Today, there was an “art exhibition” at our daughter’s school first thing in the morning, presenting all the artwork made by the children for the past ten months. In our daughter’s class, there were a number of mushroom-shaped paper canvas on the wall with colourful dots and hearts painted by the children, their pictures of a large decoration cake with their own illustration (our girl painted the cake pink, purple & yellow, drew 3 candles on it and above the cake 3 people with smiling faces, representing her family. *sigh*), etcetera, etcetera…
Among all of their hard work, the biggest achievement of all was….THIS.
They each made a bento box. It had two onigiri balls, tamagoyaki (omelet), cherry tomatoes and some lettus leaves. My daughter made her onigiri balls triangle. Some of her friends made round ones or even square ones, but she made triangle onigiri balls, because I always make them triangle. Because that’s what she knows and what she eats. In the classroom, Miss N thoughtfully prepared a table with a pretend table cloth and pretend chopsticks so that the children can “eat” their own bento artwork with their mummies and daddies. The table was immediately occupied, with the children so proud of their own achievement and thrilled to share their great creation with their touchy-feely parents. My daughter also excitedly pulled my hand to her bento art and presented it to me. I picked up an omelet and pretended to eat, while my little girl was anxiously waiting to hear what I’d have to say. I opened my eyes wide and said, “Oishii!! (Good)!”, which of course brought her a shy but very large smile on her face.
After the art exhibition (lasted only half an hour or so), the parents were excused, and the children resumed their routine of another normal day. I wonder what my little girl thought, at today’s lunch time, about today’s bento I prepared for her after sharing her art bento with me. Coincidentally it contained omelet and cherry tomatoes (well, I put them almost everyday actually), with the same colour codes. I wonder whether it came across to her mind that the tiny detail of her bento resembles mine, just like my bento appear to resemble my mum’s. After all, she looks at it, tastes it every single day at school. The colours, taste, smell, ingredients, presentation… all of these must affect all of her senses although it is not very obvious right now. I remember my mum’s bentos she made when I was a little girl. I was always proud of her bento, because it was not only tasty but also beautiful with cheerful colours, the type of colours reminding me of flower fields. I hope that my daughter also looks forward to opening her bento everyday, feels happy every time she opens the lid and has the first bite. The joy of bento making is the expectation of making someone happy. I’m sure one day my daughter will also prepare a bento for someone else, and I hope she will remember my bentos fondly, just like I do my mum’s.
Menu: Shirasu (baby sardine) donburi, Corn omelet, Stewed potato/hakusai cabbage/chicken in milk, Boiled green beans, Cherry tomatoes
Kaki persimmon for dessert