Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bento Blast From the Past

What is bento?

Bento (written 弁当), or obento (お弁当) to use the honorific term, is the Japanese word for a meal served in a box. Beyond that basic definition though, just about anything goes as to what kind of box or container is used, as well as what is put inside that box. -

I used to really be into bento making. I still really enjoy looking at pictures of amazing little lunches. I have a friend who is just really getting into bento making, and when I saw these pictures I thought I would post them for some inspiration. I think I could easily get back into bentos if I worked a more normal job. I have kept the practices of compartmentalizing my food, but I haven't kept the make it pretty part. I am also thinking that going back to using my fun bento containers might make it easier to control my portions on my weight loss plan. These little boxes don't hold much food and combine that with the trying to make it pretty, and you loose even more space.

This is actually one of the first bento I had ever made. It contained nano-burgers (the meat is actually baked inside the little buns), apple slices and carrot sticks, homemade potato chips (one with a butterfly cutout), and a chocolate chip cookie. I made these for a Labor Day picnic - it was also the first food I ever gave to AJ. He didn't eat the nano-burgers, but he decimated the rest of it.

This one was a little more traditional Japanese. I never really got into authenticity at that point, but now that I am learning more how to cook Japanese, I could see it becoming more of a likelihood. This one has stir-fried chicken and carrots over soba noddles, carrots and apple slices, a kids yogurt with a container of granola.

I think this one was a tribute to Saint Patrick's Day. I took a shamrock stencil and used English peas to make the shape. The meat is diced pork chops. There is also apple and carrot slices and a container of kid's yogurt.

I remember really liking this one a lot. It was oven cooked salmon, home cooked green beans and potatoes. There is a side dish of baby bananas (they were so tiny!) and a small square of dark chocolate.

This one was a breakfast bento that I packed while I was on the crazy diet. I had this same bento for weeks because there was no option for variation, luckily I really liked this stuff. It has diced strawberries, dried cranberries, a died boiled egg, brie cheese wedge, apple slices, apple teddy bears, and two pieces of melba toast under the green grass. There is also a really cute pig container that has salt in it for the egg.

Like I said, I had this same bento a lot. It did give me a chance to play with some of my different tools. This one has two boiled eggs that were put into egg shapers to look like fish.

This one has two boiled eggs put into the egg shapers to look like bunny rabbits, and then died to look like they are wearing hoodies. This one was also a good chance to use some of my pretty divider papers and wax paper cups. The Japanese paper cups are like our cupcake papers, except the pictures are printed on the inside and have a wax coating to keep wet things from making the dry things damp.

I know I made lots more bento than just these, but apparently I didn't always take pictures. I remember some that were really cool technically, but they didn't turn out very well in the end. If I do start making them again I want to be better at taking pictures.

Looking at these pictures really makes me want to go out to the garage an pull out my stuff and repack my lunch for today. Maybe I will. Maybe this will be the next mini-step I take towards my weight loss goal. Maybe the pretty pictures will make you want to play with your food. What do you think? Would these make you smile when you opened them to eat? What are some neat and interesting ways you can think of to help loose weight while still enjoying your food?


StasiaBirdKnits said...

aww! <3
I had gotten out of the habit for the most part of bento-ing when I started working instead of school but I think I'm going to start anew, I really miss it (even though I only did a pretty bento once). If nothing else my co-workers want be to bring one in so they can see what I've been talking about.
Thank you for the pictures, I'm going to try to copy some of them as close as I can with the food allergies and all. Pears for apples shouldn't be that much of a stretch.

dax248 said...

Stasia- I so understand about food allergies in bento. I see these really pretty ones and then discover that I can't eat anything in there. I think you should start making them again, and take them to show off (and also take pictures to inspire me!) I am about to go to the garage now and see where my supplies are :) *happy dance*