Bento Art

>> Friday, September 11, 2009

An article in New York Times had reminded me of my affection for bento boxes; a single, sometimes multi-, layer lunch box filled with rice, pickled vegetables, meat and other offerings prepared by housewives for their children and husbands. There are Japanese restaurant that offers bento boxes consisted of a sushi roll, some dumplings and a main dish like shrimp tempura or chicken teriyaki. While still very nice, true bento boxes are generally small in size and overtly tricked out to impress their eaters visually and make others jealous.

On the surface it's just lunch but it is really a cult. Other than the thousands of different lunch box in different shapes and designs, there are also the little dividers that hold a salad or snacks, the different cutters that turns carrot slices into flowers or spelling out "LOVE" in cheese and then little smiley face hello kitty toothpicks to hold a sandwich together or other sick crazy crap.

I originally thought it's just like preparing another meal ahead of time but no, it is a competition between housewives, it's a show-off event that one must do everyday. The box is small, so it is very portion controlled which is good if you're on a diet. And even the box is small, people still strive to provide a balanced diet with a wide variety of selections. There are not leftovers but all fresh made and cooking small and eating small is not my thing, I long for the day that I can my time and be creative like them. It'll probably only take 10 minutes to clear the canvas but it seems fun.

It's important to shape your ingredients into creative shapes to form cute cartoon characters...

Not a fan of dyed rice if there's no flavor involved, but then they are still pretty:

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