An’ei Mochi (An’ei Era Mochi)

Brand: Kuwana Specialty Products

Cost: 260 yen

Found At: Shinkansen Track Kiosk

I had no idea that this mochi existed until my mother pointed to a billboard in Kumano Nachi Taisha and asked, “is that an advertisement for maxi pads?” Sure enough, the billboard featured two of these An’ei Era (1772-1781) Mochi cakes which looked to all the world, like two maxi pads made out of pounded rice. Being as body-positive as I am, I knew I had to find some.

But I found no answers in this mochi, because not only did these mochi look like feminine hygiene products but they were about as about as dry as a sanitary pad. They certainly had all the requisite elements of a mochi – red beans crushed into a paste and wrapped with pounded rice – with the added “An’ei Era” element of then being stretched into a long, flat cake. But mochi, not matter how contorted, is usually moist and chewy. How they managed to make it so dry is beyond me. It was like biting into a dehydration packet and left me wondering if my mother hadn’t been right all along. After all, ancient peoples had to make due with what they had.

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