Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bento Lunches

I've been considering starting to make some Bento lunches - but I have no idea where to start. I know I DON'T want them to end up loooking cute (Japanese cartoons seem to be popular)- but I do like the more "grown up" versions where there are aesthetically pleasing color/shape combinations.

I know a couple people who read this do the Bento thing - so - where do I start on this path of non-cute bentoing?


  1. I do enjoy looking at bento creations, but most of them are of the cutesy variety. Let us see what you come up with!

  2. is a great place to start. Her advice is easy to understand, practical, and fun. She sometimes does cutesy bentos, but most of the time they are made from leftovers and whatnot, which is much more manageable for someone who doesn't eat Japanese food all of the time (most of which is made with bentos in mind). Definitely check out the FAQ.

    Though, perhaps you already found the site since the picture you're using is from her. ;) This LJ community might be interesting to you, too. People will all different levels skill and equipment build their bentos, take pictures, and then post them for others to see. People leave feedback sometimes, but it it's mainly to gain inspiration from each other and to notify all about new bento topics (like a new container available in the states, etc).

    Here are the basics listed very quickly:
    - You need to find a container that suits your needs (the amount of food you eat, whether it's microwaveable, etc).
    - Start making extra for dinner and saving the leftovers for lunches.
    - Learn to look at your lunch in colors to keep it balanced (if you can't find information on this, I've got it written down somewhere...let me know and I'll find it for you). This will save you a lot of time when you think, "What else should I put in here?"
    - Remember to pack food tightly. It looks nice because it's packed well (use "fillers" like grapes, cherry tomatoes, Babybel cheese, etc). If it's loose, everything will get squished and it won't be appetizing.

    If you have any questions, I'll try to help! :D

  3. i have no earthly idea what that is. hahaha. i guess i will have to go look it up.

  4. I have heard of Bento lunches (sadly because my sister was watching the Disney channel and they were featured on Pass a Plate) but I don't know to much about them, although the ones you posted look cute (and yummy)

  5. For those who don't know and don't feel like looking it up:

    Bentos (or "obentos") are just packed lunches. The difference between bentos and a sack lunch is that a lot of thought goes into what should be in it, how it's packed, how much is packed, and what it goes in.

    A lot of people get really fancy with it and make the food look like cutesy animals or stylized art, but it doesn't have to be that complicated (like the picture Nicole shows).

    It focuses on not over-packing food (proper portions), having a balanced diet that is healthy but still fills you up, and packing in such a way that it doesn't look all mushed when you open the box.

    When you're starting for the first time with little knowledge/practice it can take a while to make (it would take me an hour to pack two). But once you get the hang of it (and you help yourself by freezing proper portions ahead of time) you can whip one up in about 5 minutes.

    They're fun to have because they're aesthetically pleasing, healthy, and cheap. And it challenges your creativity as a cook.