Japanese Cooking Invades Our Kitchen

Last week my wife sent me a link to a blog called Lunch in a Box, dedicated to bento lunches. Bento, a word I recognize from going to Japanese restaurants, turns out to be this whole philosophy about lunch, how to pack it, and what to eat. Since my wife takes lunch to work everyday, she fell in love with the idea of it. Thanks to Ichiban Kan, we ordered her a bento set and during the weekend, we set out to explore Miami’s Oriental markets.

After a day out and about, we got back home with all this:

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When in Seattle, we picked up at Uwajimaya a sushi rice mold, not understanding that all the other funky molds we saw were for this, to create fun-shaped rice balls for a bento lunch. The next day I made two batches of sushi rice and made a few onigiri, or stuffed rice balls (and by balls, I mean shapes, even triangles) with tuna or umeboshi (a plum jam). They were fantastic! That night we also had sushi for dinner, and we made our own miso soup as well.

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After filling ourselves with rolls and onigiri, I used the rest of the rice to make about 15 more onigiri, which I froze for lunches later in the week.

Yesterday my wife’s bento box arrived via UPS and today we packed our first bento lunch. It’s going to take some mental adjustment to the (visually) small portions, but it looks like a great way to eat well and correctly, plus it’s fun. I’m gonna get a bento myself as well and talk more later about making onigiri and packing a bento box (though by all means check out Lunch in a Box for far better advice than I could give).


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