Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Bento. Turkey. And Ashes.

Bento, (弁当 bentō?), is a take-out or home-packed meal that is common in Japan.  And now,also common in the U.S.A. - particularly for kids' school lunches.  I know I would have been "one of those Moms" who made bento for my kids, back in the day.  Bento looks to be healthier and more interesting than the standard fare one might see in an elementary school cafeteria. 

Last year I purchased Bento-ish boxes at IKEA.  They look something like this, sans the food:

Like little old Tupperwares, with dividers.
 That's right: everything old is new again, yes? 

That Spouse o' Mine and I had been
 traveling (flying) a fair amount, and neither of us were happy with the dining offerings of any domestic flight we had experienced.  (International travel entails that the airline takes a wee bit better care and attention to the passengers' needs and comforts.  No cockpit crew wants to be between Iceland and Scotland {last and first two land masses from North America to Europe} or somewhere across the South Pacific with a diabetic emergency or worse.)  

So now I have gotten into the practice of packing bento for us when we travel.
 I usually put in something like dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), bitty tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, and some crackers or biscuits. These are more-or-less finger foods.  I HATE plastic forks and knives and spoons.  HATE.  So, finger food, it is.  

I will have to interject here:
 If I/we have checked baggage, know that I have packed a stainless spoon, fork, and knife (knives) into the luggage.  I HATE plastic.  I also pack myself a china teacup - something I have done since my flight attendant days some 30-odd years ago.  It makes that hotel room coffee taste just a wee bit better.  I can almost get through The Weather Chanel's forecast if I have my china cup warming my hands. 

 Google: Bento.  
Or, check out these two links for some bento ideas  :

Now: on to TURKEY:
I have a turkey in the oven tonight, mid-February.  
I am going to Istanbul in April.  (More on that, in April.)  
The turkey in the oven is a HUGE bird.  I got it right after the Christmas holidays, for a pittance.  ($13.00???)  A mere pittance.  I am roasting it tonight, and tomorrow it shall become a meal for our community's Emergency Shelter (read: homeless).  I am going to add it to lots of fun organic vegetables ("organic" is not a requirement, but Sam's Club offered it, and I took the bait.), along with some biscuits to top the casserole, and I hope that my turkey & biscuits, plus the cranberries I have (thanks to a cranberry farm with whom I do business) will make a half-way dandy meal for some who may be in a slack tide of their lives.  So, the bird was ~ $13.00, the vegetables were ~ $12.00, the cranberries=free, a bag of oranges (for cranberries and for fresh fruit) ~ $7.00.  That's not much, in order to fed ~40+ people.  I know from experience that I will find "one more dish" or "one more thing" to add to the menu.  (I already know that this week's addition is going to be a largish cheese plate.  A local grocery had a clearance on some very nice cheese {read: not Superbowl queso}, and I bought up the lot.)   Ooh!  I also spied some cream puffs in the basement freezer.  What a lovely touch to a Valentine weekend which may/may not wish to be celebrated with giant red and pink hearts?

So you see?
 Sometimes it doesn't even take a village.  Each time I deliver a meal to the emergency shelter (usually once every-other-week), I say a prayer that the food might be a blessing for all in the shelter.  I don't know, though.  Some weeks I receive some feedback, and some, I don't.  I don't know if I have made enough, or if they groaned because they already had pulled pork and vegetables three times that week, or what.  But I do try.

And now, to the ashes:

It's Ash Wednesday!
 Some denominations hold Ash Wednesday services. Mine does. I did go.  I was fulfilled.  (I guess this is where I say, "Thanks be to God!")

I do not like Lent, and I have written about its dark season before Easter.
 I have also repeated this, my sister's phone call to me years ago:
"I know what I am giving up for Lent."
And that was our funny, freeing spring of fun.  
I miss my sister.

Lent we are in, and it's a season of introspection and thought.
 You know what?  That's a good thing. We should all think about serious things, void of the internet. Let's hush the Hollywood awards, hush the upcoming Olympics, and hush Presidential primaries, (but, yes, please pray for our country's future?).  

Let us focus on our own
 Christian needs and how we serve others.  Yes? 


Melissa G said...

Yes, Yes! Someone asked me the other day what I gave up for Lent. "Nothing" was my answer; the past few years, rather than give up a thing, I have taken up a thing. This year, however, I feel so overwhelmed by all the pies in which my fingers are poked, that I'm neither giving nor taking. Your challenge to focus on my own Christian needs and serve others is just what I need!

Louise Plummer said...

Oh Brava! Yes. Yes and Yes. I want a wooden Bento box like they had in Japanese train stations. That was quite a while ago.

I now have my silver in a drawer in the kitchen and use it every day. Hurrah for china cups! Hurrah for giving.

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