One thing that strikes me most about Japanese mothers is their tenacity and determination to prepare AMAZINGLY CUTE BENTOS for their little ones every single day!
The lunchbox culture existed long ago in 1800s America, as men would bring their lunch in metal tins while they slogged away in the mines. This has since evolved into plastic containers with a wide variety of cartoon designs, especially those from Disney.
Today’s lunchboxes are tiny and compact, with much attention being paid to the arrangement and design of the food items within. This is especially so for Japanese lunchboxes or bento, which look wayyy too cute to be eaten! Here are some incredible pieces of “art” made with food!
Using simple equipment such as seaweed cutters, dividers and more, you can also create your own adorable bento. Nami from Just One Cookbook has an easy tutorial for those who are new to bento-making (simplified below)!
- Divide the meal using the ratio (4 parts carbs : 2 parts protein : 1 part vegetables : 1 part fruits), so that your child can have a balanced meal.
- Use foods of different colours to make your bento more attractive.
- Pack the food tightly to maximize space.
- Use pre-cooked ingredients to reduce time spent in the mornings.
- Draw up a meal plan to make grocery shopping easier.
- Have fun arranging into a design!
Additional, catch Mari Miyazawa in action as she displays her awesome bento-making skills on her YouTube channel!
However, traditional Japanese bento is nothing like those mentioned above! They consist of exquisite ingredients placed in elegant wooden boxes.
Which do you prefer?