Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bento Books

Since Bento lunch box making is still fairly new to us in the States. One needs a book for ideas on how to even start Bento making. There are websites, Youtube videos and even books.

Now mind you, you can let your imagination go wild with Bento. If you Google Bento lunchboxes and click image you can see tons (and I mean tons) of fun Bento boxes. From the most simpliest to the most complex Bentos that I wonder if I could even do myself. Some of them are so cool looking that I'd probably have more fun looking at it then eating it!

The goal for Bento box making is to get our children to eat healthy without really even knowing it. At least that's the goal.

What do I need to make a Bento? Well, you can go as simple as buying some Tupperware containers to add inside a lunchbox to the more stylish American Bento boxes that I mentioned in my first post. To even going outright Japanese and purchasing a real Bento box. You can find the Japanese style Bento boxes on Ebay.

Next you want some of the wares that go with it. Right now the most I have is some cookie cutters. Both plastic and stainless steel cutters are both handy to have as the plastic ones are good for cutting soft foods such as lunch meats, cheese and omelets. There are even Bento box plastic cutters but honestly any will do when you first start out. Stainless steel work great for veggies , and even cooking eggs, and meats if you want to shape them like I did in my first Bento ( the pumpkin burger).

You will also need something to cut the Nori. You ask what is nori? It is dried seaweed that you will want to use for faces , body parts, etc on your Bento creations. Nori works really well for this though it is an aquired taste. Unless you and your child have eaten sushi rolls you will want to start out simple such as adding a mouth to something. Then the next eyes, nose and mouth until your child is willing to eat it in bigger amounts on larger creations.
You can find Nori in your Asian section of your grocery store. Along with other little Asian foods I found that my girls really like ( the Hello Kitty marshmellows and chocolates I found close by the Nori...LOL).
You will also need something to cut out the face parts. Some say you can use scissors but I found it to be tough. Unless your really good at cutting small parts I really don't recommend it. What you can use is a hole punch (make sure its for kitchen use only and you haven't already used it on paper) for the eyes,and nose. Mouths are a little easier to cut out then the eyes and nose but it really is handier to have a Nori punch . You can also use straws to make eyes and mouths, to make different shapes you can just bend the end of the straw a little into the shape you want. Japanese manufactures make them and you can fine them on Ebay. Even better if you don't want to wait you can use regular face paper punchers that you use for scrapbooking. They work just as well. Make sure you have plenty of toothpicks on hand to transfer these little pieces for your Bento, even tweezers if you have them work too. Honestly there are so many things they have available for Bento lunch boxes that the best book to start with is the Yum, Yum Bento Box.

This sweet and quaint Bento book will easily get you started and help get those creative juices started on how to make fun, healthy , tastey lunches. It also has links to websites where you can purchase Bento supplies and it also has helpful pictures of the recipes and supplies that will help you get off to a great start with your child's lunch box.
My daughters have been enjoying thumbing through the pages and letting me know which lunch they would like to try next.
I hope I can get my creative juices flowing more to create Bento boxes for those will allergies like Maggie. Many Bento lunches contain egg and well, as much as I wish she could have them , she is allergic to egg. I am planning on giving a trial of egg again to see if she's outgrown it yet.
There are a few Bento books I've been wanting to get my hands on such as this one:

There is also a second course book as well:

There is also the Kawaii Bento Cookbook as well:

And once I get more comfortable doing Bento's I think I will pick up this one for my older two girls:

These two books I think will be on my Christmas wish list if I don't buy them before Christmas. He, he.
So to end the blog here are a few Bento creations from the most simplest to the most complex I've seen so far...

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