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.
The bento preparation needs to be done everyday when the school is open, no matter how busy I am with work. I’ve been working on this subtitling work for a UFO documentary (not my field at all!), and hence very tied up. But it doesn’t really matter as far as my daughter is concerned with her kindergarten program. I just have to somehow work around it. That involves a lot of multi-tasking followed by inevitable sleep deprivation (for me).
In an auto-pilot mode, I managed to get myself out of bed this morning after a short night of sleep, prepared a bento for my daughter in my pjs, while thinking about the extra-terrestrial activities. Oh I love my life!
Menu: Edamame rice, Tofu omelet, Grilled snapper in Moromi marinade, Stir-fried spinach & potato, Cherry tomato
Apple for dessert
My daughter loves fish, and I love that she does. But every time she eats her bento with fish, she comes home with fishy smelling uniform. I wish fish doesn’t smell so much, but I guess that’s not quite possible…
Menu: Grilled Spanish mackerel in saikyo-miso, Leftover salad (cucumber, daikon radish & radicchio), Plain omelet, Boiled asparagus, Goma-konbu on rice
Apple & strawberries for dessert
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.
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!
Menu: Grilled Madai fish marinated in moromi miso, Nikujaga (stewed pork, potato & carrot), Nira (Chinese chives) omelet, Cucumber & tomato salad
Kiwi & banana for dessert
Today’s fish is bought from the fishmonger who comes to our apartment building in a small pickup truck with a customised glass fridge and a plastic roof on top. This used to be common, but these days we rarely come across this type of ‘moving shops’ any longer.
He is a friendly elderly man in his mid 70’s, always does a great sales pitch with his thick Tohoku (North-Eastern Japan) accent. He’s been coming to us for the past six months or so, and he now even calls me on my mobile phone to announce his arrival at our front lobby on every Wednesday morning. His fish are always fresh, reasonable and tasty. But most of all, his charming character makes this whole experience special, reminding me of good old days Japan where things were more personal.
I greatly appreciate his presence in our neighborhood. He, together with his fish truck, adds a bit more reality in the otherwise quite inorganic cold concrete jungle. I hope this will continue. I hope he will keep coming back and let us continue to have this amazing traditional social interaction in our everyday life.
Menu: Grilled Medai (Japanese butterfish?), Chicken soboro salad, Stewed cabbage, daikon & corn in chicken soup, Boiled egg, Rice, Nori seaweed
Kiwi, banana & strawberry for dessert