When I was a kid my mother used to take a few of slices of Velveeta, sandwich them between a couple of slices of bread, wrap it in saran, throw the whole thing in a brown paper bag along with a crisp juicy apple and bing, bang, boom me and my lunch were out the door and on our way to school.
Making lunches in my household today is a whole other story. An awful lot of work goes into filling these two little boxes. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology that has given us the refrigerator and freezer much of the prep cooking can be done days in advance. The little goodies that sit side by side together in the bento box (lunch box) can be prepped and sealed in little containers to be stored away for another day. That frozen ice chamber, occupying a significant chunk of real estate in my kitchen, is a real life saver. I think some day I should pen an ode to that massive chest and tape it to its broad shoulders for all the world to see.
Doing the cooking in advance also means I don't have to do it all myself. Here at the Shiritori Cafe (that's my kitchen) we have an entire team of cooks slaving away at the stove night and day in a bid to satiate the ever-growing appetites of my continually-growing sons. It's only a team of two, my wife and I, but you know what they say, "helping hands make light work," "misery loves company," etcetera, etcetera. Anyway we've got our act together and we're making tiny miracles happen every day.
Here's the little miracle in a box that happened in our kitchen this morning:
- Steamed whole rice topped with pickled takana (a slightly sour leafy vegetable) and spicy cod fish roe
- Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) simmered in broth (mirin, soy sauce, fish stock, brown sugar)
- Sauteed carrots and string beans
- Finger lickin' good boneless fried chicken
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