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The compartmentalized lunch boxes known as bento are a window into Japanese culture. Artfully filled with small portions of several kinds of food, bento boxes reflect the importance placed on presentation, color, nutrition, and balance in Japanese cuisine.
In this hands-on workshop, Boston Globe food writer and cookbook author Debra Samuels provides an overview of Japan’s food traditions and compares the American and Japanese approaches to midday eating. She conducts a Japanese cooking demonstration and provides tips on how to adapt Western food for a bento box. Participants have an opportunity to design, fill, and eat their own boxes in authentic bento style (ingredients are included).
Samuels, who has lived in Japan for more than a decade and studied the country’s cuisine, is the author of My Japanese Table: A Lifetime of Cooking with Friends and Family (Tuttle Publishing).
Debra Samuels recounts how her introduction to Japanese food developed into a decades-long fascination.
National Museum of Natural History
10th & Constitution Avenue, NW
Metro: Smithsonian (Blue/Orange Lines)