Monday, February 28, 2011

Tuesday Bento!

Yesterday's meal was met with a very good reaction from Elena (my younger sister) with an especial liking of the fruit kabobs, so they shall also appear in today's meal.

Today's meal:
Main compartment; 
nutella and coconut pinwheels on flour tortillas,
rasberry and fruit leather kabobs, 
and slices of cucumber.

Snack compartment: 
for me:

for Elena: 
wasabi coated peas. 

she tends to like spicier things, whereas I like fruit quite a bit, so our snacks are respective of our tastes ^_^

Tuesday review and Wednesday bento to be posted tomorrow!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Monday Bento!

Today's bento was my first try at a simple school lunch bento, nothing hard, just a few Sandwich hearts, fruit leather kabobs, carrots, whole wheat goldfish, and soy yogurt.
Lemon curd hearts (4 per bento)
blueberry/pomegranate fruit things, (2 per box)
rasberry fruit thingies (2 per box)
strawberry/wild berry fruit kabobs (2 per box)
soy peach yogurt (1)
8 baby carrots per box
and a serving of whole wheat goldfish crackers ^_^

I'm hoping that this meal receives approval from my younger sister (she's part of my  bento lunch experience as well, because I need to make sure that the lunch is good to people besides just me.) but, as of tomorrow, we shall see!

Tuesday lunch post ought to be up on Monday night when I make the lunch.

The MASSIVE 3 posts in one post.

So, to make up for my laziness over the past 3 days, I'm going to give you 3 posts in one! Again, I have yet to start in on lunches, because meat fare Sunday is today. The post will consist of a bit of personal history on my introduction to Bento. some background on bento (my research was done on "cooking") and the history of Meat Fare Sunday (research from ) 

My Introduction to Bento

I have enjoyed Anime since I was little, and my liking for japanese culture has only grown since my years of watching "Sailor Moon" in the living room. Beginning with the Tokyo Mew Mew series in middle school, I got into Manga, and decided to delve deeper into the wonderful cultural experience that is Japan. I began to research the food and culture of Japan, and even began to attend Naka-Kon! This year I went as Misty (from the popular show "Pokemon") 
(me, with a guy who is cosplaying Ash)
I became an avid Cosplayer (someone who dresses up as the characters from his or her favorite anime or manga) last year I cosplayed Alice, from the manga version of "Alice in Wonderland" and for halloween last year I was Zakuro Fujiwara, the wolfgirl of the Tokyo Mew Mew series. I also love wearing my Neko ears and tail ^_^ (Neko = cat). 

I have only recently gotten interested in more than the regular food side of the Japanese food culture, leading me to see a few pictures of cute bento lunches and get curious... once I realized that they were just cute and healthy box lunches that were much better (and SO MUCH more kawaii) then brown bagging it, I was in! At which point I realized that Lent was coming up, and that I could start my blog. And rather than just helping myself to have fun and overcome fasting difficulties, I could help other people too! 

The History of Bento

Early Bento:

Bento, or packed lunches, can be traced back as far as the fifth century, when Japanese leaving their homes to till their fields, hunt, fish, or even wage war carried food with them to eat on the go.  These portable meals typically contained staples, such as white rice, rice mixed with millet, or potatoes. 

During the Kamakura Period (1185 to 1333), hoshi-ii (literally, "dried meal") was developed.  Hoshi-iiconsisted of cooked and dried rice, carried in a small bag, that was eaten as is or after being rehydrated with hot or cold water.  Wooden lacquered bento boxes were produced during the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1568 to 1600); meals would be served in such boxes at tea parties and during hanami (cherry blossom viewing parties). 

During the peaceful and prosperous Edo Period (1603-1868), bento became more refined and widespread.  Japanese packed lavish assortments of food into fancy, tiered, lacquer boxes to take on outdoor excursions or to the theater.  Travelers and tourists would carry koshibento ("waist bento"), consisting of onigiri wrapped in bamboo leaves or in a bamboo box.  The popular makunouchi bento ("between-scene bento"), consisting of small onigiri sprinked with sesame seeds and a rich assortment of side dishes, was developed during this time for theater patrons to eat between maku ("scenes").  From this period onwards, bento began to evolve into a sophisticated art form.  Special occasion bento are used in celebrations in the home, at Buddhist memorial services, for entertaining guests, and for tea ceremonies.  

In the Meiji Period (1868-1912), Japan's railway system was born, and the first ekiben ("station bento") were sold.  The very first ekiben, consisting of takuan and rice balls with umeboshi filling that were wrapped in bamboo leaves, reportedly was sold on July 16, 1885 at the Utsunomiya Station in Tochigi Prefecture.  Thousands of different types of ekiben are sold at train stations throughout Japan today.  A European-style bento, consisting of sandwiches, also was developed during this period.

