Food Bazaar serves up Oriental cuisine

As many as 1,500 to be served at Del Oro High School
By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
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Carol Iwasaki can’t remember not being at the Oriental Food Bazaar. The fundraiser was started 56 years ago by the members of the First United Methodist Church of Loomis. Back then, Iwasaki said, it was a “tiny, tiny church” and its membership was mostly Japanese Americans, like her parents, Spring and Howard Nakae. “I don’t know that I’ve missed a year” at the Food Bazaar, said Iwasaki, 66, even though as an adult she moved to Sacramento and lived in Roseville for 38 years. She moved back to her family’s ranch, Twin Peaks Orchards in Newcastle, four years ago following her father’s death. Janis Henley, who with her husband George, has headed up the Food Bazaar for 12 years, said church membership is now about 600. And it takes a good number of church volunteers, about 200, to fill the 40 committees that put on the yearly festival and will serve from 1,200 to 1,500 guests. “We prepare 400 pounds of beef that goes on skewers for the kushiyaki, 800 chickens, 400 pounds of rice, and we make 300 pies,” Henley said. The menu also includes Inari sushi, a rice ball, and chow mein. Preparation for the chow mein started today, because the noodles must be cooked, then fried. The pork and eggs for the chow mein will be cooked tomorrow. The cooking and preparation takes place in the kitchen at the church’s Fellowship Hall. Friday evening everything is taken to the Del Oro High School cafeteria, where the Food Bazaar is held and preparation continues. That’s also where the beef is skewered for the kabob-like kushiyaki and the teriyaki chicken is barbecued. The chow mein has always been made using her mother’s recipe, Iwasaki said. What’s interesting about the chow mein, Iwasaki said, is that for many years, there was only one chow mein committee that “had to do it all.” “Now you have a noodle committee … a noodle boil committee, a noodle fry committee, a pork committee, a committee that cooks the meat, and a committee that chops up all the vegetables,” she said. Iwasaki overseas the pie making, which she said goes on throughout the year as members of the congregation who have access to fresh fruit freeze and store it for the pies. “Then there’s a lot of people in the church who will be bringing baked goods, too,” Iwasaki said. “A lot of people are really good at baking things.” But the strawberry pies, Iwasaki said, won’t be made up at the church until Saturday morning so that they’ll be especially fresh when served. The 56th Annual Oriental Food Bazaar will be open from 11 a.m. to dine in, and 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for take out. For a bit more Japanese culture, don’t miss the demonstration of a Japanese tea ceremony presented by Sumie Ward and her students at 1, 2 and 3 p.m.