How did the tradition of Japanese cuisine “Bento”

Bento is the name of the species of culinary art and design for food, Packed per serving, and intended to take as lunch to work, to school and so. Traditionally, the meal Bento includes:

Rice, which is the main ingredient of Japanese cuisine and in General the underpinning of food in the land of the rising sun. Japanese cooked rice is identified by the word “gohan”, which I understand and like the food, and how food in General – similar to our “bread” or “corn” of the American Indians;

Sauce (with rice refers to just the products “long term storage” used in Japanese cuisine);

Fish and a huge variety of seafood, animal, and plant origin (well, what “sushi” can be without seaweed “nori”!);

Meat (instead of fish);

Several kinds of sliced raw or pickled vegetables. For Japanese food in General is characterized by the use mainly fresh ingredients, particularly high quality because the Japanese tend to keep the original taste and appearance of all ingredients of the dish. Definitely seasonal vegetables and the portions are small – that people prefer to see in the dish a little bit of everything and not a large portion of the same food that the kitchen makes them more efficient and nutritious.

All these treasures into one box with lid. But the box is roughly said, rather, “caskets for food”. They are different shapes, can be manufactured different: a simple Bento starting mass production, finishing and exclusive handmade boxes made of rare precious breeds of a tree. Such works of art are usually varnished to avoid ageing of the wood.

The average Japanese have given up on Bento expensive – but inexpensive boxes for Lunches can be purchased almost everywhere in Japan – in supermarkets, in specialty stores and even from street vendors. But they are doing a special rate on the appearance of the products, giving the dishes a cheerful view of volumetric images, often using cartoon characters, including anime, art and ordinary products from slaughtering a little holiday soul. So the art of picking products, as well as skillful manufacture Bento is one of the greatest causes for pride Japanese Housewives.

How did Bento?

The concept of Bento can be traced back to the kamakura period (1185-1333). In this time of widespread “Hoshi” – welded, and then dried rice. Literally it can be translated as “dried food”, which is not surprising since stored in a small bag of white grits could be eaten dry right, or traditionally to throw in boiling water for conventional cooked rice.

Later, in the period of Azuchi-Momoyama (1568-1603) the Japanese were first made those lacquered wooden box. They were in many ways similar to modern products, and from the mid 16th century began to eat a Bento for tea or for “Hanami” (Japanese national tradition of spring “admiring the flowers”, which occurs in late February — early March).

Culture cooking Bento became more refined and widespread with the advent more serene and peaceful Edo period (1603-1868). Travelers and farmers prefer light, durable and eco-friendly Bento boxes made of bamboo stems and leaves. In this period came “makano-uchi bentō” (literal translation – “intermission Bento” or “Bento break”) which has become one of the most popular styles of this culinary art. Once such food is served instead of Japanese modern popcorn in the cinema: people took with them these special Bento, going to theatres But also Kabuki, where during the breaks between scenes could have a meal. Even the Edo period gave the world a large number of cookbooks with a description of various ways of preparing Bento, how to pack and how to prepare for national holidays.

The first “ichibancho” or just “ekiben” (“station Bento”) began to be sold in the Meiji period (1868-1912). The basic version is that the first box of food wrapped in bamboo leaves, was sold in the summer of 1885 train at Utsunomiya station, and contained two onigiri traditional (a dish of rice and nori). The first European school Japanese initially had no dining room, so students and teachers had to carry Bento, as all regular employees. At this time began to appear in sale Bento in European style, consisting of sandwiches and sandwiches.

Up to 1926 (Taisho period) special luxury because of the similarity with silver (doubtful, however) and the ease of cleaning thought aluminum boxes for Bento. The practice of eating Bento in schools was gradually reduced to nothing – as well as lack of school uniform encourages children to compare with each other, and lunch will be the best neighbour and the laughable “that guy”. Psychologically, this phenomenon is quite unpleasant, and additionally, not sensible well-balanced diet and reflected poorly on the physical health of students.

After the second world war traditional bentō were almost completely ousted from school canteens. They took the place of standard meals for the pupils and teachers.

In 80-ies of the 20 century, with the advent of microwave ovens, Bento started vosstanovyat their positions. Metal and wooden boxes were quite impractical, and therefore they replaced them with cheap disposable polystyrene containers. In our time, coming out of the plane in Japan, you can try Bento at the airport.

How to prepare a Bento?

A traditional Bento is prepared based on the proportions 4:3:2:1 (rice, meat or fish, vegetables, pickled plants, or spices). These are the basic recommendations to prepare this dish, directly related to the energy value of each type of food. It is important to avoid the possibility of food poisoning in the warmer months – especially in the summer, because Bento is not designed for long-term storage. Good at processing food and hermetically closed (especially if the dish contains sauces) box, stored in cool and dry place, this will not happen. Some Housewives, by the way, I prefer to put the sauce in a box in a separate container. Boiled rice should be completely cooled and dry, or in a closed box will condense steam, which is enough that will make the meal taste good, and will spoil the look of a skillful composition.

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