Wednesday, May 02, 2012

the Wrong Bento

you are about to read a true confession.

one that typifies the continued 'aging antics' of this OlderBroad Blogger.

what this confession represents best is the fact that in getting older becoming more mature, i no longer give that much of a rat's ass about the details. or achieving perfection. or feeling the need to backtrack and make right (certain) mini errors in judgment.

getting older becoming more mature means not sweating that small stuff.
especially when my mishaps make for Good Story.

this confession is about bento boxes.
the right ones.
and the wrong one.

first - a little history.
over the years, friends (from Japan, mostly) have gifted to me a number of plastic lacquerware serving dishes. most are of the black and reddish orange color variety. some are embellished with decorative gold accents. leaves and florals and swirls.
very pretty.

most of the bento serving dishes, however - are plain.

i love this serving ware and covet the pieces, both for their aesthetic beauty as well as the joy of using them to present meals and snacks.

recently, i've taken to purchasing, on my own - a few 'lacquerware type pieces'.
at stores like Daiso, one can buy very inexpensive covered soup bowls, sweet little snack trays and children's mini bentos in colorful plastic.

in addition to those, i've also purchased a few not-so-inexpensive 'better grade plastic lacquer-like-ware' from Sanko Cooking Supply in San Francisco's Japantown.

a few years ago, i bought five 'better quality' bento boxes
and have happily used them to serve full-on Japanese bento meals.
oh what fun! i always make sure to utilize each and every little compartment for fish, salad, rice, dipping sauce, pickled ginger, tempura, seaweed, somen, etc.
artfully arranged


five is a special number that occurs in sets of Japanese dinnerware. five cups in a sake set, for example. this is related perhaps, to the Power of Five. and the fact that four is considered a bad luck number (in both Japanese and Chinese cultures).

but five makes for awkward serving when it comes to the style of special family meals we stage, where typically six adults are present to set the table for.

with six diners at our house, when it comes to obento, it's one odd man (or woman) out.
that bento-less person has to use - a plate.

for the sake of everyone being able to enjoy a bento-style meal in a special bento-style box - i really and truly felt the need for just ONE MORE bento box.

i happened back to the Sanko shop last week, with a bit of time to spare before indulging in a wonderful restaurant ramen dinner (yes, served in a bento). i hurried into the store to seek out one more box to buy that would match the five at home.

OK, i knew that the ones i had at home were SQUARE.
with certainty, i set my sights on the SQUARE shaped bento boxes.

it would be acceptable for the central compartment to have a slightly different configuration, but the actual box to make a matching set of six was definitely to be SQUARE.
yes. i bypassed the rectangular ones in the shop, and zero'd in on a single square shaped bento on the shelf. the helpful salesperson assured me it was the only square one left in stock, which i took to be fortuitous. as in 'meant to be'. exactly what i wanted. one left. and that one was for me.

this is what i bought:


this is what i had at home:

five, count 'em, five of them.
which i'd been prepping food for these last couple of years, and happily serving/eating from.


do i return the square bento box in exchange for a rectangle?
think think think.

the store is 3 hours drive away. 6 hours round-trip.
the proprietors of the shop were already confused as to what i wanted > i wanted five boxes? or i already had five boxes? and needed only one? really - only one?
they discounted another 10% because it was part of a Cherry Blossom Days special sale. the rectangle bento boxes were considerably costlier. returning the box might only cause more confusion. who needs more confusion?

rather than bother with a return, i decided not to fret over my error.
i'm keeping the new box.
the Wrong Bento.

and when it comes time to bring all SIX out to serve the next lovely bento meal, the one square among the five rectangular will make for Good Story.

as i fast approach the muddle which defines older middle age/younger older age,
i'm finding that it's really not about making the most precise decisions anymore.
or about being correct.
or about accuracy.

it's more and more
about making Good Story.

p.s. the bento boxes above were photographed by me. they are actually closer in size than it appears in the pix and both hold the same amount of food...

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