Holy crap. I'm not even going to count the months--yes, months since I've updated. But, due to an amazing trifecta (i.e. B. is napping, housework is done *and* I'm not at work or exhausted and napping too) here I am. And I'd like to talk about a subject that has become near and dear to my heart. Bento. Yes, apparently it's not enough to just be the obnoxious organic mom who feeds her kid 100% pure, Sherpa-certified everything. Oh noooo. I'm now informed the really super-best way to teach your children a love and lifelong appreciation of healthy food is to anthropomorphize it. As in, like, this:
I see it as "30 minutes I could have been sleeping before making a peanut butter sandwich".
As an aside, I've decided that the mom-categories out there are a bit limited. Permissive mom, authoritarian mom, helicopter mom, etc. I am kinda the "etc."--and I need a category I can really feel at home with, so from now on I dub myself NERD MOM. If the name seems random to you, read my other entries. What other kind of mom would list every dinner she fed her family for 4 weeks running? Yup, NERD MOM.
Soooo..being the nerd mom I am of course I googled the s*** outta bento and learned about its place in the various socio-cultural aspects of Japanese culinary history and...oh, forget it. I went to the library and got a book. There. And in this book almost every single recipe has one of two words: QUICK and EASY (uhuhuh yes, the junior high kid in me is laughing. But the rest of me WANTS TO SUFFOCATE THE AUTHOR SLOWLY IN INTERTWINING BEDS OF LETTUCE AND NORI).
However, I'm not one to back down from a challenge so I drowned my hatred in a nice, fizzy LaCroix and came up with a brilliant idea. I would walk the bento "middle road" (sounds zen, right)? You know, dip my toe in the stream of bento and see if...aw, never mind. I have no idea where I'm going with this metaphor. I just wanted to make lunch and see if I actually should be investing more time and energy into this path, because if it made my daughter eat like 75% more vegetables and clean her plate every time then I would. And one day I could assert my dominance over other moms come pre-school lunch. Always a plus. Honestly, I usually just kind of lump (super healthy non-GMO) food onto a plate or whatever 5 minutes before mealtimes but I thought, eh why not try to make it pretty?
I trotted out a cookie cutter and got wheeling and dealing and here is my very simple "transition" bento meal:
And yes, that is a Bride of Frankenstein platter. Just because Halloween is coming up don't
think I'm getting all festive and s*** and that I decorate for every holiday. I don't. It's just
Ta da, that there is pulled quail, julienned green apples with fennel and a homemade sauce, and--the pièce de résistance (literally, har har)--a piece of bread, cut into a heart. A heart! And it's all 100% ORGANIC ORGANIC ORGANIC. I proudly placed my masterpiece (well, not masterpiece but let's just say "étude") in front of my DD. Which, for those of you who don't have a masters in arcane internet abbreviations means "dear daughter."
Ok, 15 minutes later here's what the plate looked like:
Wow! She ate the whole..bread! OMG!! And before you think, "Whoa, you cook quail and stuff just for a regular Thursday lunch at home??" No, no I do not. That was my riff on a dinner we had two nights ago and it was the first thing I pulled out of the fridge because it was teetering on the edge of the middle shelf. Which is usually my husband's way of saying, "I put this here so it would fall on you because YOU HAVE TO EAT IT, LIKE, TODAY OR IT'LL START TO STINK." Except he wouldn't say "like." Anyhow, guess what? SHE ATE THE WHOLE THING TWO NIGHTS AGO. The same. Freaking. Meal. Yes, when I just kind of lumped food onto her plate or whatever.
But I was still determined to forge ahead with this experiement. Calmly and serenely, with my fingers in prana mudra, I asked her if she wanted more. This is what I got: "Mo' pain, peez" (we speak toddler Fran-glish in our house, so she was not asking me to hurt her). You got it, she was asking for more bread. Which I pulled straight out of the bag and handed to her. Which she took and ate heartily, saying "Miam miam" (which is French for "this doesn't suck, mom").
I then asked her if she wanted more of her food.
But what if I shape it into Mary Poppins or kitties...or hell, Leatherface?? (I think pulled quail would be great for Leatherface).
She told me that she was done eating and wanted to go into the house. And you know what she did when we went in this house? This:
Yeah, there's a reason why I don't include any of my family's names in any of my posts.
Because when she's in high school or whatever I don't want her to have seen any of these pictures.
Nope, I want to be the one to trot the above out when she brings her first real significant other home.
Okay, you might be thinking--haha, that's so cute. But you wanna know what's even cuter? While she was "hiding" inside the Mardi Gras bag she was saying, "Bye bye mama." Which really means, "Get the h*** outta here I'm pooping and no you can't see me la la la!" A few grunts, and that was it. QUICK and EASY. As I left the failed remains of my pseudo-bento plate behind
for the dog to dig into--oh wait, my husband reads this sometimes--for making beautiful, deconstructed salads later on another flash of brilliance occurred to me. Meh, it all looks the same coming out, anyway. Still, I got on amazon.com and put a seeweed puncher in my cart. But only because I liked the name.