The excess cornstarch is dusted off resulting in a cornstarch haze making even children into grey haired workers.
Last the little cakes are given one last brush and packaged into one pound bags.
The two most common uses by my family are roasting or toasting the mochi and dipping it in a sweet mixture made from shoyu (soy sauce) and sugar or on New Year’s Day my Dad used to make for good luck a mild fish soup called ozoni with some napa cabbage, kamaboko fish cake and a piece of mochi.
I have made a couple of my own new uses. I toast my mochi in a pan with some butter, the outside is crispe and the inside is soft. I then pour honey or spread a small amount of Nutella. Yum, think my Mom and Dad would approve!