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Bento Making with My Bentolicious

Monday, 13 September 2010

Cute bento do exist in real life!

Here I would like to introduce the concept of bento or lunch in a box. If you watch any anime or read manga, you should be familiar with these cute little lunch boxes. I'm not an expert in this. As you can tell, I'm a very lazy cook, I don't think I can wake up at 6 a.m. every morning to prepare a pretty lunch box for the wild boar. Plus, I don't have such delicate fingers and talent in art. However, I cannot resist cute stuff and admire people who has the talent and patience to prepare bento boxes for their family like Lia. Lia is from Jakarta and a mother of two. She is the author of My Bentolicious - a blog filled cute and delicious lunch boxes. Please welcome Lia to Pig Pig's Corner as she shares her experiences in bento making.

I was very pleased when Ann from Pig Pig's Corner asked me to do a guest post for her lovely blog. I have been following Ann’s blog and twitter for a quite sometimes now. One of the wonderful foodies blogs that I bookmarked on my laptop. I really enjoy her posts.

For those of you who are not familiar with bento … Bento is a meal put and served in the box and originally came from Japan. Bento becomes very popular now outside Japan. I started blogging about bento about 1 year ago. I was reluctant at the first time but my very supportive husband kept encouraging me to do it as a journey for my bento learning and bento making. I make bento for my kids to bring to school. That way I can be sure that they have nutritious foods.

Some of my friends are skeptical about bento making and are afraid to try it because they have an incorrect concept about bento :
  • Bento does not necessarily have to be a Charaben (character) bento like most of the bento that I prepare for my kids. The point is that we should put a healthy balance meal in a bento. That’s why I made 2 different bentos so you could get the idea. I choose Charaben bento for my 10 y.o daughter and 7 y.o son because I think they will enjoy it more given their very young age. But they never complain either if I just prepare a non Charaben bento for them.

Charaben Bento - 3 Wise Monkeys. First tier box : fresh berries, chicken karaage, stir fry ham and celery, pan fry corn cake, and lettuce. Second tier box : steamed rice decorated with 3 wise monkeys on the top. 3 wise monkeys were made of egg sheets, crab stick, nori and food picks. For more details about how to make egg sheet, you can find the tutorial on My Bentolicious.

  • Bento is not necessary to be filled with Japanese foods. It can be adapted. In my case, I always put home cooking foods. After all I prepare bento that my kids will enjoy eating and not wasting it.
  • Bento is not necessary for kids only. It’s for everybody, there is no age restriction.
  • Bento making doesn’t always have to use many tools. Tools are just a compliment in bento making. For my non-Charaben bento, I only used flower shapes cookies cutter with big straw. So don’t get mislead by the concept that you can only make a good bento if you own a lot of bento tools. Many bento makers are very successful to present their beautiful and healthy bento without using many tools.
  • Bento making needs a lot of time to prepare. Yes and No. Some of my bentos are very simple and quick to prepare that I just took 15 minutes (not included cooking time); but yes that some of them needed a little longer from 30 minutes – 1,5 hour to prepare. So it’s of your preference. If you don’t have the time to prepare it then you can choose a simple one without so many details. And if you do and love to do more details, go for it … why not?

Non-Cute Bento. First tier box : stir fry bean sprouts with anchovy, curry tofu, sunny side up, grape tomatoes, sauteed pork & cucumber with lemon grass, and lettuce. Second tier box : steamed rice decorated with flowers. Flowers were made from carrots, daikon, and green peas.

I really enjoy my bento learning and bento making process. Bento community in blogging is very supportive and it’s fun to have so many friends around the world. They have been a great inspiration for my bento making. You can join the fun now with us and start your bento making considering that you can control all the the healthy foods you want to put in a box and cost saving also.

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