Elementary School Lunch: 11/21 - Friday Fish Flakes

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

Friday, our 5th graders were learning a bit of emergency med skills, such as basic first aid and CPR. A couple of folks from the hospital (I think they were EMTs) came by with a bunch of dummies and, assisted by our school nurse, ran workshops all morning for the kiddos. It was pretty rad.

Friday's lunch was almost, almost perfect. Well, I guess it depends on your tastes - I don't particularly like bonito flakes, even though I'll eat grilled bonito when it shows up in our lunch. Anyway! Today's meal was some natto, salad mixed with bonito flakes, and a bowl of chicken and veggies. The salad was pretty simple, just some cabbage with spinach, carrot, and bean sprouts. The natto was accompanied by a little bit of soy sauce and karashi (a spicy mustard).

The highlight of the meal was that chicken and veggie bowl, which heavily featured sweet potato. It also had bamboo shoot, onion, carrot, and edamame. Simple, but so, so tasty.

Bonus shot of the bowl on Instagram.

Calorie count: 684

Elementary School Lunch: 10/01 - Autumn Natto

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

We kicked off October with some good stuff. The main dish was a radish-heavy bowl of meat and veggies, accompanied by some salad, rice, and natto, or fermented soy beans.

The bowl had ground pork, konjac, radish, onion, carrot, and ginger. Simple ingredients, but so perfect on what turned out to be kind of a chilly day. The salad was boiled cabbage and spinach, and carrot, with sesame seeds and a kind of shiso to spike the taste. Today's flavoring was derived from a kind of fish, but it didn't taste fishy at all.

It's days like this for which I need an extra stomach or three.

Bonus shot of the natto on Instagram.

Calorie count: 641

Elementary School Lunch: 06/10 - natto and hijiki seaweed

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

We finally enjoyed the first natto (fermented soy beans) of the new school year today. As usual, we got it in a little cup with a packet of soy sauce and some spicy mustard to mix in. Besides that, we had some meat and potatoes, salad, and rice.

The bowl of meat and potatoes was mixed with hijiki seaweed, and it also had bits of carrot, onion, and edamame. The salad was just cabbage, carrot, and spinach seasoned in the kitchen and sprinkled with sesame seeds, which suits me perfectly fine despite the small portion today.

If you're curious, here's a close-up of the natto, in all its slimy glory.

Calorie count: 686

Elementary School Lunch: 02/18 - potatoes and natto

Kristina PinoComment

The natto returns! And this time, it was accompanying a bowl of boiled seaweed and veggies, some salad, and rice. The natto had its usual soy sauce and spicy mustard packets, and at this point, I'm used to the stuff and could have even gone for a second helping if I hadn't been so stuffed with the rest of the meal. I'm at the point where I can see myself having natto and rice for breakfast like a lot of the people in my area.

The seaweed was hijiki, that short black kind, and it had edamame, onion, carrot, potato, and some bits of meat mixed in. The salad on the side was cabbage, carrots, and spinach (man, two days in a row sans cucumbers!), dressed from scratch in the kitchen and topped with sesame seeds.

Everything was pretty much awesome. Also in view: my bear cup.

Calorie count: 697

Elementary School Lunch: 01/28 - natto and potatoes

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

The natto returns! And once again, I'm finding that I'm getting used to it the more I eat the stuff. Today, I practically enjoyed it. I could have gone for a second cup, even. I'm still tremendously turned off by how slimy and sticky it is, though. But hey, at least I had some sauce and mustard to give it a kick.

Besides the beans, we had some basic salad in our home-made seasoning with sesame seeds on top, and a bowl of steaming veggies featuring sweet potato, onions, carrots, chicken, green peppers, and bamboo. It was fantastic, and I could have gone for seconds, but there weren't any leftovers at all. Bah.

Calorie count: 666

Elementary School Lunch: 11/19 - the natto returns

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

Today's lunch was an interesting blend of flavors that didn't really go together, but wasn't altogether bad, either.

Our main dish was a Chinese-style chicken and sweet potato bowl, featuring other veggies like carrots, bamboo, and onions. I left it for last because I knew I'd love it for sure. It was accompanied by a plain green salad seasoned with bonito flakes (the same kind that serve as a topping for okonomiyaki or takoyaki), rice, and a serving of the dreaded natto. As with the last time, we got some soy sauce and mustard to mix into it. It wasn't as bad the second time, actually...

There were a lot of different flavors going on this time around, and I was cool with all the different elements of our lunch individually, but together they didn't really go well. It's no big deal, though. I basically went natto > salad > bowl this time around.

Also, yay for bonus picture of the sliminess of natto. 

Calorie count: 665

Elementary School Lunch: 10/25 - natto

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

I had my first natto (fermented soybeans) experience today! It... wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. But I wouldn't go out of my way to eat 'em again. Haha.

Our main dish today was one of our meat and veggie bowls, which was great as usual. It had some onions, potatoes, edamame, konjac, mushroom, carrots, and other goodies. The side salad was seasoned in-house and was just plain greens. The natto is in the little cup on the side, there, and we also had some rice.

The natto came with two little packets of seasonings: a little soy sauce, and a little spicy mustard. When it came to masking the smell and such of the natto, the mustard helped quite a bit. The worst part of the stuff is really how slimy and sticky it is. A lot of my students were mixing it in with the rice, but really then you've just got a mess of sticky, slimy rice. The taste isn't bad, it's just that they smell. So my advice to you: hold your breath while eating natto.

Calorie count: 672