We Be(nto)

In a previous post, I mentioned getting some Japanese grocery items for our budding addiction to passion for all things bento. The kids are totally into it, too. Their favorite movie right now is My Neighbor Totoro, which is about two sisters that look uncannily like Japanese versions of my own kids. In the movie, the older sister packs bento for the family before they start their day. So, when I mentioned to DD1 that I was going to shop for bento boxes while in New York, she knew exactly what I meant.

I didn’t find good lunch-sized bento boxes for the girls, but did pick up a set of Hello Kitty snack-sized ones. They are 200 mL and have an offset divider. It’s amazing how much food you can fit into that little bento. While I would still like to get one* that is a tad larger for their lunches, the snack sized one is quite ample for taking to the park or on a similar short outing.

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Look closely, and you can see my first feeble attempt at onigiri. It’s not a chicken nugget, which is what it looks like in that bad lighting, but actually a rice ball filled with shredded carrot and toasted sesame seeds. I sprinkled a little cinnamon (egaahd!) on it for effect. This one is shaped like a teddy bear head. There are also hearts and stars. Yes, I got a rice mold on my travels. Who wants to palm hot, sticky sushi rice the first time out?

Now, every delicious bento should have a sweet pair of chopsticks to go with it, right? And tell me how you wouldn’t be able to resist the adorable-ness of these little cutie-pies, either:

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For maximum cuteness-effect, here’s a detail view:

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My bento is a two-tier stacking / nesting variety. It has a pretty lid with a fake lacquered finish and fake pearl inlay. I’m glad that the finish and pearl are fake. It only cost me $18.50 instead of ten times that. The bottom tier – with three divided compartments- is 400 mL, and the top one is about 440 mL, give or take 10mL.

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Poor hubby. He does have a bento, but it was 49 cents at the closeout store in town and is more like chintzy Tupperware than a frame for food art. But it’s functional, and he’s a boy. Boys do not care what their food comes wrapped in as long as it’s tasty, copious and contains a significant quantity of animal-based proteins. So he’s pretty happy with it. I did pack him a bento lunch on Tuesday, and it came out quite nice. The upper-left compartment has leftover bison pot roast and mashed potatoes from Ted’s.

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I was kind of proud of that one, being my first official bento and all. Definitely not the last, of course. I’m sure there will be many more obnoxious food-as-art photos to come.

* Aha. I’m sure you were wondering about the red asterisk. Well, the truth is that I did find the girls some lunch-sized bento online. They even have the characters from My Neighbor Totoro on them. Of course, they won’t be here for a little while yet, since they had to be shipped from Japan. Tee hee.
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2 thoughts on “We Be(nto)

  1. I am glad I was able to spread this obsession to you. (Share your addictions with your friends, that’s the moral of that story!) Your bento is AWESOME, and the Hello Kitty ones are adorable. Love those little chopsticks. I miss packing mine up to go to work each day. *sigh* That’s a story for another day.

    There are a few forums and daily blogs with all things bento…

  2. Between you and A.S., I’m a yarn-twirling, bento-toting FREAK! Thanks a LOT!!! 😉

    Oh, I am totally aware of the bento blogs and forums. I often perch on my computer chair, drooling over bento porn.

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