So, I've been making Bento...


I've taken up Bento as a hobby. A bento is a Japanese lunch box featuring small amounts of a variety of intricately arranged foods. The more popular bentos of this age are made to be cute, a quality derived from using things like tiny cookie cutter style veggie cutters for carrots, cucumbers, and the like. As illustrated by this image which is borrowed from Just Bento.

As you can see, bento can be ridiculously cute ^_^
BTW, this bento by Delphine.

Bento is more than food, it's an art form, a method of meditation, and a way to show special someones how much you care about them. This is a much more common practice in Japan where the degree of sentimentality attached to bento making has been employed quite effectively in commercials. This one I made me cry. Scroll about halfway down the page on Just Bento then go back and read it. Makiko Itoh does an incredible job of explaining the difference between a lunch box and a bento.

I began making bento yesterday and have since gone on a bit of a shopping spree on for some crazy nifty bento gear. I have rice molds, egg molds, veggie cutters, silicon treat cups (for cute separators), and super fab egg molds shaped like a bunny and a bear. I'm also heading up to the Fortune Supermarket in Va Beach to gather other tidbits like miso, azuki beans (red bean), chopsticks in a case, a real bento box, and any other little accessories that leap off the shelves into my sticky mitts for purchase.

So far I've made five bento. I've learned it can be very time consuming until you start to get into the habit of a couple hours of prep work. The cool thing is that the couple hours of prep needed to really streamline the daily bento beat can be done once a week. Wash your veggies, cut them into the shapes, lengths, and styles you envision yourself using over the week and pop them into storage containers with water. Make sure there is enough water to cover the pieces and toss the lot into the fridge. Onions, peppers, and whatnot can be cut and loaded into a water free container for quick cooking later. Cook your rice and use Saran or cling wrap to form them into balls. You Tube it if you can't figure out how. Let them cool a bit on the counter or what have you and then stash them into a freezer bag, cling wrap and all, to be used a later date. When you need to tuck a ball into a bento, either leave it frozen or slip it into the microwave for about 1-2 minutes (depending on size). To properly nuke it, so it doesn't dry out or turn into a rock on you, leave it in the cling wrap while heating. The sparkly little ice crystals on the inside will keep it deliciously moist. You can also boil your eggs about three days worth at a time, but really, two days is tastier.

I've also discovered the more variety you provide, the more interesting and palatable the meal will seem. Toy with the possibilities for texture, flavour, appearance, and even scent to offer the most memorable bento. Have fun with it and remember to share your efforts with others when you can.

These are the first five I've made, in order:

Once again I have proven my absolute slackertudiness! (it is a word if I so will it!)


So, updates first...

I have completed yet another semester (at ECSU this time though) with a 4.0 again. I can only hope, at this point, that the demands of educational awesomeness will eventually require enough effort on my part to keep me awake. I don't have high hopes. Next semester should be better. I have French and two creative writing classes. For now, I have three weeks of Christmas vacation to dawdle through. I will be spending Christmas Eve, Day, and Boxing Day enjoying all that Colonial Williamsburg has to offer. Yay! It's exciting to escape everything for a change. I've never been a fan of Christmas, but with all the pressure being removed by the simple act of removing my self and my cuddle-bug (husband) from the pressure-cooker pot of expectation, I have certainly become merrier than anyone imagined I was ever really capable of. Beyond that, I've taken up Bento, Archery, and a distopian book obsession. *LOL, spellcheck doesn't recognize the word "distopian" yet.

BTW, found this nifty review site for YA books...if you're into that genre...which I naturally am as I hope to become a writer of such. Anyway: HERE

From the last post: