Image from blogadilla
Bento, the Japanese lunch box, is a social phenomena that you could say reaches deep into the psyche here, touching on deep strings between children and their mother, wife and husband, lonely salarimen and their usb-powered meal (not that common, really), and almost everyone else. Now, a project is underway to educate kids to make their own bento. What are the benefits?
Photo from ohdeedoh.com
"Bentos can range from simple to completely elaborate. Traditional Japanese Bentos usually have rice and fish, but just about any ingredient may be used. Using many of our leftovers from dinner and simple fresh ingredients, we were able to pack a tasty lunch for our son", writes one blogger with a toddler over at ohdeedo.com
In 2001 at an elementary school in Kagawa Prefecture, an idea was born. It has since spread to nearly 300 elementary schools and universities across Japan.
The bento day is the brainchild of Kazuo Takeshita, 59, who in 2001 was principal of Takinomiya Elementary School in Ayagawa, Kagawa Prefecture... At the time, Takeshita was concerned that children and parents were spending less and less time together. Making bento, he thought, could help remedy that.
According to Asahi Shinbun, schools note that children's cooking skills are improving, less food is wasted and families have something new to talk about.
Photos from lunchinabox.net
Under the bento-day program, the children are not expected to do everything themselves from the start. Each grade has its own goal.
Children in the lower elementary grades enlist their families to help come up with a menu and shop for ingredients. Children in the middle grades select, with their families, the ingredients necessary for bento. The focus in the upper grades is on drawing up a balanced menu. Junior high school students plan a menu appropriate to their needs.
In the project, schools asked parents not to help, saying that children needed to learn to be self-reliant. And significant decrease was subsequently noted in the amount of food left over from regular school lunches, according to the experts.
Written by Martin Frid at greenz.jp