The Bento Life

February 14, 2013

Have you seen the bento craze? If you’re not familiar with it, it is (most basically) a way of compactly assembling lunch in a box that originates in Japan. There is more to it than that of course, including guidelines on how to choose the right size and pack your box so that you get the proper number of calories in the proper proportions. There are also people who send hours making cute bentos or charaben, but that’s a side shoot of bento making as a whole.

I started reading bento blogs over a year ago. After making do with several rubbermaid containers and some thrift store finds, I finally last month invested in some easy to use Lock n Lock bento boxes for Mario. I wouldn’t doubt if we’ve made the money back already in lunch packing! Not only does it encourage me to pack his lunch more often (I had gotten pretty slack about it since the arrival of Little Bit), but the way of packing small amounts of a variety of foods means that we don’t throw a scrap of anything away anymore. Two pot stickers, three broccoli florets, a quarter cup of rice — it all goes in the bento.

Here’s the Hub’s Valentine’s Day bento


Box 1: Oranges and blueberries, carrots with ranch in a tiny container, tomato salad topped with parmesan.

Box 2: Rice balls (molded in a novelty measuring cup from Dollar General!) topped with paprika sprinkled through a stencil (also DG), surrounded with green beans to make them stay.

Box 3: Mandarin chicken leftover from last night’s dinner, topped with cupcake picks (DG).

All three boxes have sealing lids, and they stack inside a snug little cooler.

Usually his bento is just leftovers thrown in boxes, nothing special like this. It generally takes me no time at all, since I pack it the night before when I would be boxing up leftovers for the fridge anyway. This one I spent a bit more time on, just because I wanted to, Little Bit was in bed, and the hubs was off at a guys only thing.

Happy Valentine’s!