Every morning I tried to come up with a bento that is different both in appearance and taste from the previous day, in order for our ever growing girl to enjoy a variety as well as a daily small surprise of opening this treasure-box like bento container. Despite my effort however, the bentos yesterday and today look quite alike, which I noticed after looking at their pictures.
Grilled fish bento on 11/May/17
Chicken soboro bento on 12/May/17)
Tastewise they are different, but because of the combination of four colours (brown, bright orange yellow, bright red and bright green) they both look pretty much the same… Next time I’ll omit the bright red and see what happens.
There was a school picnic at our daughter’s kindergarten with their mummies, daddies and/or caretakers. We went to the Yoyogi Park, right next to the beautiful Meiji Shrine in the heart of central Tokyo.
I usually make Onigiri rice balls for this type of occasion, but this time made some sandwiches for a change.
One with egg salad, another with the Dutch Appelstroop (Apple syrup) with Dutch Gouda cheese, and one with strawberry jam.
During the so-called Golden Week holidays at the beginning of May (one week of consecutive public holidays), we took a short trip to up in the mountains in Gunma prefecture where my aunt and uncle live. Every spring we enjoy visiting them at their beautiful traditional wooden house, built entirely by my carpenter uncle, and going for Takenoko (bamboo shoot) digging in the mountain at the back of their house.
This was only the second year to do Takenoko digging for our daughter, but she was very comfortable and enthusiastic going through the woods to find the small signs of bamboo shoot emerging from the ground.
The hardship of Takenoko digging is worth every sweat. The eating bit afterwards is a great pleasure. This year, I cooked Takenoko rice in an earthen pot for a Sunday brunch with our good friends after coming back from Gunma, coupled with the white asparagus dish inspired by my Dutch husband’s roots. For those who are interested in the recipe of the Taeknoko rice, click here for the one I used.
The leftover Takenoko rice was packed for my daughter’s bento the next day. Last year she could not eat Takenoko, but this year the bento box came back empty!
Takenoko, bamboo shoot
After the emergency call from our daughter’s teacher due to some allergic reaction from whatever she had eaten for breakfast (as I wrote on my post yesterday), I rushed into her school to pick her up in the morning, not too long after my husband brought her there on his way to work. As a result, the bento I had made for her in early morning was still in her backpack, untouched.
We went to the doctor, got her medicine, and came home in time for lunch. Our daughter was hungry despite her rashes, so I suggested her to eat the bento. As soon as she heard me say so, she took her bento box out of her backpack along with other items, almost in an auto-pilot mode, and placed them nicely on the dining table. Doesn’t it look cute? Apparently this is what they’ve been trained to do at school on their own. It’s really nice and endearing to see her do it at home, too.
Menu: Niku-jaga (stewed potato with pork), Grilled kanpachi fish (amberjack), Green beans & spinach goma-ae, Rice with black sesame sprinkle
Grapes & kiwi for dessert, which I ate due to our daughter’s potential kiwi allergy
Menu: Simmered sword fish, Plain omelet, Boiled green beans, Rice with goma-konbu, Steamed carrot
Kiwi for dessert
This was our daughter’s bento on Wednesday. She has eaten all the ingredients in the bento box numerous times in the past, including kiwi. The bento box was empty when she came home.
The following day on Thursday, she developed some allergic reaction at school, an hour after she ate her breakfast. I had to rush there to pick her up after the emergency call from her teacher. When I arrived, she was sitting on the large sofa in the teachers’ room alone looking a little sheepish, but I could tell she was secretly enjoying this special attention from everyone. As I approached her more closely, I could see these pink spots all around her cheeks. She had rashes on her legs, too. I took her to the doctor afterwards, who said it was most likely the food she ate for breakfast in the morning. She ate normal breakfast, nothing special, but including kiwi.
My daughter was tested for allergies when she was about two years old, and the result came out completely clean. I do understand that this can change after a few years for young children, but I just cannot believe that something she had eaten the day before without any allergic reaction could cause such severe reaction the next day. But the doctor mentioned it still could be it (or at least one of the possibilities). And funny enough, my daughter also insists that it was kiwi. She says whenever she eats kiwi, it tastes “sour & spicy.”
Hmmmmm I guess I’ll need to have her tested once again.
Menu: Grilled cod in saikyo miso marinade, Boiled egg, Sautéed komatsuna & bacon, Cherry tomato, Rice with black sesame sprinkle
Apple mousse & banana for dessert
Around this time a year ago, my bento making started as my daughter entered her kindergarten, and I remember each time I packed grilled fish I carefully flaked their flesh so that she could easily eat them with her small fork. It may sound like I was spoiling her, but I thought it’d be better to see the bento box empty rather than with the whole chunk of fish left. Now after one year, she clumsily uses her chopsticks and flake them herself. Not so precisely just yet, but I think that’s only a matter of time. It’s a great improvement for me, too – I now just cut a filet into a few pieces and put the chunky bits into the bento box. What a time saver!
Spring is a great season in Japan. Despite the limited access to nature in Tokyo, we still see many plants and flowers growing at every corner on our way to kindergarten. Everyday we find the signs of small life around us, as if they strive to occupy every single tiny space with soil among the paved streets. I love this season, and today made a bento with a flower field in mind.
Menu: Grilled salmon flakes & scrambled egg on rice, Mashed pumpkin & sweet potato with chicken soboro, Steamed broccoli, Cherry tomato
Apple bunnies for dessert