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Basic Bento [basicbento] 

When did you start cooking? Who got you started in this art?
I started cooking as soon as I could be in the kitchen without anyone looking over my shoulder. My mom's influence is obvious in my menus. But I'm a picky eater, and that definitely led to a preference for cooking for myself rather than taking my chances on what I get from anyone else, even her.
Is there a website or blog where we can see something about you and your cooking?
My blog is BasicBento.com. I normally post three to five times a week. I also have links to blogs that inspire me.
How would you define your style?
I'm lazy. Is that a style? What I try to do is weave together, in the simplest way, a balanced diet that takes into account... what's in season in our region, what's available organically, what we like, what we've been eating too little or too much of lately, what leftovers we have on hand, and what I want my child to learn. Preferably in just a few minutes a meal. I'm not a perfectionist sculpting art from food, and I'm no professional chef; I'm an Everymom trying to get it done and get to bed satisfied that our family will eat well the next day.
What is your signature dish or your favorite recipe?
Chicken soup. I don't send it in lunches, so it's not on BasicBento.com (at least so far), but when I make chicken soup from scratch, that's my favorite food. I can't order chicken soup in restaurants any more; they're saltwater. My recipe is based on my mom's, but I add a few more ingredients of my own--so many vegetables it's really a stew more than a soup.
Is there something you hate to see when you go to a restaurant as a customer?
A menu without variety. Have something for everyone!
Do you sometimes find yourself eating junk-food?
Sure! But I can't eat the artificial stuff any more. I always taste that oily fake flavor underneath. Now I choose junk food that is at least all natural.
What new techniques are you interested in learning
I'd love to learn to make tamagoyaki (Japanese egg sheets). I think we'd love them.
What would you say to a novice in the kitchen to help them get over their fear of cooking?
Start small. You don't have to do some exotic fifteen-course meal. Try pasta or a stir-fry with a new kind of sauce, if you like. You can work your way up to more complicated things. And keep a pizza in the freezer--so if something you make is really bad, you just cross off that recipe and eat the pizza this time. Tomorrow you can try something different.

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Basic Bento

[basicbento] Basic Bento
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