I'd like to say at this point that what started me on this journey in the first place is finding the blog of a fellow scrapbooker, crafter and stay-at-home mom Wendy Copley. One of her layouts was featured on Ella's blog The Daily Trumpet and it was so cute that I had to check out her blog for myself. What I found was something that I had not thought about for years, bento. Wendy makes bento for her son's school lunch and she documents her bentos for the week on her blog. She inspired me to try making bento for Gabe. Even though he doesn't take a lunch to school the idea is easy enough to do for a home lunch (traditionally bento is a packed box lunch that you take somewhere like to school or the office) and the whole experience of preparing bento got me thinking more about what I serve to Gabe for lunch. He already eats a wide variety of foods, vegetables included, but I'm happy to say that since I started making him bento at home I have introduced a few new foods into his diet. And the more variety the better; for both of us.
I was thinking about how to take my bento making to the next level and that's what led to this new exciting obsession of mine. At this point it's too late to make a long story short, but I can cut it down a little... I don't know why it took me so long to do this but last week I used Google Maps and searched for a Japanese grocery. And now my whole world has changed. Inspired by my new finds (several Japanese grocers and the equivalent of a 100 yen store all about 15 minutes away) I ordered two new cookbooks: Donburi Mania by Kentaro Kobayashi and Harumi's Japanese Home Cooking by Harumi Kurihara. I already make a pretty good yakisoba and tonkatsu (okay, so I did learn something from my mom after all), but I am determined to learn and master a few more authentic Japanese dishes this year. One dish in particular that I plan on learning is a dish that builds off of tonkatsu but is served over rice and topped with a creamy egg sauce. It is called katsudon and it is my husband's favorite Japanese dish. The prospect of these new culinary adventures really have me energized I have to admit.
And this started me thinking and wondering if all this happiness and excitement might be a little misplaced. It is Lent after all. Not that we can't be happy in Lent, but it is supposed to be a time of repentance, a time to turn our gaze and our life towards God. And I couldn't help but think that maybe all this cooking excitement and fun was a distraction from what I should really be doing in this season. But then it occurred to me that maybe I can be happy about this new love I've found. I have always loved cooking for my family and preparing healthy and tasty food for them, but even I get in a rut sometimes. In the end, I am thankful that I have a renewed passion for cooking. It is one way that I serve my family and finding joy in that cannot be a bad thing. If anything it makes me thankful for God's blessings and it seems, in some regard, he has given me an early Easter.