The aluminum bento box made its first appearance during the Taisho Period (1912 to 1926) and was considered a luxury item due to its silver-like finish and its ease of cleaning.  The disparity in wealth among Japanese spread during this period due to an export boom during World War I and subsquent crop failures in the Tohuku region.  Bento carried to school by children became a reflection of a student's wealth.  A movement thus developed to abolish bento in school and, after World War II, the practice of bringing bento to school gradually declined and was replaced by uniform food provided for all students and faculty.
The 1980s – with the introduction of microwave ovens, convenience stores, and more affordable bento boxes – saw a resurgence of bento. 

Bento Today:

Bento again are a common sight at schools and at work.  With more working mothers, however, ready-made bento are increasingly sold at convenience stores, supermarkets, department stores, and restaurants.  In addition to the still popular makunouchi bento, many types of box lunches are sold, including Chinese- and Western-style bento. 

Modern bento boxes are made of many materials, including plastic, aluminum, and the traditional wood. Generally, boxes are rectangular, oval, or circular in shape.  Some bento are designed to keep food hot, such as Zojirushi's Mr. Bento.  Designer bento boxes, and boxes decorated with popular characters such Hello Kitty, also are popular.  Bento boxes often come with matching chopsticks, silverware, and carrying pouches called kinchaku or large cloths called furoshiki used to wrap everything up.  There are styles designed for women, business men, boys, and girls – a little something for everyone!

Meat Fare Sunday:

It is a strong conviction and belief of the Church that Christ will come a second time into the world, not to save the world, but in "glory" to judge the world. In as much as God knew in advance the destiny of each man, why did He not prevent the non-believers and wrong-doers from being born and being condemned everlastingly, someone might ask. The fate of people is wrought on this earth, because after death, there is no opportunity for repentance in order to better one's state. Man's finite mind cannot comprehend God's love for his salvation and judgment for his condemnation. Yet, here is the center of the belief that there is a Supreme Judge for those who committed iniquities and wrong-doings without punishment or discovery while on earth. Approaching Lent and Easter, the Christian is admonished to correct his faults by fasting, praying and almsgiving, as recorded in the Gospel passage of the day. The Last Judgment will be made according to the good works of each person as a result of his faith in and worship of God. These good works are directed to the "least", those in need, as Christ Himself says, "as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me", (v. 45). This Sunday is the last day before Lent that the believer eats meat.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lenten Bento Prep!

The Beginning

A little about your author:
I'm an 18 year old Senior in high school (no, I will NOT be mentioning my state in here..) and I'm Greek Orthodox. I love Japanese culture, and the idea of bento boxed lunches has been on my mind for a while now, therefore with Lent coming up I decided to put myself to the test, and take out two birds with one stone, I'd start my own blog, and try something fun with food! I'm also quite busy with school and my FIRST Robotics team, so if I don't get around to posting every day, that would be why. I also decided to create this blog to help out the moms in my parish (and hopefully the other parishes in the area) to keep them from going crazy with finding good fasting options for their kids. It used to drive me crazy when I was little and would be trying to fast from meat, and then not be able to find any good school lunch options, Therefore, I'll finally be fasting, the fun way!

Now, onto the bento!

     I've officially begun preparing for a bento lent, and my embarkation on my first ever blogging adventure! I ask you to bear with me as I get my bearings about this whole blogging thing, because I tend to ramble.. or not have enough words. Anyways, tonight I went shopping for bento fixings, and, until I get an actual bento box (coming soon!) a suitable Tupperware container to use. So, after a Target run (and a kitchen table full of grocery bags) I've come up with some of the things I'll be using for my first attempt at meat and dairy free bento lunches for myself and my sister. 

  • Whole Grain White bread (Yay  Wonder bread!)
  • Blackberry jam
  • Lemon curd jam (it looked fun ^_^)
  • Jif creamy peanut butter
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Whole Grain goldfish
  • Baby Carrots
  • Green Valley Organics Lactose free yogurt (yummier then it sounds! I promise!)
  • Soy based fake meat products (also better then they sound!)
  • Bananas
So by this point, you can tell that most of the bento items I've purchased are things you would have in your everyday brown bag.. we're just going to be more creative, and find ways to make lunch more fun then the perpetual brown bag pb&j sandwiches. Using simple household items (cookie cutters anyone?) because I like things that are fun and different.. but I'm very lazy.

This was your first post!