Let me start this post by telling you how accomplished my host mother is: She has successfully raised two sons (one with an adorable daughter, the other soon to get married), takes care of almost all the housework, works at the hospital and also as a storyteller, and has taken care of foreign homestay students for the past 10 years. Not only does she manage to have dinner prepared promptly almost every evening, she can also make ice cream and jelly from scratch!
The ice cream is a story for another day. Believe me, I love ice cream, but the amount of sugar that went into that was horrifying. Jelly (ゼリー), on the other hand, did not require so much. My host mom made the bundt shaped jelly by first placing various fruit in the bundt mold, then pouring in the gelatin mixture before placing it in the refrigerator for several hours until the jelly set. Absolutely delicious!
My host mum served these orange jellies at the concert mentioned earlier. For these, she sliced a grapefruit in half and scooped out the insides for dessert one day and saved the peels to pour the gelatin+mandarin orange mix in. That way, when the jelly set, she just cut them up into orange slices. These were so good that they disappeared almost immediately when my host mum brought them out for the guests.
While I was in Japan, I often helped my host mum out with a few chores, especially when it came to mealtimes whether it meant setting the table, washing a few dishes, or helping her with the cooking. Of course it was expected that as a homestay student you help out around the house and take up chores, but I really enjoyed helping my host mum out in the kitchen. Not only was I giving back to a family who opened their lives and home to me, but I also was able to learn how to make some really awesome things. Believe me when I say those orange jellies are going to appear in my fridge sometime soon.