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My First Obento

January 14, 2010

Those lips. Those eyes. My bento.

I publicly proclaimed my love for bento  this week, the Japanese art of making lunch.

And today I put together my very first obento. You see bento is the box, obento is what you put inside the box.

Bento Begins

My first attempt was not perfect and it’s not even close to being my best food  photo. Yet I’m tickled that I did it.

I “bentoed!”

In the process I had a wonderful Starring in Your Own Life adventure.

Will You Be My Bento?

And while there are beautiful bentos out there, think jewelry box for food, I found my bento in my cupboard. In another life it was a storage container I bought from Crate & Barrel. Tupperware would work too.

The dimensions  of my bento are 5 by 7 inches. The depth is about an inch.  It’s does not have as much depth as most bentos I’ve seen but it works.

Although down the road I’d love to get a bento that stacks up with dividers.  I also have my eye on the  many clever accessories in the arsenal of the bento maker including the mini soy sauce containers.

And yes I know that my Ms. Bento Tofu Face has bed head and she  looks as if she should be using Proactive. Note to self: don’t ever put your face in a frying pan. Next time I’ll bake her.

There will be a next time.

Why, well I heart bento are because:

  1. It’s automatic portion control. While I’ve seen burgers in bentos, I have yet to see a super duper burger. If you can’t stuff it into the bento, you can’t eat it.There is even a protocol of how much starch and vegetables you are supposed to have. features a meal planner spread sheet and visual guides on how you should break it down.
  2. To eat in the bento tradition is to eat healthfully. The US government tells us to eat a rainbow on our plates.  Bento calls for five colors for every meal. I know that, yet bento reinforces it.  When I went grocery shopping  this week, I made a point of selecting fruits and vegetables of color. I know that does not excuse the white rice. I’m working on that.
  3. To bento is to be  green. You use the same container every day, no more paper or plastic.
  4. You save money by taking your own lunch. Even in Japan salaried men, struck by the recession, are going to unfamiliar territor: the kitchen. That’s so they can make their own bento instead of buying lunch.
  5. You can bento with what you have. When filling my bento, I went to a regular grocery store and bought what was on special. There were no special ingredients needed. While you will find a lot of bento examples with nori, or seaweed. You can fill the bento with anything you love. For the record, carrots were harmed in the making of Ms. Face’s faux fur. It was delicious. Ditto her face.

What’s on your plate?

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