The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak peek inside!

Yesterday I finally received a copy of The Just Bento Cookbook, fresh off the presses. I’ve seen the proofs or galleys, but the Real Thing exceeded my expectations. It really looks fantastic - not just the great photographs by the other Makiko-san, but the layout, the print quality, - everything.

As with better quality Japanese bento cookbooks, the Just Bento Cookbook is soft cover with a dust jacket. Here is the front cover:

jbcookbook-1-sm.jpg

The Japan version has a paper belt or “obi” around it, which has some blurbs and information in Japanese. I believe that the version sold in the U.S. and elsewhere won’t have this obi (though it’s possible that copies carried at Japanese bookstores may).

jbcookbook-2-obi.jpg

Here are some peeks inside the book. Each of the main recipes have a little picture of the corresponding item in the featured bento, so you know exactly what is what.

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Of course, any bento that requires some prep work beyond just packing things up in the morning have a timeline. Would you expect anything else from a Just Bento book? ^_^

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I tried to vary the bentos for the seasons. Here’s a Summer Vegetable Casserole bento, from the not-so-Japanese bento section….

jbcookbook-3-tiani.jpg

…and here’s another one from the same section, a Soup and Muffin bento with poached apples, packed into a thermal lunch jar for the colder months.

jbcookbook-8-muffin.jpg

A couple more shots! A mini-hamburger bento with cut-outs. I kept the decoration ideas very simple.

jbcookbook-6-hamburg.jpg

A “chakin zushi” (egg-wrapped sushi) bento with stewed lotus root and hijiki seaweed. I believe this is the most Japanese bento I have in the book, in terms of ingredients. Lotus root (renkon) is about as exotic as I got with the vegetables, but you can easily substitute another vegetable dish for it if you wanted to. And dried seaweed can be easily mail-ordered if it’s not at your local Japanese or Asian grocery.

jbcookbook-4-chakin.jpg

Table of Contents

The Table of Contents is organized into 3 sections by type. This makes it easy to go straight to the bento recipes themselves, or find a particular tip or how-to. (There should be a “Look Inside” on Amazon before the book goes on sale there by the way.)

Tips and other matter

  • Introduction
  • Makiko’s Top Ten Bento Rules
  • Tips for Speeding Bento-making
  • Timelines
  • Bento Safety Tips
  • Great-tasting Bento Rice
  • How to Pack a Bento Box
  • How to Cook Rice
  • Different Types of Onigiri
  • Pre-assembled Sandwiches
  • Salad Bento Rules
  • Using Bentos for Weight Loss
  • Real Cheese for Lunch!
  • Makiko\s Essential Bento-making Equipment
  • Bento Boxes and Accessories
  • Weekly Menu Planner with Bento Lunch
  • Bento Staples
  • Glossary of Japanese Ingredients
  • Index of Main Ingredients
  • Bento-related Web Sites and Resources
  • Acknowledgements

Recipes: Japanese-Style Bentos

There are 25 total bentos; 15 Japanese, and 10 Not-so-Japanese. That may not seem like a lot…until you consider that each bento has tons of variation recipes. So you can mix and match to come up with dozens of combinations that work!

  • Chicken and Three-color Pepper Stir-fry Bento
  • Tamagoyaki Bento
  • Fried Shrimp Bento
  • Mini-hamburger Bento
  • Ginger Pork Bento
  • Chicken Karaage Bento
  • Mixed-vegetable Rice and Salted Salmon Bento
  • Soboro Bento
  • Chicken Kijiyaki Bento
  • Sukiyaki-style Beef Donburi Bento
  • Tofu Nugget Bento
  • Soba Noodle Bento
  • Onigiri and Meatball Bento
  • Egg-wrapped Sushi Bento
  • Sushi Roll Bento

Recipes: Not-so-Japanese Bentos

I’m quite proud of the Not-so-Japanese bentos. I tried to come up combinations that have a ‘bento aesthetic’ - colorful, varied and appetizing meals packed into a compact box, that taste good hours after they are made. I hope I’ve succeeded!

  • Bunny Sandwich Bento
  • Deconstructed Salad Niçoise Bento
  • Pan-fried Chicken Nugget Bento
  • Mediterranean Mezze-style Bento
  • Summer Vegetable Casserole Bento
  • Spanish Omelette Bento
  • Quinoa Pilau and Chickpea Salad Bento
  • Soup and Muffin Bento
  • Everyone Loves a Pie Bento
  • Indian Tiffin-inspired Bento

I am really my own worst critic, but looking through the book several months after completing it, I have to say that I am really very happy with the results. As I wrote previously, this is a practical, everyday bento lunch book, for people who want to bring, or make for their loved ones, tasty, healthy and varied lunches to work or school, on a regular basis. As I keep saying - I hope I’ve succeeded!

Check this list for when and from where the book will be available.

