Thanks to many years of working LONG hours many miles from home, 4 hours of daily commuting and simple exhaustion at the end of the day, my husband and I evolved a home routine of his doing the lion's share of cooking.
It's a curious thing because certain artifacts arise from this sort of arrangement.
For one, we eat a certain kind of homecooking that is very different from the one I grew up with. In the home I grew up in; imagine a mix of Midwestern farm-ish homecooking and Colombian cuisine – worked for us. One day creamy saltine-encrusted pig brains sautéed in butter and then sancocho, rice, patacones, and arepas the next.
But on top of this is something that lies dormant, my latent inner chef. When I do cook (and lately its been hard due to the morning sickness and now with my crazy big tummy not letting me get close enough to the darn counter!) what I desire to cook is not American or Colombian or even in this hemisphere.
I seem to be channeling a beginner Japanese housewife.
When I cook, I whip out the miso paste, soy sauce, tamari, gomaiso, nori shreds, tofu, green onions, ginger, sesame oil, Japanese rice, mochi, and miso vegetable stocks.
I don't make bentos for the kids because we homeschool now and I am not sure that I could go there really, I am a real stickler about not eating or serving food that has stayed out of the fridge much past the time that they have lost their chill.
But I do HAVE bento boxes and I like to serve supper in them on occasion. To me, a fresh homemade miso soup with daikon, green onions, steaming sticky rice, toasty mochi, and a sesame oil infusion is more attractive than a pot roast, prime rib, or roast chicken.
On some days a roast chicken (with Paul Prudhomme's poultry seasoning inside and out) can be a strong contender tho. (As an off topic aside, I would also recommend, for your Cajun cooking needs, Magic Seasoning Salt, we used this on EVERYTHING back in the 80's)
What I cook when channeling this Japanese housewife seems to be sourced from cookbooks I have and have seen, recipes that I find online, Japanese food photos I devour online (Flickr Japanese photos), and from Japanese restaurant experiences (tho these are never what I hope them to be).
I have a long way to go and there are certain things I wont be making (like spaghetti with ketchup or anything drowned in mayonnaise) but I am always drawn back to certain basic ingredients.
I also have a love affair with Japanese tea sweets, called Wagashi, and have posted about them in the past, including a Flickr Slideshow of wagashi images found on Flickr.
In efforts to expand my understanding of Japanese homecooking and also traditional cuisines (such as kaseki, something I want to become proficient at because it is delicious and such a lovely ideal) I either have the following books are will be getting them when the budget allows. Let me know if you have other favorites!