Bento Both Plain and FancyBack in 2010 after my Cancer surgery, nutrition was on my mind. I wasn't eating well, so whatever I managed to eat had to be very nutritious. My husband's health weighed on my mind as well. It was during that time that I discovered the cooking shows on NHK (Japanese TV) and Japanese chefs online. Lunches that were both nutritious and attractive with lots of variety are very important in Japan. These were also the kinds of meals I thought we both needed to stay healthy. However, I ran into a problem. My husband is a man who likes plain food. To him, Bento meant food shaped like anime characters and vegetables in all kinds of exotic shapes. I was pretty sure he wouldn't be excited about colorful character rice balls staring up at him from his Bento box with big grins on their rice faces.
Like any good wife, I came up with a compromise I've been very creative sneaking vegetables into his meals throughout our marriage. A surprising amount of sauteed vegetables can be added to hamburg steak, pasta sauce, and meatloaf without anyone being the wiser. For Jon's Bento, I use leftovers from dinner arranged as simply as possible in a plain container. Meanwhile, I've been exploring all kinds of different Bento. So our refrigerator shelves have two kinds.
So, Jon has roast chicken with gravy, mashed potatoes, peas, and carrots.
While I have Soboro Donburi with salted cucumbers and tomatoes.
And while Jon has Hamburg Steak, sliced potatoes, and steamed broccoli,
I hid my Hamburg Steak and broccoli under rice lightly seasoned with soy sauce and shaped like my favorite poodle from a popular skating anime.
Our lunches are healthy, and we save money during the week while maintaining harmony!
I'm still working on getting him to eat more oatmeal, but I'm happy for small victories.