charaben

Great Bento Ideas: Simple and clever Halloween bentos by a really cool mom

Tombstone sandwich

Hallowe’en seems to inspire bento artists around the world like almost no other holiday. If you’re planning on a special spooky bento for someone special, now is the time to start gathering ideas. Here are two great very simple, cute and clever sandwich based Hallowe’en bentos by Tiffany, aka Cool Mom From Vancouver. continue reading...

Great Bento Idea: Paul Klee bento by Reiko

I picked this week’s Great Bento Idea just because it’s beautiful and different. It’s edible bento art! continue reading...

Great Bento Ideas: Simple and effective bentoscapes from Lian Mama and Bentobird

2010-09-08

This week, we have two Great Bento Ideas from the bento community, both illustrating how bentos can be beautiful yet not have to require hours and hours of time to assemble. continue reading...

Bento No. 71: Tiger Corn Muffin and Soup Bento

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 510 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 25-30 minutes to decorate the muffins (muffins are pre-made and frozen)

Type: Not Japanese, theme bento, vegetarian continue reading...

Bento no. 69: A Day At The Farm: Riceless charaben

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Bento contents:

  • 5 small Sweet Potato and Carrot Oyaki filled with ham and cheese, 250 cal
  • Sausage bunnies and cauliflower sheep using 2 cocktail franks, 70 calories
  • 1 Tbs. mayonnaise, 60 cal
  • Blanced broccoli, carrot butterflies and other vegetables, 30 cal

Total calories (approx): 410 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15 minutes the night before; 20 minutes in the morning

Type: Quick, not-rice-based charaben continue reading...

Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

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The Manga Cookbook has been out for a while, but I have a copy to give away courtesy of the publisher, so here’s a short review. While this is not a bento cookbook, it has a few bento-friendly recipes in it. Besides, the cute manga format will probably appeal to many Just Bento readers (which is why this review is here on Just Bento rather than on Just Hungry). (Note: The giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone for entering!) continue reading...

Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

To start off the weekend, here is a fun guest post from Jen of Tiny Urban Kitchen, about making sushi that is not exactly what it seems to be!

This is not what you might think it is. Yes, it looks like sushi - almost too similar. But guess what? It’s mochi! It’s mochi with various fruit pieces posing as fish.

Mochi is surprisingly easy to make. You can actually make this dessert with kids, it’s so easy and fun. The nigiri are especially easy - just cut up various fruits into squares to put on top. Rolls are a bit trickier, but not impossible. continue reading...

What is a bento anyway, redux: It's not just about cute charaben

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A regular family outing bento (photo by Michiko Ebina)

(Note: This is in part a belated response to the New York Times blog post about bento boxes that appeared in September. I had started it some weeks ago but didn’t have the time to finish, until now. Please also read the very thoughtful forum discussion about the post.)

The New York Times blog post about Beauty and the Bento Box was, after the recent balanced article about bento boxes that appeared in the same publication, was rather disappointing. To see yet another piece in the mainstream media focusing just on the aesthetics of bentos, and specifically on charaben, gives me a “What, again?” sort of resigned feeling. The question that they posed to a group of experts (only one of whom is Japanese…I wonder how many have even had a homemade bento for lunch?) was a leading question if there ever was one: “What does the care devoted to the visual details in a packed lunch suggest about the culture? Why is such value placed on aesthetics in everyday life in Japan?”.

I’ve repeated this many times on this site already, but the basic definition of a bento box is “a meal in a box”, as the subtitle of this site says. Bentos can be for any meal. They can be made by and for anyone. They are often portable, but not always (as for bento box lunches served at sit-down restaurants). In short, bentos are just part of everyday life for most Japanese people. Charaben are just one category of bentos. continue reading...