When I was a little girl, about Keira's age now.. I used to look through my mom's magazines. Not Vogue or Harper's Bazaar but all these japanese magazines she used to buy through the japanese grocery store. Granted, we are not japanese in heritage but korean. But my mother used to be able to read a bit of japanese as well as speak it. She mainly used the magazines to follow their sewing instructions. My mother missed her calling. She is inherently gifted with her hands, especially when it comes to sewing, pattern-making and knitting. She could knit the socks off of anyone!
These magazines always had a section on food and they almost always contained instructional pages on how to create bento lunches for kids. Pages and pages of how to make panda bears, puppies, Doraemon characters like kyaraben (or character based) bentos and oekakiben (or picture) bentos. I used to wonder why then, did I go to school with horrible lunch creations such as, mile-high soggy baloney mustard & peanut butter sandwiches, pickled radish kimchi & peanut butter sandwiches, mock-chicken & soggy lettuce sandwiches.. well, you get the idea. Where were the cute pandas? The stuffed musubis? The elaborately cut and creative carrots and other vegetable & fruits? Well, having your own business and taking care of two kids leaves zero time for elaborately made meals.
Today, I have found inspiration online and have found that making bento lunches need not be an elaborate, time consuming production! All you need is a little imagination, fresh ingredients and any type of tupperware type of container to keep it all together. I started making bento lunches for my daughter in order to get her to try new foods and also, to get her to become excited about eating veggies and fruits. I've also found that bento lunches are a perfect way of portion controlling your meals. Not only are they pleasing to the eye but also, to the palate.
The bento community is alive and well and most importantly, extremely supportive of each other and also, to anyone willing to give it a try!
You can type in 'bento' in the Search box for all of my zany bento creations!
Here are some of the best of the best bento creators online (in no particular order):