Whaaat? Is it me or is it them?

Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 3 weeks 2 days ago.

Hi everyone!

I found this page recently on ehow.com: -http://www.ehow.com/list7467388bento-tips.html- (yes I know, I’m not making it a clickable link on purpose, because in my opinions it’s not a good reference page and doesn’t deserve ‘link juice’, as you’ll see below)

If you have some time to kill, please take a look at that page. It basically uses JustBento has the primary source, but misinterprets things enough to confuse anyone new to bento. It links to my Top 10 rules list and seems to get most of it’s informatio’ from there, but gets it just wrong enough to be, well, wrong. It also links to Biggie’s FAQ page on Lunch in a Box, and my Keeping your lunch safe page. But mostly, it’s re-writing or interpreting the Top 10 Rules. (That page has been linked to or copied verbatim on many other sites, which is fine by me, and better by far than this re-interpretation.)

For instance, it says (emphasis mine):

“Stick to a maximum of five items per bento box. Overpacking will only result in crowded-looking boxes and even waste food. Remember that this is a lunch box for one person, not a full dinner. Bentos typically contain three food items.”

The bolded part is like…whaaaat? My original Top 10 rule that corresponds to this one is no. 2, which says:

“I don’t have the time to spend making multiple items for my bentos, unless it’s for a party or something. I stick to a maximum of four or five different items per box for everyday bentos; many of my bentos contain three items or less. “

…which is just an everyday, speed-bento tip. Overpacking wastes food? Crowded looking boxes? WTF? You can put as many items in a box as you want. A bento box is meant to be ‘overpacked’ or packed tightly, to avoid shifting around during transit.

And ironically, the writer on ehow says later, “pack compactly”. I can just imagine someone seeing both rules and getting utterly confused.

And this one under Use Leftovers utterly killed me:

“Making food primarily for bentos can be difficult to make due to the small portions required. However, using leftover food is a viable option. Leftover food makes it easier to assemble inside a bento and is convenient to make. However, bento makers should reheat cooked food so that there are less micro-organisms growing on the food. This will help keep food from becoming less fresh and edible. The Just Bento website recommends that three-day-old food be reheated in a pan rather than in the microwave. This will quickly kill off any organisms that are likely on the top of the food.

This seems to come from this paragraph on my Keeping Safe page:

“In some cases it can be okay to pack food direct from the refrigerator, such as pre-made salads, instant pickles, and so on. Do use common sense though; packing leftovers from the night before is probably okay, but leftovers from 3 days ago gets iffy. “

In other words I am saying that people should think twice before packing 3-day old (or well, simply old) leftovers into a bento box, but this writer is saying - and worse, attributing it to me - that 3-day old leftovers are fine if they’re heated up in a pan. WHAT? (Note: Japanese bento books do recommend re-heating food in a pan to kill off bad micro-organisms that form on the surface.)

Now I am wondering - did I not make myself clear enough when I wrote those two posts? How can they be misinterpreted so badly? In other words, is it me or is it them?

(Off topic, but ehow.com has an utterly annoying Javascript that puts their URL in each copypasted text from their pages. Grrr.)


The Big Onigiri.

- Wherever you go, there you are. -

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Re: Whaaat? Is it me or is it them?

There is certainly no lack of clarity on your part. Your lists of rules and safety tips (and Biggie's) were so helpful for me when I first started off with bento, and never came to the conclusions that the writer of this ehow thing did. I'm also trying to figure out what that photo is of and how it relates to the captions "Placing edible cartoon character designs in bentos is a common technique." What cartoon character is that supposed to be??

Bento-ing from: Boulder › Colorado › USA
Joined: 23 Jun 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 38 weeks ago.
Re: Whaaat? Is it me or is it them?

That's ridiculous. Your list is very easy to understand, and the tips make perfect sense. This ehow article doesn't. If you didn't already, you should contact them, because if they're telling people to have 3-day old leftovers in their bento that'll sit around for several hours, someone might get sick and complain. You don't want them to be like "Oh, well we were just quoting Just Bento." I mean, regardless it's bad for them to misquote you in general.


Onaka ga suiteiru!

Henni A
Re: Whaaat? Is it me or is it them?

Whoever wrote this not only doesn't know much about Bento, but also not much about food and common sense concerning health.
What scares me in situations like this: there are only few things you are an expert in, and when you find mistakes in writing about them, how much can you trust the information which you can not judge? There is a lot of crap on the internet, and people believe it.

Re: Whaaat? Is it me or is it them?

Oh god, that was terrible! Their misinterpretation I mean. X_X I understood what you said perfectly fine, maybe they aren't particularly fluent in English? o.o; Like it sounds like they translated what you said using google then turned it back into English XD

(BTW, for the javascript thing, you should be able to avoid it if you use the noscript addon, you can just leave ehow blocked, but then it's annoying to unblock every other site you go to >_>;)

Re: Whaaat? Is it me or is it them?

Looks like complaints worked - that page no longer exists.

Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 17 weeks ago.
Re: Whaaat? Is it me or is it them?

Alas, it's still alive and well.

If it's any consolation, Maki, most of the tips about making paella in that site are similarly misguided.
Perhaps that's the price of popularity. People dabble, are satisfied with their results, promote these b**terdised versions as authentic and it's the halfassed aberrations that become the norm and spawn further dabblings. I guess it's natural when people try to summarise a lot of information which they don't fully understand to begin with.

It is interesting to see the process begin (and it must be quite surreal to find your own blog/name and what you've written actually cited in the decay!). Celebrities often complain about being misquoted. Congratulations Maki You've arrived!

Perhaps one day soon you will have a part in inspiring awesome instructions like this:
Highlights are the description of a historical one handled paella pan (?????!!!!), the use of several kgs of meat and seafood in a 16inch skillet, the earnest advice that one should never accept beef in a paella before listing cilantro, capers & olives as being suitable additions. However, the outrage just goes on and on (two MINCED heads of garlic. Long grained rice. Butter.). This gem of an article never ceases to provide amusement round our house. My mother laughs until she cries.
I'd say it was priceless - and then I think how much it would cost to assemble all those ingredients (and what a waste of life is involved)... :(

Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 3 weeks 2 days ago.
Re: Whaaat? Is it me or is it them?

That must be the Tardis of paella pans! ^_^

I think that bad bento article has disappeared, though other ones remain on that site. I've had a bad experience with those general-public written article/wiki sites before. I think they are just not edited or written by knowledgeable people - it's crap produced for the sake of generating ad revenue.

Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 3 weeks 2 days ago.
Re: Whaaat? Is it me or is it them?

That page is truly hilarious.

"You can substitute the bouillons in the stock with the head, tail and bones of the filleted fish as a substitute. To that effect, tell the butcher about your intentions and ask her/him to cut and clean them accordingly."

"10 oregano leaves, minced"

It also says you need a "full body apron". Whatever that means.

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