Little kids table
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About infant food
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[About infant food]
What is an infant food?
The term "Infant food" generally refers to the meals between baby food and the stage that begins at around 5 years old. We think that until the elementary school lower grade, the taste buds (taste bud: an organ recognizing the taste mainly on the surface of the tongue) approach completion. Children have largely formed their taste buds by the age of 3, and the number of taste buds does not increase past 12 years old. Taste buds can only recognize natural flavors and close when children eat other things. In early childhood, when children learn to taste, they can become accustomed to artificial and excessive flavoring. This means that the ability to taste the food itself may not fully develop, and not only the sense of taste but also the sense of "delicious" that enriches a well-balanced diet. It is also said that excessive ingestion of sugar and additives can become a burden on the intestines of children and is related to subsequent brain development and, in some cases allergies. In addition to physical development, we think that it is a real benefit for children to have a proper eating habit at the time when the brain and taste buds are maturing rapidly.
Why based on Japanese cuisine?
The concept of Japanese food is largely divided into four; "Fermented", "Fish", "Seasonal", and "Occasions". It is recognized worldwide that fermented and fish foods are good for the body, with benefits for the heart that cannot be fully explained by nutritional value alone. We grew up enjoying meals tailored to events inspired by the seasons of the land and we would like to have fun enjoying the unique pleasure of Japanese food.
Why it has little taste overall?
I want children to discover the taste of the original ingredients. Of course, it is necessary to ensure that the food is delicious but strong flavor can breed dependency, resulting in children wanting to eat stronger food more and more. Our aim is to help the children to notice and make the most of the original taste of the local ingredients.
Why do you use fermented food for cooking without using salt?
When a small child directly ingests salt, it can affect digestion and absorption. On the other hand, fermented seasonings such as miso and soy sauce are not only good for digestion but also have the effect of improving the immunity by preparing the intestinal environment and improving the body's resistance to allergies. In addition, they have the power to extract the original taste of the material.
Why is it a fish-based menu?
Japan is originally a country of fish food culture. Fish is both the primary and traditional food source. It is a high quality protein source that can be absorbed without any burden for the Japanese body. In recent years, many people prefer to have meat, but we want children to know the taste of fish.
Why are vegetables grown naturally and without pesticides better?
The natural cultivation of organic vegetables is done by using only natural forces, no pesticides, chemical fertilizers or herbicides. We cultivate only seasonal items and, as we do not promote growth or give excessive nutrition we cannot stabilize production volume. However, the vegetables which have received the grace of the sun and earth all together are packed with the powerful, original taste of the vegetables. Because it is such an important time for the child's body, we use natural cultivated ones as much as possible so that the children may feel the power of nature. A child's body is honest and the changes due to ingredients will be seen over time.
What are "native species" of vegetables?
Native species are both the vegetables that have existed in Japan since ancient times and also vegetables that were established in Japan during the Edo period (the period between 1603 and 1868). Farmers who make native species are more likely to stick to natural soil fertilization meaning that the native vegetables benefit not only the grace of the sun and the earth, but also from the power of the natural land. Because these native vegetables are not easily obtained at supermarkets, when we purchase them from farmers, we use it for the lunch box. The powerful natural taste along with the heightened nutritional value is exactly what we want our children to eat.
Where do the ingredients come from?
We mainly use vegetables from Western Japan and Hokkaido prefecture.
I am in trouble because my child doesn't eat vegetables.
Children's tastes are much more sensitive than adults. Therefore, they meet new tastes and flavors with a sense of caution as they judge whether or not it is dangerous. The human brain will consider things that are too bitter to be poisonous, too sour to be rotten, and as a result we are naturally vigilant. Specifically in the case of vegetables, it could be that the cooking did not bring out the natural flavors and so they remained bitter. Or it may be that the vegetables were not seasonal so the taste was weak. In the latter case the brain judges that it is food that is unnecessary.
Why do you not use Koshihikari (a popular variety of rice cultivated in Japan)?
The popularity of Sasanishiki along with Koshihikari was high until the Showa period in the 50's, but Koshihikari was easy to grow whereas Sasanishiki is vulnerable to coldness and disease. Koshihikari, which is rich in sticky rice feeling but loses its flavor quickly, has gained popularity along with the development of Western food culture in Japan. On the other hand, Sasanishiki is easier to digest than Koshihikari and, as it is less sticky than Koshihikari it enhances the taste of side dishes. Kameno-o is also very difficult to grow and so production is limited, but it is very good for digestion and it can be eaten safely in early childhood when digestive organs are still developing. For that reason, we use Sasanishiki and Kameno-o instead of Koshihikari. These varieties also see a slight rise in blood glucose level compared to Koshihikari, and so it is harder to develop a rice allergy.
Why do you not use oil?
Many of us spend almost no days at home without using oil for cooking. It is also now increasingly believed that contemporary Japan uses and consumes more than seven times the amount of recommended vegetable oil.
It is widely used for snacks and in restaurants, but originally Japanese food did not use so much oil. It is about using it at the right times or when absolutely necessary. We are always reviewing the dieand wherever possible we use recipes that do not require oil for our lunch boxes.
Why do you not use salad oil when you use oil?
Salad oil is prepared by blending oil that hardens even if it cools down. Every oil has differing special qualities meaning that management methods and time to deterioration are also different. When we use oil, it is essentially based on one taken from a single variety, rapeseed oil (not genetically modified), olive oil, sesame oil and rice oil. Olive oil and others deteriorate if the time from harvesting to squeezing is long, so we use those squeezed within 24 hours. Originally oil is kind of medicine. We would like to use well-selected particular oil on a daily basis.
[About lunch box's container]
What kind of material do you use for boxes?
We use certified timber.
Is it okay if I warm up the lunch box in the microwave oven?
As much as possible, we make items that remain delicious even if they become cold. If you have side dishes to warm, please change to heat-resistant containers etc. We would also recommend to use a steamer to make it warm.
When is the expiration date?
Our lunchboxes are valid for today only as we do not use additives such as chemical seasonings and preservatives at all. Therefore please keep it refrigerated and handle it carefully.
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