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How pandemic bento boxes became their own care package and a new business model

How pandemic bento boxes became their own care package and a new business model

Growing up outside of Tokyo, Chef Kenji Miyaishi’s mother used to send him off with bento boxes of onigiri rice balls, karaage fried chicken, tamago-yaki egg omelets and vegetables from her garden.

Now, as he’s pivoted his upscale restaurant in Napa, California, to prepare and deliver bento boxes amid the pandemic, he says he aims to serve with the same values of precision, culture and care his mother did.

Kenzo Napa Head Chef Kenji Miayishi.Bob McClenahan

Bento boxes can be traced back to the Kamakura period in 12th century Japan, and this year — with restaurants relying on takeout and delivery — they’ve become a relevant and culturally authentic way for kaiseki chefs across the country to stay in business.

And some chefs say, at a time of uncertainty, the boxes have also come to symbolize nurturing and comfort.

“Bento is usually made by a mother for her children or husband because mothers want their family to eat healthy and balanced food,” chef Hiroki Odo of 14-seat kaiseki speakeasy Odo in New York said.

They are two of many Japanese restaurants that traditionally served fine dining kaiseki tasting menus at intimate chefs counters and have switched to offering packaged bento boxes.

Kaiseki is considered the most noble and difficult cuisine to learn in Japanese culinary culture, as it includes mastering not only sushi but a variety of techniques including grilling, steaming, deep-frying, simmering and broiling. The intricate and delicate nature of kaiseki cuisine means that dishes are meant to be eaten immediately for ideal temperature and texture. With the pivot to bento boxes, chefs are redesigning their food to be suited to travel and hold longer. The number of bento boxes is often limited, but at a more affordable price point than dining in at these restaurants.

Miyaishi’s $75

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Larry Kudlow says economic recovery is not ‘dependent’ on a stimulus package, contradicting pleas from Fed

Larry Kudlow says economic recovery is not ‘dependent’ on a stimulus package, contradicting pleas from Fed



Lawrence Kudlow wearing glasses: Larry Kudlow participates in coronavirus economic "relief update" virtual event at the White House in Washington Kevin Lamarque/Reuters


© Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Larry Kudlow participates in coronavirus economic “relief update” virtual event at the White House in Washington Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

  • White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said Sunday that he doesn’t think an economic recovery is “dependent” on passing the next coronavirus stimulus package.
  • Kudlow’s remarks contradict pleas from Fed Chair Jay Powell, who warned on Tuesday that the economy might falter if another stimulus package doesn’t make it through Congress. 
  • The next stimulus package remains stalled in Congress, as Democrats and Republicans continue to hammer out details of the plan.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said Sunday that he doesn’t think an economic recovery is “dependent” on passing the next coronavirus stimulus package, contrary to the guidance put out by the Federal Reserve. 

“I don’t think the recovery is dependent on it,” Kudlow said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Kudlow went on, explaining why he thinks the potential lack of another stimulus bill will not tank the economy. 

“We’ve seen numbers across the board, just in the past week: booming housing starts, supply management for manufacturing and for services. We’ve seen automobiles surging,” he said.

“We’ve created…700,000 jobs in manufacturing,” he continued. “These are really strong numbers.”

Kudlow’s remarks contradict pleas from Fed Chair Jay Powell, who warned on Tuesday that the economy might falter if another stimulus package doesn’t make it through Congress. 

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“Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses,” Powell said in a speech. Powell has consistently urged Congress to pass a stimulus package to help the economy recover from the devastation brought on by the coronavirus.

The next stimulus package remains stalled in Congress, as Democrats and

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Coronavirus live news: England’s northern leaders say they do not support financial package; Portugal reports 1,646 new cases | World news

Coronavirus live news: England’s northern leaders say they do not support financial package; Portugal reports 1,646 new cases | World news

Spain’s Socialist prime minister Pedro Sanchez appealed for unity on Saturday after the far-right Vox party said it would take legal action against a partial lockdown imposed on Madrid to contain one of Europe’s worst coronavirus outbreaks.

Vox, which is echoing the conservative-led Madrid regional authority’s opposition to the new restrictions implemented via a state of emergency, has also called for protests.

The measures affecting 3.8 million people in the Spanish capital and eight satellite towns include a ban on non-essential travel except for work, school or medical reasons.

Around 7,000 police are deployed to ensure compliance.

Vox leader Santiago Abascal said his party, Spain’s third largest, would appeal in the constitutional court against the “illegal” state of emergency.

Opponents say the measures in Madrid are excessive and will crush the economy, Reuters reports.

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez holds a press conference with his Portuguese counterpart during the 31st Portuguese-Spanish summit this year dedicated to cross-border cooperation and articulation of a joint strategy for economic recovery in Guarda on 10 October, 2020.

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez holds a press conference with his Portuguese counterpart during the 31st Portuguese-Spanish summit this year dedicated to cross-border cooperation and articulation of a joint strategy for economic recovery in Guarda on 10 October, 2020. Photograph: Patrícia de Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images

But Sanchez told a news conference that health should come before politics. “We have to be united. This is an epidemiological battle, not ideological,” he said.

Spaniards are bemused and angry over the political bickering, as their nation suffers the highest Covid-19 caseload in Western Europe and its worst recession since the civil war.

“I feel frustrated, deceived, I feel afraid because I see that we are in the middle of political disputes that lead nowhere,” said Miguel Angel, 63, a Madrid resident.

The Madrid region had 723 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the two weeks to 8 October, according to the World Health Organization, making it Europe’s second densest cluster after Andorra.

Spain said on Friday it had

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Mitch McConnell says stimulus package ‘unlikely in the next 3 weeks’

Mitch McConnell says stimulus package ‘unlikely in the next 3 weeks’

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said a coronavirus aid package was “unlikely in the next three weeks” in the run-up to the election.
  • “We do need another rescue package. But the proximity to the election and the differences of opinion about what is needed at this particular juncture are pretty vast,” he said at a Kentucky event.
  • Any deal between the White House and Democrats faces an uphill battle to gain Senate GOP support.
  • Many Republican senators have voiced concern over the swelling budget deficit, which stands at $3.1 trillion.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Friday the passage of an economic stimulus package was improbable in the next few weeks before the election.

“I think the murkiness is a result of the proximity to the election, and everybody kind of trying to elbow for political advantage” he said during a campaign event in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. “I’d like to see us rise above that … but I think that’s unlikely in the next three weeks.”

But McConnell said another federal aid bill was needed.

“We do need another rescue package,” he said. “But the proximity to the election and the differences of opinion about what is needed at this particular juncture are pretty vast.”

The remarks reflect the difficulty a stimulus deal struck between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces. President Donald Trump abruptly halted negotiations on a bill on Tuesday, and appeared to restart them only two days later. He called for another round of stimulus checks and aid to airlines and small businesses on Thursday.

Trump on Friday called to “go big” in another coronavirus relief package. 

“Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along,” he wrote in a tweet. “Go Big!”

Read more: This Andreessen Horowitz-backed

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