flower and tulip obenro): a bed of rice laced with chopped hard-boiled egg, three tulip flowers made out of cut wieners with spinach precisely arranged as stem and leaves, a fruit salad with two raisins, three cooked peaches, three pieces of cooked apple, 4) (sweetheart doll obentr-abekku ningyo no obentv): in a two-section obenro box there are four rice balls on one side, each with a different center, on the other side are two dolls madeof quail's eggs for heads, eyes and mouth added, bodies of cucum- ber, arranged as if lying down with two raw carrots for the pillow, covers made of one flower-cut cooked carrot, two pieces of ham, pieces of cooked spinach, and with different colored plastic skewers holding the dolls together (Shufunotomo 1980: 27, 30). The impulse to work and re-work nature in these obento is most obvious perhaps in the strate- gies used to transform,shape, and/or disguise foods. Every mother I knewcame up with her own repertoire of such techniques, and every obento magazine or cookbook I examined offered a special sectionon these devices. It is important to keep in mind that these are treated as only flourishes: em- bellishments added to parts of an obenty composed of many parts. The following is a list from one magazine: lemon pieces made into butterflies, hard boiled eggs into daruma (popular Japanese legen- dary figure of a monk without his eyes), sausage cut into flowers, a hard-boiled egg decorated as a baby, an applepiece cut into a leaf, a radish flaked into a flower, a cucumbercut like a flower, a mikan (nectarine orange) piece arranged into a basket, a boat with a sail made from a cucumber, skewered sausage, radish shaped like a mushroom, a quail egg flaked into a cherry, twisted mikan piece, sausage cut to become a crab, a patterned cucumber, a ribboned. carrot, a flowered tomato, cabbage leaf flower, a potato cut to be a worm, a carrot designed as a red shoe, an apple cut to simu- late a pineapple (pp. 57-60). Nature is not only transformed but also sup- plemented by store-bought or mother-made objects which are preciselyarranged in the obento. The former come from an entire industry and com- modification of the obento process: complete racks or sections in stores selling obentv boxes, additional small containers, obentobags, cups, chopstick and utensil containers (all these with various cute char- acters or designs on the front), cloth and paper napkins, foil, aluminum tins, colored ribbon or string,plasticskewers, toothpicks with paper flags, and paper dividers. The latter are the objects mothers are encouraged and praised for making themselves: obentu bags, napkins, and handkerchiefs with appliqued designs or the child's name embroidered. These supplements to the food, the arrangement of the food, and the obento box's dividing walls (removable and adjustable) furnish the order of the obento.
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