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Peter the eater

Bentos (2009-)

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Getting caught up a bit. A couple of things to note below. First, you'll see at one point earlier this month we transitioned to cloth napkins (we are actually using mostly bandanas from an old collection my mother had lying around -- also shown). This is part of our effort to pack a waste-free lunch per wellness-committee recommendations. Second, toward the end, you'll see the haul of bread I brought home one evening after a final exam at the French Culinary Institute (I was grading, not taking the exam). The next morning's lunch included slices of baguette with butter.

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Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Those are great looking lunches. How old is your child? Looks like a lot of food for one.

Would have been wonderful if this idea had been around 50 years ago. My youngest always took the same lunch until she was in sixth grade. 1/2 peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cookie, and a piece of fruit. Wouldn't eat anything else.

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He's 5, in kindergarten, very skinny, and sometimes eats all that food, plus the snack provided at school (every week a different family provides two snack choices a day for the class), and at 2:55pm pickup he demands a snack before eating a huge dinner at around 5pm. This is all after he has something like pancakes or eggs (or, as today, both) for breakfast.

Sometimes he rejects one item in the lunch. There's absolutely no way to predict which item it will be. In general, once he starts eating an item he finishes it. So every container will come back empty but one will come back full.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I second the bandanas for wrapping lunchboxes in - since the fabric is thin, they tie easily and securely!

Amounts - I know both my boys ate hugely at about that age. Who knows where all that energy went?

Husband has been on bento duty here for the past two months. He's totally converted to making it the night before, and putting some items into the rice cooker on top of the rice (pieces of chicken, sweet potato or pumpkin, etc.)

He also comments how important it is to have one item that doesn't need to be prepared from scratch, whether it's left-overs or a ready-to-go product or cherry tomatoes.

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I'm hopelessly behind on posting lunch photos, and I recently switched computers so everything is a mess. But this should be most of what is needed to get caught up, including a checkerboard sandwich demo.

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Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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You need to achieve sufficient firmness in one way or another, so things can hold together and be cut. A spread with some substance to it is a good idea. Also, refrigerating for a couple of hours before cutting can help. The choice of bread can make a difference too. You want a bread that's not too different in texture from the filling, otherwise either the filling or the bread gets crushed. A sharp knife is a must.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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That particular batch was made with Trader Joe's sharp-cheddar "pub cheese." It can also be done with cream cheese of various kinds, egg salad if you make it fine and tight enough, hummus if you make it thick, peanut butter, and various other spreads. You can also work with two spreads, like peanut butter and jelly, if you want to get really fancy, using one for the first set of layers and the other for the between-sets-of-layers filling.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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That particular batch was made with Trader Joe's sharp-cheddar "pub cheese." It can also be done with cream cheese of various kinds, egg salad if you make it fine and tight enough, hummus if you make it thick, peanut butter, and various other spreads. You can also work with two spreads, like peanut butter and jelly, if you want to get really fancy, using one for the first set of layers and the other for the between-sets-of-layers filling.

I can already tell I'm going to be using vast amounts of bread in the near future.

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Last week's lunches. Monday was problematic because none of his containers could hold the kind of roll he requested. A trip later in the week to the Container Store yielded one with a good fit.

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(No lunch Friday; half day)


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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He do pack it away. :) Makes a parent's heart glad.

Is the main protein intake at dinner time?

Gonna have to try those wicked fussy sandwiches sometime.

A big hit for us in school lunch is long noodles stirred in advance w soy sauce and a little sesame oil,

and eaten cold/room temp.

Also little (gack, individually packaged) packs of seasoned seaweed.

Environmental ostracism isnt an issue - over half the kids get the free breakfast each day - served on styrofoam.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Protein tends to get distributed throughout the day. Most breakfasts are either an egg or something with egg and/or milk as an ingredient (e.g., pancakes). Lunches usually contain one element thet is cheese, meat, yogurt or some other protein source -- though not always. The general map of lunch is protein, starch, fruit, vegetable, dessert, but sometimes different factors change the plan. Dinner can vary, and usually includes a protein item, e.g., last night braised beef brisket and baked potatoes plus salad. And after-school snack, of course.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Relevant story in the New York Times today:

"The Lunch Tote Has Acquired a Sense of Taste"

CONCEPTUALLY, the lunch tote is nothing new: reusable versions of the brown paper bag have been around for several years, often insulated and made with spill-resistant material for easy cleanup.

But the lunch tote is evolving....


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Occasionally. All the recent maki photos have been of purchased sushi because we're between apartments and I don't even have a decent knife here. Far uptopic there are some photos that show maki rolled (badly) by me.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The latest bunch. We had vacation and a number of days off in the past 6 or so weeks, which is why the number of photos is not huge.

The photo of the lunch that includes an empty container, followed by a photo of sushi, is from a day when I packed the rest of lunch, then purchased sushi and dropped it at school just before lunchtime. The lack of refrigeration made me reluctant to send raw fish any other way, though I imagine they do it in Japan routinely.

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Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Steven,

As always, beautiful lunches!

As to raw fish in bentos, I have never seen a child (or an adult for that matter) with a bento from home that included raw fish.

Just to be sure I just asked my 15 year old daughter and she looked at me and laughed, "why would someone take sushi to school?!"


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Bento box dinner.

Not shown are sashimi (2 pieces tuna, 2 pieces salmon, 2 pieces yellowtail, 1 piece sweet shrimp, shiso leaf); miso soup; onigiri (seaweed-wrapped Japanese rice) with ume plum.

Clockwise from top left: takiawase (simmered vegetables -- carrot, mountain yam, snow peas, eggplant, bean curd, kabocha squash); tamago (egg cooked with mirin), broiled salmon, hijiki (a type of Japanese seaweed), simmered beef and onion, potato salad, pickled ginger; chicken tatsuta-age (chicken marinated in soy sauce, then deep-fried and served with lemon); Japanese rice.

Not bad for $25.

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Since the last time I posted lunch photos, we moved. This caused a lot of disruption to the lunch-making process, as it has taken about six weeks to get basic things -- like the stove -- working right. Anyway, here are photos from about the last month. A few photos may have fallen through the cracks. I've photographed every lunch except for two Ellen made when I went to Spain. But the inventory of photos may be incomplete.

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Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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