Bringing the Best to Bento

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Culinary Personality Marc Matsumoto Teams with Kokoro Care Packages for Children’s Day Bento Box Packing

Boxes for the special JACCC bentos will be provided by Japanese firm Takenaka, which produces colorful, top-quality containers from recycled plastic bottles.

Marc Matsumoto is a familiar name to Japanese food aficionados and those who follow his blog, No Recipes.com. He also hosts “Bento Expo” on NHK World, introducing his audience to the delightful art of Japanese bento lunches.

On Tuesday, May 11, from 11 a.m., the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center will host a virtual cooking show with culinary staff teaching viewers how to cook Matsumoto’s popular Honey Lemon Chicken recipe.

He will then join audiences virtually from Japan to demonstrate how to pack bento boxes with a special kit being sold online. Details are on JACCC’s website; see details below to purchase the kit.

Marc Matsumoto, host of NHK World’s “Bento Expo.”

The colorful bento boxes selected for this program are a special offer item to JACCC by Takenaka Bento Box, made in Japan.

Unlike other mass-produced plastic bento boxes, Takenaka features high-gloss finishes that are microwavable, dishwasher-safe and BPA-free, made from recycled plastic bottles. Each box is meticulously coated with multiple layers by Japanese artisans to achieve the beautiful look. The technique originated from urushi coating, Japanese lacquer that has been famous in Kanazawa for 400 years.

In addition, Little Tokyo gift shop Bunkado, celebrating their 75th anniversary, has collaborated to provide Made in Japan chopsticks; and Ito En has provided complimentary tea bags of their signature matcha green tea, all included in the bento kits.

Vegetable cutters for children and a special ume (plum) rice topping all come together in this special offer.

Sign up to cook the ingredients and pack the bento boxes. Sales for the Bento Box Kit began on April 12. Purchase these at: www.jaccc.org/kodomonohi-2021

The Toshizo Watanabe Culinary Cultural Center at JACCC also teamed with Kokoro Care Packages founders Lillian Hanako Rowlatt and Aki Sugiyama in a special collaboration to offer artisanal food products that are made with traditional, handcrafted methods that are available only during this season.

Rowlett and Sugiyama co-founded Kokoro Care Packages in 2018, believing that the food we eat plays an important role in nourishing our bodies and shaping our health and wellness. They strongly believe in community and sustainability, and connecting with the people who produce our food and supporting their local communities.Seasonal sakura (cherry) and ume products and other specialty items are featured in limited quantities.

Kokoro Care Packages founders Aki Sugiyama (left) and Lillian Hanako Rowlatt curate the lunches to feature locally made, artisanal foods.

Also being offered as a special Children’s Day/Kodomo-no-Hi special are a variety of fun-shaped nori (seaweed) sheets made especially for children to make koinobori (carp) shaped onigiri (rice balls). There are other nori selections that are sure to please the whole family.

Kokoro Care Packages believe their products are a way of connecting people to the traditions and culture of Japan through locally made, artisanal foods.

Join the JACCC to roll out the fun-filled Kodomo-no-Hi/Children’s Day events virtually. Purchase your bento kits and Kokoro products before they run out. Stay tuned for more details and information about other exciting events happening in May as part of the traditional Children’s Day festivities. Visit www.jaccc.org/Kodomonohi-2021 or contact [email protected]

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