I’ve been adjusting to life without the daily race for bento preparation. Gone are the evenings spent cooking up little tidbits – my husband winding down on the couch while I zipped here and there through the kitchen – blanching, mixing, chopping, kneading, icing, steaming, washing…
My husband spent many years in the food industry through his youth and school years – starting as a barback, waiter, foodrunner, and everything in between. His cooking skills are excellent – and when he cooks, the kitchen is orderly, spotless, a live text-book definition of “mise en place.”
Meanwhile, my cooking is more free-form, with various utensils, dishes and the like scattered across the counter as though hastily escaping the confines of the cabinets en masse from some unknown fate. My husband’s head seems to spin, slowly, as he canvasses the kitchen, sighs, and asks dryly, “How do you cook like this?”
To each their own. Controlled chaos leads me to creative concoctions – he can stick to his orderly and meticulous culinary engineering!
The kitchen sink is emptied, the dishes and utensils loaded into the washer before night’s end… isn’t that all that matters?
I only pack a bento for Saturday school (summer break soon, and I will be so lost during that time!!) these days, with the theme of easy, and casual pickings.
Saturday’s bento included:
Boiled quail eggs
Onigiri with okaka (katsuobushi, or shaved bonito flakes lightly moistened with soy sauce, and some sesame seeds mixed in) made with 1/2 brown, 1/2 short grain. I tried to use the multi-grain mix, but it was too crumbly.
Blanched asparagus spears
Roasted YELLOW beets, cut into cats
The girls were curious and a bit anxious when they saw the yellow beet pieces. “Mama, I don’t know if I want this…” my older daughter said, her eyebrows furrowed, her mouth shaped in a frown. The little one watched her older sister’s reaction, and also furrowed her eyebrows.
“Trust mama, just open your mouth and try it….” I coaxed.
The older one took a tiny bite, and then her smile broke out into a smile.
“Mama, it’s a BEET! It’s YELLOW!” she exclaimed, and inhaled her beet pieces.
“Ya-LLLLOW! BEETS!” the little one shouted, and proceeded to inhale her pieces AND ask for her older sister’s pieces.
Another winner lunch for this week!