Summer holiday starts at the end of this week (usually 21st of July) in most of the public schools in Tokyo. Our daughter’s school is one of them, and today is the last day for me to prepare a bento for the next 40 days. Despite the joy of bento making for my dearest daughter, it is such a relief not having to do so every day for a while.
Menu: Onigiri with grilled salmon filling, Omelet, Boiled edamame, Boiled vegetables in chicken stock
Kiwi & banana for dessert
The daily bento making will resume in September. Until then, I will try to write some essays on cultural topics I’ve meant to write for a while…
Thank you always for visiting my blog. It means a lot to me.
Menu: Chicken soboro (frozen) & sliced green beans (leftover) donburi with flower-shaped carrot (frozen), Corn (leftover) omelet, Daikon & cucumber salad (leftover)
Apple mousse (frozen) & mashed sweet potato (frozen) with raisins for dessert
Menu: Simmered sword fish, Steamed pumpkin, Steamed cabbage & daikon slices, Cucumber sticks, Rice
Grapes for dessert
I cheated and microwaved cabbage & daikon. Somehow it makes me feel a bit guilty to cook veggies in the microwave, but it can’t beat to save some precious time in the morning.
Once a year around this time of the year, the oldest kids at my daughter’s school make Japanese style curry as a special in-school activity. As requested by her homeroom teacher, I only packed rice (and a bit of veggies & dessert) for her bento today. The kids will pour in their handmade curry to the empty space in their bento box. What a lovely idea, and next year, it’ll be my daughter & her friends turn.
With the leftover niku-jaga in the bento yesterday, I made a bunch of croquettes as a variation by mashing the niku-jaga, applying flour, beaten egg & bread crumbs, and deep-frying them.
Despite my effort and to my dismay, however, my daughter only ate one of them in her bento today, claiming the sauce was missing, and it wasn’t very tasty… What an excruciating criticism from a 4-year-old…
Yes, indeed I did omit to season it with her favorite Japanese Worcester sauce this morning. The magic sauce that works wonders with deep fried food such as croquettes and tonkatsu (Japanese style pork schnitzel). I thought it wasn’t necessary because the niku-jaga was already seasoned.
But my daughter is right, the niku-jaga croquettes do taste much better with the sauce, so I served now the leftover croquettes for dinner, this time with her favorite Japanese Worcester sauce.
Last night my daughter came up to me while I was washing her bento box in the kitchen, and asked me why I only cook rice or pasta for her bento box and never any onigiri (rice balls). She sounded quite desperate on the verge of bursting into tears. She said one of her best friends’ mummy always pack onigiri for her daghter, but I never do it for her, and she’s very sad, bah bah bah…
I felt a bit trapped with her teary request because I don’t make onigiri always for a good reason; it takes an extra step to make onigiri in the busy morning. I’d rather just pack freshly cooked rice, and get an extra 3-minute-sleep. Wouldn’t anyone?
Nevertheless, I gave in and made onigiri for my daughter out of mother’s love this morning.
Menu: Onigiri riceballs with nori seaweed, Niku-jaga stewed potatoes & meat, Cherry tomato omelet, Boiled green beans
Banana & Apple for dessert
The annual heat wave has arrived in Tokyo, with the humidity of what it feels like 120%. Under this condition without any fridge at my daughter’s school, I must take ‘cooling’ her bento into consideration. I usually put the bento box in a plastic bag, along with two ice patches from the freezer. You get these ice patches from any grocery stores in Japan, since the heat is just overbearing for fresh ingredients.Some kids have a more effective thermos bento box or a bento bag with ice patch embedded. My solution is rather primitive, but it seems to be working just fine so far.
Menu: Chicken meatballs, Shredded vegetable salad, Boiled green beans, Rice with goma-shio sprinkles
Apple mousse & mashed sweet potato combo with raisins for dessert
Menu: Grilled salmon mixed in rice, Boiled egg, Boiled asparagus, Corns & cucumber salad
Grapes & banana for dessert
Today, 7th July is the day to celebrate Tanabata festival, where traditionally we put up our wish on a piece of rectangle paper and hang it on bamboo branches along with other colourful decorations made with Origami papers. It is the festival to celebrate a once-a-year rendezvous of this married couple, Princess Orihime & Prince Hikoboshi, who were derived from the stars (Vega and Altair) and separated by the Milky Way.
At our daughter’s school, they celebrated it by singing a Tanabata song and eating watermelon, one of the seasonal fruits in summer and very typical for summer festival, after their bento lunch. I totally forgot about it and packed grapes & banana for dessert… Oh well, lucky her to have extra dessert today!
Click here for more details about Tanabata, from Wikipedia.
Here is my daughter’s wish. It reads: I WISH TO BE A PRINCESS AND TRAVEL TO SPACE
Menu: Chicken soboro & egg crumble donburi, Baba hamu kyuri, Okra mixed with sesame, “katsuobushi” bonito flakes & dashi soy sauce, Cherry tomato
Red grapes & banana for dessert
This morning, I seemed to have heated up the frying pan too much before pouring beaten egg in it. As soon as the egg landed on the pan, it started to give brownish colour in the bright yellow, and as I mixed the egg with my cooking chopsticks, it crumbled and looked as if I had added some other ingredient in the egg mixture.
No worries, it tastes the same. Another good reminder to not overheat the pan.
Not being a morning person, like any other morning I forced myself to wake up this morning by turning my iPhone on and checking the weather. Whether it is good or bad, this always works for me.
Anyway, I prepared my daughter’s bento as usual, even diligently following her wish to enclose a pack of furikake as she saw one of her school friends did the same.
Menu: Grilled Japanese “mutsu” fish in saikyo miso marinade, Boiled egg, Cucumber/tomato/corn salad, Steamed broccoli and Rice, Banana & Apple mousse for dessert
Furikake on the side
5 minutes before our daily “Ittekimasu (I’m off, bye!)” ritual, I was also packing up my own bag to leave with her, because I had to attend a PTA related meeting followed by some volunteer work at her school. Going over today’s schedule in my head as I packed (of course in a super rush), I thought, ok, after the volunteer work I’ll just pick her up downstairs, because there is no afternoon class today… yep we have a play date arranged at the Midtown park afterwards, so I’ll also need to pack picnic mat… I can buy lunch at a supermarket there… oh, lunch… oh? lunch? Ah, didn’t I just make bento! Oh, all the effort was not called for… it was totally unnecessary! I could’ve slept longer this morning… What an idiot…🤣
Another great start of the day, and a good reminder to always pack the night before.