Well, now he must regret that the time and thought he put into the menu have evaporated as if they never existed. So, to recognize his efforts, I suggested he prepare two dishes the next day. A reduction from five dishes to two seemed like a bargain to him, and almost instantly Tom said, "I can do that," flashing a cheeky smile.
One of the dishes, mame gohan, had been his first takikomi gohan [flavored mixed steamed rice]. Since this was his second time making it, he was calm and comfortable, and even remembered the key point -- adding all liquid ingredients to rinsed rice before adding solid ingredients.
daikon, ninjin, age no itameni) involves multiple tasks, starting with removal of excess oil from usuage thin deep-fried tofu by boiling it, which Tom has done many times and handled beautifully.
Then, with a puzzled face, he announced, "You cannot slice daikon in squares! It's round."
Next Tom insisted that carrots can only be sliced into rounds.
Gee, figure it out ... that was what I wanted to say, but instead I told him to think about how to obtain squares. Then I lost my patience and silently pointed where to slice, and he seemed to have an epiphany.
After clearing these obstacles, the meal was especially satisfying.
But so far I have yet to see any followup action. Maybe someday ...