It’s YOU

This is what I wrote as the first sentence in the Acknowledgements:

First and foremost, I could not have even contemplated writing this book without the tremendous support and encouragement of the JustBento.com readers. Thank you!

And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

For more bento recipes, ideas and tips, subscribe to Just Bento via your newsreader or by email (more about subscriptions).

And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.

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Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

That looks absolutely fantastic!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

No, thank YOU for introducing the world to easy to read and assessable Japanese recipes and food of all kinds! I can't wait to dive into the book, those pictures look so good that I want to chew on the book pages.

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Looks great, cannot wait to check it out! kudos on everything you do, justbento, justhungry and now this new book! You really provide matchless resources for us!

LOOKS GORGEOUS! Domo, Maki-san!

This looks so beautiful, I'm tempted to go get a copy at Bento & Co., then do the Amazon link to order for friends.

My dear friend just gave birth to a lovely little girl, and she NEEDS her bentos to stay sane now!

We love you so much, Maki-san! You da GRRL! Bento On! :-D

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

I'm so excited for you! Congratulations! :)

Can't wait to get my little hands on this book. I've just started bento-ing again, and I get so much of my inspiration from you.

Thank you again!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

This book looks fabulous! Can't wait until it is available here in Canada. I'd love to be able to make some of the things my mom made for me when I was little. The whole concept of bentos will hopefully get my little ones trying some new things...

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

I am so looking forward to your book, Maki! I have been making bentos since April and I have learned so much from the online bento community and the generosity of bento bloggers. I love that you have worked seasonal recipes into your bento book, as I am a big proponent of using seasonal and local foods. May your book be greeted with huge success and multiple printings! :-)

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

89 days to go! So excited!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Really, really glad to see your hard work come to fruition, and I am so excited looking forward to having a hard copy of JustBento to hold in my hands. Kudos; you should be extremely pleased!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

the book looks just great! Maybe with your book in hand I will finally have the courage to make the first bentos for my children for school!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Congratulations!
Now if only we could get it translated into our native languages to include those (wannabe)bentoists who are scared off by all the English :-)

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

if English scares you, you can have it in Japanese :p

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Thank you so much for this sneak-peek!! I have already ordered my book, but it will only come in January!
Thanks for the acknowledgements too, it's nice to know to are as grateful to your readers as they are to you! I have had a fantastic time reading recipes and making bento for myself abd my husband. Even my mother, who loves traditional French cooking, enjoyed them!
Carry on with the good work ^^
Axelle

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Just got the latest email with the sample pages and table of contents. As soon as I saw that, I jumped on amazon.com and pre-ordered my copy. I can't wait till it comes out, this book is going to be a keeper!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

I only recently found your website, but I absolutely cannot wait for your book! I had a baby in February, and I've been looking for easy, healthy recipes to take to work so I can finally lose this baby weight. And of course, it fuels my love of anything Japanese. Thank you!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Oooh. That looks so cool! I can't wait to get a copy!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

The cookbook looks beautiful! I can't wait to get a copy. You've given us all so much already; I hope your publishers give you great big wodges of cash from the cookbook. XD You've certainly earned it, and we all owe you much thanks for the years of cooking help and friendship you've given us.

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Maki --

The book looks wonderful! I pre-ordered it on Amazon as soon as your first announcement went up -- BOTH because the book looks wonderful, and as a way of saying THANK YOU for all of your wonderful content you've been providing for so long! You are a food writer that I am happy to support. So, just one more person saying: Thanks, we love it! Can't wait for the books to be released :)

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Congratulations on a wonderful cookbook! I look forward to buying my copy!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

buying this when it hits the bookstore..or should i preorder it online now? anyway this looks fab, cant wait to purchase a copy !:D

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Congratulations! The book looks great and pictures are amazing! Japanese and English version both too! Way to go!

English only, not Japanese

There is no Japanese version actually - the book is all in English, written specifically for non-Japanese people. It just has the ‘belt’ in Japanese when it’s sold at Japanese bookstores.

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Thank you for the teasers! I pre-ordered the book on monday and now i'm really excited about it! C'mon hurry and release, I've been practicing making bento friendly recipes this holiday ready for when Uni starts up again and I have lectures on the other campus in October. I'm very intrigued by the Pie recipe in the non-Japanese section and of course I will be making all the Japanese recipes. Thank you maki for helping me eating delicious and healthy food without feeling deprived. I've already lost weight although I only notice it in my wrists :/

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

The book really does look beautiful. Congratulations-- I'm looking forward to getting a copy as well.

