January 29, 2009

O-Bento Day/お弁当の日

First of all, I made curry (well, Japanese curry, of course) for supper last night.
For me and for millions of other Japanese, curry is something that you make when you just can't think of the right dish to make. For me, this happens once or twice a month.
まずは、昨日の夕飯にはカレー(もちろん日本のカレー)を作りました。
私を含め、何百万もの日本人にとって、カレーとはどんな料理を作ったらいいか分からない時に作るものです。私の場合、そんな時が月に1、2回はあります。
The premade curry roux that I used to make curry:
カレーを作るのに使った、出来合いのカレールー:

In most cases, the ingredients of my curry are pretty basic: Thinly sliced pork (or chicken), carrots, onions, and potatoes.
大抵の場合、私のカレーの具はベーシックなものです。豚の薄切り(または鶏肉)、ニンジン、玉ねぎ、ジャガイモです。

This morning, I had to make an o-bento (or bento, which is less polite) for my daughter. On normal school days, almost all elementary and junior high school children in Japan have kyushoku (school lunches). But today was an alpine ski lesson day for the third graders at my daughter's elementary school, and they had to bring an o-bento with them.
Bento making is a major hassle for me, because I'm not yet used to this. I usually make as many preparations the night before as I can, yet I have to get up about 30 minutes earlier than usual on that day. This time, I made atsuyaki tamago (thick rolled omelet and lotus root kinpira last night.
The leftmost item in the photo is an oshibori (wet towel) in a container, and the top item is canned fruit cocktail in a Tupperware container. I wanted to include some fresh fruit like melon or strawberries, but fruit prices were high today, so no fresh fruit this time.
今朝は娘のためにお弁当を作らなければなりませんでした。普通の日は、日本の殆どの小学生、中学生は給食を食べます。しかし、今日は娘の通う小学校の3年生にとってはアルペンスキー授業の日で、お弁当を持っていかなければいけませんでした。
私にとっては、弁当作りは慣れていないので、大変なことです。通常、前の夜にできるだけ準備をしていますが、それでも当日はいつもより30分早く起きなければなりません。今回は、昨日の夜に厚焼き玉子とレンコンのキンピラを作っておきました。
写真の左端にあるのは、容器に入れた「おしぼり」(濡れたタオル)で、一番上のはタッパーに入れた缶詰のフルーツカクテルです。メロンやイチゴなど生の果物にしたかったのですが、今日は果物の値段が高かったので、今回は生の果物はありません。

I made three types of onigiri (rice balls), nameshi (vegetable greens), salmon flakes, and yukari (red perilla).
おにぎりは3種類作りました。菜飯、鮭フレーク、ゆかりです。


I showed my daughter the bento, and explained each item of it, and she said she preferred the Hello Kitty chopsticks that she used to use when she was a preschooler. I tried to dissuade her, saying that they were now too short for her, but she insisted.
Shown in the photo are (top to bottom): Waribashi (disposable chopsticks), Hellow Kitty chopsticks and container, and the chopsticks for my daughter's everyday use. You can see their difference in length.
娘に弁当を見せて、中身をそれぞれ説明すると、娘は保育所の時に使っていたハローキティーの箸のほうがいいと言い出しました。私は、それはもう娘には短すぎると言って、諦めさせたかったのですが、娘は言うことをききませんでした。
写真に写っているのは(上から下に)割り箸、ハローキティーの箸と容器、娘が普段使っている箸です。長さの違いが分かります。

My daughter said that she wanted only one of each type of onigiri. I wrapped each onigiri in plastic wrap, as well as sheets of nori (laver).
娘はおにぎりをそれぞれ1個づつ欲しいと言いました。それぞれラップに包みました。海苔もラップに包みました。

A complete set of bento, together with her water bottle, which contains hot barley tea.
弁当一式と、暖かい麦茶が入った、娘の水筒。

6 comments:

Stacy said...

Hello Hiroyuki!!
I read your blog all the time, I find it fascinating what people eat in other countries.

The wooden chopsticks say "otemoto", can you tell me what that means?

Hiroyuki said...

Stacy: Thanks for your comment. I'm still too busy to add additional text.
"Otemoto" literally means "on hand", and in this case, it is short for "otemoto hashi" (chopsticks on hand). The term is usually used to mean a pair of disposable chopsticks made of either wood or bamboo for use by a diner when having his or her dishes.

momocha said...

Hi Hiroyukiさん,

I also very often read your blog, because it is informative yet very pleasant to read.
I'd never thought of using pork in curry. I always use beef or chicken. I'll try it some day.

I have tried a few of your recipes on Egullet. Your tentsuyu sauce was absolutely delicious, especially with the grated daikon. I did add 2 teaspoons of sugar cause the soy sauce was quite salty (I'd used chinese soy sauce. When I tasted the sauce after it was boiled, it kind of had a funky weird taste. At that point I thought I'd messed up somewhere in the proces or used the wrong soy sauce. But the key was actually letting it chilled in the fridge and it turned out really really good. I just want to thank you for sharing that recipe. どうもありがとうございます。

Poeh

Hiroyuki said...

momocha: I browsed through your blog and was surprised that it had expanded quite a lot since I visited it for the first time. Your macarons are mouth-watering!

Stacy said...

Hi again Hiroyuki
I commented on this post such a long time ago but I was reading it again because of the curry.
I recently bought a box of Kokumaro brand curry. I found a picture of the box here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mishi/3103434761/in/photostream/

I was wondering if you ever used that brand name before?

Hiroyuki said...

Stacy: Yes, I have. Kokumaro Chukara (Medium Hot). As you say, it's a little spicier than Vermont. My absolute favorite curry roux is Java (Jawa?) Curry Karakuchi (the hottest one that House offers).
Your curry looks yummy, and is very interesting; large cuts of potato and whole carrots!