This is a guest post by Iliana (aka Mosaica), who
blogs about her daily life at The Daily Mosaica.
In life I often find myself embracing contradictions, and with regard to planning and preparing bento lunches, it appears that I am, at least, consistent. At times I am purely focused on taking a given recipe, often a Japanese recipe, and rendering it as authentically as possible given the constraints of my semi-rural existence in Vermont, a small state in the northeast of the US. For instance the bento from last week where I made inarizushi -- this meal nourished me on a number of levels: it was completely delicious, it tied into a fascinating bit of cultural history, and it expanded my culinary repertoire. While I do miss the days when I was more of a globe-trotter, I've come to really appreciate how traveling via recipes from far, far away can give real pleasure --to my nose and eyes and tastebuds, as well as to my intellectual bits.
On the other hand, I'm also a bit of a fiesty girl, and I like to kick up my heels, as it were, in the kitchen, and for me this manifests itself as a willingness to play with food, to be led by my nose, or intuition, or a gut feeling that mixing this with that might just be yummy. That's what this post is about: Taking ingredients which are traditional in Japanese cuisine and dressing them up in flavors from around the globe: Tibet, Denmark, Africa, India, and beyond. In addition, if you start from a perspective of your own preferred ratio of carb to protein to veggies and fruit, I encourage you to include entirely new ingredients to add fresh flavor and interest to your bento meal. During the five weeks of the Bento Challenge, I was inspired to see how many of us were using foods and flavors from our own backyards to create delicious new twists on the bento theme.