It was made for me

Bento Marathon 2

No.108

I travel around the world and I ABSOLUTELY love eating local food of the places where I visit. It is hard to pick the most memorable meal I have ever had, there are so many memories I can not forget. If I may name one or two, we were in Monaco and Nice 2 years ago and coming from a cold country like Norway you can imagine how I felt, the color of the Mediterranean Sea was so blue, the fresh vegetables and beautiful fruits at the local market are still vividly staying in my mind. Once driving in Tuscany in Italy we stopped at a small restaurant for lunch, it was between a winery in Chianti and the old city of Sienna in spring time. When we arrived at the restaurant there was nothing but vineyards as far as I could see. I must admit I was more sure we came to the right place to drink, but my skepticism was blown away already by the starter…I still can not forget the food they served!!

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Mmmm… it was delicious!  But I know my list of the most memorable food is always changing. As I continue to travel and keep myself curious to try new delicacies of the world, old dishes will be replaced by the new ones. We say we Japanese like new things and I am not an exception. But when I look at my list, the food which has been on the list for awhile all have some friendly stories behind it. The food itself was of course delicious but I see some people’s faces around the dish. I can not help thinking the experience is being strengthened by some personal touch.

Our 20th wedding anniversary dinner in Italy. The chef came out and signed his name on the menu for us

Our 20th wedding anniversary dinner in Italy. The chef came out and signed his name on the menu for us

Unless you know the chef personally, the food they serve at restaurant is not so personally prepared for you only. No matter how beautiful the dish may look, the chef usually does not know you personally and he probably does not need to. He is a professional restaurant chef whose job is to produce equally beautiful food to his customers constantly and consistently. But have you not seen a chef coming out of the kitchen to greet his customers who wanted to praise the work well done and convey gratitude for the happy evening? If you experience something like that, I think the evening will stay on your list for a long long time.

There is no problem to find nice stories when it comes to putting personal touch into bento. As it is usually made by someone you know and there is a bond between you and her/him who made it just for you. I was reading an article the other day, it was written by a Japanese working mother who had to work during Japanese Golden Week holidays. Her husband took the children to his mother’s house while his wife was at work but he came back alone with a bento in his hand. “Here! My mother made a bento for you!”  The food consisted of only the ingredients she liked and loved. Mother-in-law remembered all… Working in her office in Golden Week was not fun at all but she said the bento really made her cry… for joy and happiness.

A bento box is a real wonder, you can put food and heart in that tiny space.
Enjoy both, as it was made only for you.

Rie

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