Bento!

If you’ve been reading our humble local paper, the New buy cialis and viagra online York Times, you know that bento lunches are gaining popularity among yuppies. For the uninitiated, bento lunches are densely packed lunches that generally feature smaller portions of many things. Bento is most widely known in the US for super cute design, with Hello Kitty bento boxes and heart shaped rice molds. But it really is just any densely packed, well portioned, nutritionally balanced lunch.

Now my boyfriend’s awesome new startup has an office and the guys don’t have to work from home, Chris is off to work every day for the first time in about a year and a half. In an attempt to cut lunch costs and eat more veggies, I’ve volunteered to pack Chris a bento lunch every day. It’s a good excuse for me to wake up earlier (if you knew what time I usually get up you’d lynch me) and uh, I could really use the practice cooking.

While I’m super excited to send Chris off with adorably shaped rice balls and eggs in the shape of bunnies, I’m starting smiple with the tools I have on hand. Here’s today’s lunch, my first ever attempt at packing lunch for someone else:

It consists of:

  • leftover Pokemon macaroni and cheese with beef and broccoli
  • half a banana
  • festively chopped carrots
  • fresh red pepper
  • a mini chocolate chip muffin for dessert

To keep the banana from browning I dipped it in a little bit of watered down lemon juice. The internet promises me this will keep it from looking totally nasty by lunch. We’ll see if it’s true.

As you can see, I don’t have a super cute hello kitty bento box. In fact, I just used a $0.25 plastic food tray I got from the dollar store. If I decide to keep up the lunchmaking I’ll invest in some better hardware. But the point of this is to save some money, not spend it all on adorable lunchboxes.

Later this week I’ll try an actual Japanese style meal, with sticky rice balls wrapped in seaweed and some gyoza for the main dish instead of last night’s leftovers. I also saw some super adorable mini PBJs made using soy wrappers. I’ll have to go on a hunt for them in the city as I’m too stubborn to buy them on Amazon.

There are a number of good websites for would-be bento makers. http://www.justbento.com has a lot of beginner information, especially food safety and packaging tips. http://lunchinabox.net/ is a blog mostly about preparing meals for toddlers, but also has a lot of good information on food prep, speeding things up, and how to freeze things in a way that doesn’t leave them mushy and gross when you thaw them out.

Oh, and because you can’t see them so well in the picture, here’s what I did with the carrots (shown on cucumbers):


It’s really easy, instructions can be found here. I ended up only using one knife though, I didn’t want to dirty a second one and was concerned about dulling the knives if they hit each other. You just have to be a little more careful to not go through all the way.

More bento pictures to come as I make them!

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One thought on “Bento!

  1. e says:

    My ex used to make lunches for me, and she would make hearts and smileys and other patterns with the chocolate chips. I recommend it. 😉

    Having lunch made for you is 100% awesome, and totally appreciated.

    Also, you get those trays for free if you buy Chinese takeout.

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