On display through the wonderful internets are hundreds upon thousands of photographs of everyday lunches. No soggy PB&J’s here, though. One forum, the Mr. Bento Porn Flickr group, posts their collective creative efforts to make mid-day meals visually appealing, healthful, delicious and, yes, a little easier on the wallet. Their cousin site, Diet Bento, includes impressively low calorie counts for those whose 2008 resolutions (for now at least) include trimming down a little of their own belly fat.
Portable meals have been with us for as long as farmers have trudged off to their fields and soldiers have marched on in war. The Japanese took it a little further, of course. Where other countries preferred banana leaves or woven baskets, Japanese al fresco diners preferred compartmentalized boxes. By the 17th century, bento meals became elaborately arranged celebrations of the full moon and cherry blossoms, a leisurely way to enjoy intermission with friends at the theatre or, like the older form of sushi, essential food for travelers in an age before planes and bullet trains.
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When an old friend from high school picked me up yesterday in her sparkling rental car, we were still trying to decide between taking in a museum or heading toward some fun shops. And when she finally nixed an afternoon of art and culture, I was more than happy to direct her to one of my favorites, Flight 001 on Hayes.
While she lost herself among their beautiful bags, a smaller but equally enticing travel gadget section kept me busy “researching.” Some things weren’t worth the box they came in—a portable pasta drainer?! — but one item caught my eye. Collapsible chopsticks.
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Far from the golden hills of California, with endless lush stretches of forest and field, the Green Mountain State lives up to its name. My road trip continues, and this week I find myself heading toward the Northeast Kingdom. Along the way, near the shores of Lake Champlain, I’ve been enjoying two local treats.
Continue reading “Vermont: Maple Creemees and Common Crackers”
Coming back to Missouri â€“ the state of my childhood â€“ always means returning to a double life.
While I’ve come to terms with my family’s hyphenated existence here in the Heartland, I’m only just beginning to figure out how to balance the relentless abundance of my mother’s kitchen with the city’s smoky, seductive barbecue.
Asian moms take it personally when you don’t eat their food, even when they make more than you can humanly consume. Leaving Kansas City without eating barbecue, though, is culinary sacrilege. I’ve learned how to fit five full meals into one day, and still I can’t fulfill both my familial responsibilities and the extensive research (â€œeatingâ€) that my work demands.
Continue reading “Kansas City BBQ: Oklahoma Joe’s”