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Martha, Max’s mother, passed away quietly in her sleep last night.

We were prepared for it, I suppose, but you can’t really be fully prepared for the passing of a parent either.

There are a few articles that I've already written, which will be posted here and on Just Bento over the next few days but replying to emails and comments etc. will be slow. Thanks for your understanding.

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Keep reading passing →

Cross stitch Christmas Advent wallhanging

This is the very last day you can donate to Menu For Hope! And a nice bonus - take a look at the beautiful poem about Lesotho <a href="http://sotho.blogsome.com/2007/02/08/my-country-my-home/'>here by Rethabile. (Yes, if you also read Just Bento you're getting this in double...but it's a poem worth visiting more than once!)

Just Bento and Just Hungry (which is mostly me anyway) are taking a few days off to take care of a ton of offline duties. (Thank you for your nice emails...we're hanging in around here.)

We decided not to get a tree this year, so the only Christmas decoration of sorts we have up is this wallhanging/advent calendar, that I finally finished last week.

Cross stitch Christmas Advent wallhanging

In this day and age when things I have made or worked on exist only in digital form, it's really grounding and satisfying to create something that has a physical form and presence, that I can touch and hold. That includes food too. There's nothing better than the warm feeling you get when your friends and family's faces light up when you present them with delicious food that you made with your own hands. Especially around the holidays.

Happy Holidays everyone!

I realize that compared to a lot of other food blogs, I don't get that personal on this blog most of the time. I just wanted to mention though that posting may slow down a bit for a while. I know that I've promised some articles such as one on pressure cooking, and I had planned some festive Christmas-y recipes and such. However, yesterday we heard that Max's mother Martha, who is in a nursing home, has suddenly taken a turn for the worse. So, it will be a rather somber Christmas around here.

My pressure cooker actually used to belong to Martha, until she went into the home a couple of years ago. Except for replacing the rubber gasket, it's as good as the day she bought it more than 20 years ago. She used it all the time, mainly for steaming potatoes, but for a few other things too. I hope to put those recipes up here in due course.

In the meantime, here is her authentic Swiss cheese fondue recipe, which is the absolute best I've ever had. A cheese fondue with crusty bread was always one of our favorite meals to have together.

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Just a poke to remind everyone that the 4th anniversary book giveaway / "Food Memories" mini-contest ends today, at 1 minute before midnight CET. That's 11pm GMT, 6pm Eastern, 5pm Central, 3pm Pacific, 9am Saturday in Tokyo, etc. There are already many wonderful personal stories...add your own! The winner will be announced on Monday. Good luck!

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[Update: The winner is announced!]

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I originally intended to tweak the innards of the site a bit to improve performance and readability - the front page was getting rather (very) unwieldly. That somehow escalated more and more, as they do if you are a web geek taking a busman's holiday*, and now the site has had a complete makeover. (Yet again. It's the 5th re-design in 4 years.) For good measure I have given it a Christmas look, to stay in place for the next month. Ho ho ho.

Things should work properly, but if they don't, please let me know.

(And yes, that new Swiss chocolate sponsor on the right does ship internationally.)

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Keep reading Christmas livery →

I just realized that the kuri squash and apple maple pudding recipe is actually the 200th recipe posted on Just Hungry. 200 spread out over almost 4 years may not seem like that much, but every one of them has been tried and tested, in most cases repeatedly, so...it actually is quite a lot for me! Judging from the comments and email I get, most of them seem to work fairly well for people, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

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Keep reading 200 recipes! →

A little site news: I've added a new search function to the site that will search both Just Hungry and Just Bento for your convenience. It's using Google Custom Search, which is a very easy way of setting up multi-site searches. (The results do show ads on occasion, but there's not much you can do about that in Googleland.)

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For the longest time (like forever) RSS subscribers to Just Hungry have only gotten the excerpts. There was no deep reason for this...except that I was afraid that my often long-winded posts would annoy you if you wanted to skim, or something. Well, due to approximately 3.5 people mentioning they'd prefer full feeds...from now on all Just Hungry and Just Bento feeds will have the full shebang, so you'll never have to visit the site again*! Banzai!

Not subscribed yet? Then here they are: the Just Hungry newsfeed and Just Bento newsfeed. (What is a newsfeed?)

*Though I hope you do, I like visitors. I'll even put out the Chex mix.

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Just Bento, my new brand site dedicated to the making of bento box meals, is now officially open! It will have bento-specific recipes, tutorials and tips galore. While the majority of the bento box examples will be Japanese or Japanese-style bentos (geared and adapted for people who don't live in Japan), there will be foods and recipes from many other cuisines too, just as on Just Hungry.

The focus is on bento lunches for busy adults, especially those who are looking to using bento lunches to regulate healthy eating habits and/or lose weight. Why? Because that's how I use bento lunches. Late last year I made a resolution to try to lose some weight in 2007. While a lot of things I attempted in order to achieve that goal fell by the wayside, one of the things that 'stuck' was making bento lunches at least 2 to 3 times a week, if not more. So far, I have very slowly lost about 30 pounds (15 kg), and plan to keep going! I occasionally indulge in more luxurious and/or time-consuming bentos too, but that's all part of keeping things fun and loose.

Time is of the essence in the morning, so every bento example will be presented with a graphical timeline besides step-by-step instructions. (See Bento no. 1 for an example). Most bentos will be take less than 30 minutes to make, and the majority will clock in at 20 minutes or under.

There are already several articles up on the site. And no, Just Hungry will not be neglected; there'll be a lot of cross-referencing of tips, recipes and more between the sites.

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