If you are a Twitter user, I’ve started to post site updates and short bento or food related things there. I’ll try to update, er I mean tweet, at least several times a week, or whenever an idea strikes me that’s too short perhaps for a full post.
Update: I’ve divided my Twittering to two accounts. The @justbento has site updates for both Just Bento and Just Hungry, plus bento-related tweets occasionally, while @makiwi is where I tweet about whatever is on my mind, at random. So, follow one, or both if you dare!
There are lots of bento-related books published every year in Japan. While most of them have plenty of colorful pictures, some are too wordy to be really useful for people who don’t read Japanese. Here is a list of books that I have in my collection that I think would be very useful even if you don’t read the text. Most of these books reflect my preference for books about healthy, vegetable-centric bento, mainly aimed at adults.
Noritama is one of the most popular flavors of furikake available commercially. Nori means the seaweed that’s used as a sushi roll or onigiri wrapper, and tama is short for tamago, or egg. The base, which gives the most flavor to the furikake, is bonito flakes or katsuobushi.
Surprisingly perhaps, noritama is one of the more fiddly furikake to make at home, though it’s by no means difficult. But I like to make it occasionally anyway becase I find commercial noritama to be a bit too salty. This version is lower on salt, so you can pile it on your rice if you want to. Naturally it’s free of any preservatives, MSG, or what have you. It’s also a lot cheaper than the commercial versions, even if you have to pay premium prices for the bonito flakes and nori as I do. continue reading...
Kombu, the leathery seaweed that is used to make dashi stock, is packed full of umami. A traditional way to prepare it is as shiokombu (salty kombu) or kombu no tsukudani. Tsukudani is a method of cooking something with soy sauce, sake and/or mirin, and sugar until it’s very dark, quite salty and sweet too. It’s a preserving method, since the salt and sugar greatly increase the keeping qualities of the food.
Kombu no tsukudani can be tucked into the corner of a bento box to add a little variety. It’s also a good onigiri filling. Properly made and stored in the refrigerator, it keeps almost forever. continue reading...
A reader left a great comment on the last post. I’m quoting part of it here:
But, honestly, the thing I love about bentos is the zen-factor: it makes me excited about eating and I always spend time in the morning really thinking about what I’m putting into my body. It’s very calming. I feel like I spoil myself everyday.
I couldn’t agree more with that. Planning bento lunches for yourself makes you feel like you are really taking care of yourself - something we are apt to forget when we are running around conducting Life in general. It’s as important, or even more so, than planning and making bentos for your family. It’s a way of pampering yourself during the course of your day spiritually as well as physically. Nothing can beat that! continue reading...