Livingston church offers mochi tsuki for new year

LIVINGSTON -- With the annual Mochi Tsuki, or rice pounding, fast approaching, it is time to pre-order mochi for the New Year.

Mochi Tsuki will be held this year on Dec. 27 at the United Methodist Church of Livingston, 11695 Olive Ave. The church continues a tradition from old Japan of making mochi by hand. Most mochi now in this country and in Japan is made by machine.

Orders should be phoned in before Christmas to the church office at (209) 394-2264. Plain mochi sells for $3.50 a pound, which is usually about six pieces. The ahn mochi with the sweet bean paste inside sells for $1 apiece. To assure your mochi, please pre-order.

Mochi is a Japanese tradition at New Year. Families gathered to take turns pounding the cooked rice in a granite bowl. The pounding is done by two people, while another turns the rice.

The public is welcome to come see the event. It starts at 8 a.m. and will go to 4 p.m. All mochi ordered should be picked up between 1 and 4 p.m.

Around 10 a.m. to noon is the most interesting time to visit, while the rice is still being cooked, pounded and divided into pieces. Samples are usually available to taste, and mochi, if any is left, will be for sale.

For more information, call the church office at (209) 394-2264.