reasons to make bento

Keep track of your bento lunch savings in April

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During Frugal Bento Month, I have a simple challenge for you. That is to keep track of how much you save by making and bringing your own lunch instead of buying lunch.

Note that if you’re already making bentos almost daily and you have a good grip on your spending, you may not see the benefits. But if you’re just thinking about making bentos or just starting out, or if you have no idea how much you might be saving, it’s somewhere to start. Or perhaps you can use it to convince your spouse/boy/girlfriend or family about the benefits of bentos. continue reading...

Using bentos to deal with food sensitivities gracefully

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This is a guest post by niceties of Main-Main Masak-Masak, where she blogs about how she deals with her food intolerences and dietary preferences. I’ve been an admirer of her calm, elegant and very informative essays for quite a long time, so I’m really happy to have her on board as a guest blogger!

It was because of increasingly complex food sensitivities that I was motivated to learn more about cooking and bento culture, so as to be able to adapt recipes and to make my packed meals from home more appetising. The principles of bento culture go a long way in making our food-intolerance-friendly lunchboxes more tasty and attractive. Learning to be creative in those two areas is particularly important when one is faced with the limitations of food restrictions. Here is a quick guide to my approach to bento for special diets, summarising the key ideas I’ve mentioned across many different postings on my blog. continue reading...

How bentos help Tracy happily lose weight

This is a guest post by Tracy, aka Crazed Veggie, who blogs about bentos, amigurumi and personal rants and raves at CrazedVeggie.com. She’s lost 50 pounds (22.7 kg) so far since June of last year, and uses bentos as part of her successful weight loss program!

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The story goes a little something like this. I’ve been overweight all my life. Struggling with the weight had been an everyday thing and I’ve never known anything different. Two years ago I decided to become vegetarian. I did this due to ethical reasons (I just couldn’t go on knowing that an animal had to die for me to shove food in my mouth!). Once I became dedicated and seen how easy it was for me to make such a massive change in my food habits, I decided that I was going to watch everything that I ate and not destroy my body any longer. I joined a calorie counting website and went on a mission to lose weight. That was June of 2008, and so far I’ve lost 50 pounds!

I began incorporating bento box making into my weight loss program in January. As soon as I began researching the history behind them and the many websites and blogs dedicated to them, I knew this was something that I just had to be a part of. continue reading...

Get Started Bento Challenge: Week 4

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Welcome to Week 4 of the 5 week Getting Started Bento Challenge! This week’s focus is: Making bentos for others. continue reading...

Bento boxes: The perfect tools to combat portion distortion (and an idea)

UPDATE: Details of the Challenge are now up here! We’ll start on January 13th.

The Washington Post says to use a salad plate for portion control, but I say, what about a bento box? Plus, the germ of an idea. continue reading...

First Anniversary Giveaway Day 3: School outing bento memories

This is the third day of the week long giveaway party to celebrate the first anniversary of Just Bento, as well as the fifth anniversary of Just Hungry. (The first day of Just Bento’s part, and the second day.) Today’s bento memory is about school outings, or ensoku. continue reading...

Bento extra: The Kyoto aesthetic

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A bit off-topic, but a visual treat for you for the weekend. This is an assortment of delicate rice crackers from Kyoto, that my mother sent to me in her latest care package. They are mostly savory, but a few (like the brown flat ones that look like mini pancakes) are subtly sweet. I’ve arranged them in a hand lacquered two-tier wooden bento box. I’m contemplating whether I’m brave enough to pack a regular bento in there since it’s so beautiful!

But what I wanted to focus on were the rice crackers. Here is a closeup:

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I think the blend of colors and textures is so beautiful and elegant without being at all garish. It really has a Kyoto aesthetic.

As I’ve said here a few times previously, I’m not really into cute charaben/kyaraben, but if I can manage to make my bento boxes as visually appealing as this humble assortment of rice crackers, I’d be very happy indeed.

My personal biases about kyaraben (charaben)

In response to the picnic bento I posted yesterday, Zoé asked:

Really cute! Hey, I read on your blog that you aren’t keen in cute cooking…was it a joke ;)

Good question! I thought I’d qualify what I meant when I said that cute kyaraben (charaben) are not really my style. continue reading...