Obento

With the economy as bad as it has been lately, I decided that I would start making my own lunch to take to work. Obento are Japanese style lunches, and are ever popular in Japan. Moms compete to see who makes the cutest bento lunches for their kids and even adults take their own lunches, neatly made up into healthy and attractive portions. Apparently, having five colors in your meal is ideal – it means your meal is more balanced. Even in America, bento-style is catching on.

I went to the dollar store (actually, the 100 yen shop) and got myself a sandwich box, a bento box, and a pair of portable chopsticks (much more eco-friendly!). Total cost: 330 yen (about $300). As you see, it is very plain, but cute, too!

I aimed for 5 colors, with protein, carbs, and a little fat. My choice for carbs was genmai onigiri coated with gomashio instead of the more traditional nori. On the side, I added two little umeboshi. So far: white, black, red.

For the rest of the meal, I wanted lots of veggies and a little protein. Genmai does have protein, of course, but I added tamagoyaki (hubby made this for me, as I have never made it before) for extra protein and some fat. I cut up some fresh cucumbers and washed some cherry tomatoes (both red and yellow ones, but they are hidden by the grapes) and added a small bento-sized Kewpie as the “dressing” for my salad. I lightly steamed some sliced carrots. For dessert, some fresh grapes finished my meal. So here I add: green, orange, yellow, and purple. I had 6 colors! Yay!

The meal was yummy – not bad for my first attempt at making bento! Plus, altogether it was way cheaper than buying something at the local conbini or going to a restaurant. Hopefully I will be able to make better looking obento in the future.

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