I keep meaning to post about things you can put in an o-bento lunch, but a combination of things (dirty kitchen...) keeps forcing these posts onto the backburner.
But a request for more food posts, an available camera-man (Koshi), and my noticing that the kitchen was relatively clean today, means that you get an o-bento post! I'll show you the one of the very first things I learned how to make when Koshi started Yochien: Usagi Ringo! (Rabbit Apples)
Why bother cutting apples into shapes? Why not just put a whole apple in the lunch bag?
Blasphemy! This is The Land of Cute--you're not allowed to put boring apple slices into a lunch box!
The first couple of times I made these, I got the cut right, but Koshi complained that they were brown by the time lunchtime came around. He didn't want to eat them. What to do? Right--ask a mommy friend. The nice thing about living in company housing is that there are so many other moms hanging around downstairs waiting for the buses, watching their toddlers play--very easy to collar somebody and demand to know how to keep cut apples from turning brown, a feat which clearly everybody else but me had mastered. When my friend told me how to do it, I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it myself.
Dip the cut slices in salt water. That's it. Really. You can put the slices in a ziploc or in saran wrap if you want to, but it's not necessary. The slices will stay white and fresh (though not cold) inside a bento lunchbox as is. In fact, a scientific experiment is in progress as I type this to prove to you how effective this stupid pet trick is--I dipped one rabbit apple in salt water, and did nothing at all to the other rabbit (apple). Time-lapse photos are below the video:-))
To make the rabbit, cut an apple into eighths and v-cut out the core. Turn the apple length-wise and cut a deep V, point towards the end of the slice (picture the rabbit's ears flattened back against its head), then cut off the peel starting at the other end of the slice up to the point of the V.
|See the rabbit shape--ears flattened back against his head?|
It's probably easier if you watch me do it:
See? Easy! Also, cute. And, a reasonable amount of apple for a 3 or 4-year-old starting kindergarten--much less waste if you give her two rabbits that she eats all of instead of half an apple she takes three bites of and throws away the rest. Desho?
...an hour and twenty-three minutes after being cut...
(Please excuse me--I'm having an insane urge to say "Relax! It's Palmolive!" No idea why.)
The control apple on the left is clearly starting to brown due to oxidation. The saltwater is clearly preventing oxidation of the experimental apple on the right...
(I don't have a deep Carl Sagan voice, but you're welcome to imagine one here;-))
Below is Koshi's first O-Bento that I made--not with Usagi Ringo, because I wasn't sure yet how to fit them into his lunchbox, but with Himawari Gohan (Sunflower Rice) and Tako-San Weiners (Octopus Sausages)... but those will have to be for next time:-))
Mata asobou, ne!