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Looks great!!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Ah, looks richly informative and inspiring, just like Just Bento! So many delicious and healthy meals will be enjoyed as a result of your efforts, thanks Maki! Can't wait for my pre-ordered copy to arrive!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

I preordered a couple of copies so besides being patient until the arrive, I get to decide who to give one as a gift!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

they look beautiful! they layout looks very clean and interesting too. well done!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

The sneak peek was terrific - thanks! I can't wait to buy the book!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

It looks really great, I think I may need to start on my Christmas wishlist already :)

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

I can't wait to get my copy - I have preordered it! Hope you are also feeling better :)

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

The book looks great! I pre-ordered it from Amazon June 10th (availability was Aug. 2, 2010) and just checked to see why it hadn't shipped. My account says it will ship in Jan. 2011! The last book I pre-ordered from them was delayed so many times it actually arrived 1 1/2 years later. No joke! I will have to cancel the order to release the other books in the shipment and re-order the bento book when it actually starts shipping. : (

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

This is truly amazing. I've been an avid reader of your websites for awhile, as I love to cook and you often inspire me with some of your bentos! While i don't back bentos per se, I do take a lot of the ideas you offer here!

I will be pre-ordering your book from amazon, can't wait to get it! Perhaps i'll be actually packing bentos from now on...haha =)

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

wow, Maki, おめでとう! this is so exciting! i've pre-ordered it on Amazon and can't wait to get it -- and give it, too! thanks for continuing to keep up the blog; hope you are recovering quickly and feeling great! i'm sure finally having this book in your hands helps!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Maki, I've had some terrible news! The justbento cookbook isn't due for dispatch until November :( I'm not sure I can wait that long !!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Hi Sara, that is not terrible news at all, it's the expected release schedule. I'm guessing you are in the UK or somewhere in Europe, where it will actually come out earlier than it will in the US. The page here explains all that, including a way to get the book right now if you wish!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

I have to say, I love the little mini pictures next to each recipe. in other bento books I have read, that are in English, sometimes it is hard to figure out what in the picture goes with what recipe. I love big pictures of the food in cookbooks and sometimes it is frustrating not being able to reconcile what recipe goes with what. I have read many cookbooks and never have I seen it done that way. Maybe a caption on the picture or something but not with a little picture next to the recipe. It is the little things like that and the timelines that will take a good bento book and turn it into a great one. I eagerly look forward to purchasing this book. If the recipes are like anything on the site, and I'm sure they will be, I will just itch to get in the kitchen and make them.

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

The Just Bento Cookbook looks awesome!
I can't wait to get one and get back into making bentos again.

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

I know what I want for christmas!!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

I hope to buy this for myself by Christmas time =D

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Looks great! This would be just the thing to get me bentoing!

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Makiko,
Can't wait to get my copy of your new book! I teach Japanese cooking here at the Culinary Institute of America@Greystone and have always wanted to introduce this way of eating to my students. I really love your other site "Just Hungry." Keep up the great work you are doing!
Chef Ken

Just got my copy today!

I ordered mine from Bento&Co and got it today (along with a Miffy thermal bento set and some veg cutters so I can finally make nice shapes)

I love it! There are so many wonderful things to say about The JBC, but I think my favourite is the "Variation Recipes" segments you have after most of the bento menus. They really add a lot of variety and are a great resource if there's something I don't have on hand or don't like when I'm looking at a menu.

Also, unlike my computer, I can carry it into the kitchen. :)

In conclusion: Great book, glad I bought it, and I wish you lots of sales once it finally is available on Amazon.

Re: Just got my copy today!

Thank you for buying the book, and the nice review too! ^_^

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Hi Maki, just got your book from Kinokuniya, Malaysia. Wonderfully surprised when I saw it sitting on the "recommended titles of the month" shelf! The book comes with the cute little obi too. I thought I had to endure the agonizing wait for a pre-order copy from Amazon, haha! Been packing bentos for about a year now , and it all started when I stumbled upon your website looking for a miso soup recipe. Your book has all the things I love about Just Hungry and Just Bento - the simple, practical approach, clear instructions, everything this busy student + clumsy cook needs ^^

p/s : the book is #8 on the non fiction bestseller list in Kinokuniya Malaysia ;)

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Thanks for buying the book! #8 - woohoo!

Just got my copy!

Dear Maki,
just got my copy from CasaBento.com and liked it lots! (also happy i did not have to wait until January). The book is beautiful and convenient to use, the only wish is that it should be twice bigger and contain more recipes. Thank you very much for your work and efforts made to issue the book!
With regards,
Anna

Re: Just got my copy!

Hi Anna - thanks for buying the book! Yeah, there were pretty strict page number restrictions...I think the idea was to make it the same sort of length/size as a typical Japanese bento cookbook. Still, I tried to cram is as much info as possible ^_^

Yay! Amazon JP here I come

I haven't checked the site for a little while and was happy to see you have a cookbook! And even happier to see that it's available already at Amazon JP. Lucky for me, I'm in Hiroshima so I'm going to order it now. Looking forward to a bento book in English (although it's always fun to look at the pictures in the Japanese books here).

Re: The Just Bento Cookbook: Table of Contents and a sneak ...

Can I buy your book here in your site? Thanks

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