Book review and giveaway: 501 Bento Box Lunches

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501 Bento Lunches: 501 Unique Recipes for Brilliant Bento is a cute little book (about 6 inches / 15cm square, or the size of a small bento box as you can see from the photo). As the title says, it contains 501 bento box meals within its compact covers. If you've been a bento fan for any length of time, you'll probably recognize many of the bentos in the book from blogs and Flickr pages around the web. There's a brief recipe (in most cases more of an assembly how-to rather than recipes for individual components) for each bento, plus an introductory chapter with a how-to section and more detailed recipes by Amorette Dye, a.k.a. Sakurako Kitsa, one of the better known charaben artists in the English speaking world.

The bentos featured in 501 Bento Lunches lean rather heavily towards the cute and colorful, though not all are charaben/kyaraben. Pros: While you could spend many hours of internet browsing to see all of these bentos online, it's nice to have them all in one book. Cons: The photos are in full color, but unfortunately the quality does vary a bit, depending on the skill of the photographer. The font used for the recipes is tiny, and to my eyes hard to read. That coupled with the format of the book, which is like one of the pocket-sized art books that make great little gifts rather than a cookbook, it might be hard to use this as an actual cookbook in the kitchen. However, it can provide hours and hours of colorful inspiration for your future bento creations.

(Full disclosure: I was invited to contribute my bentos to this book, but declined.)

  • Format/Size: Paperback, 288 pages, about 6 inches/15cm square
  • Publisher: Graffito Books
  • Amazon.com link; Amazon UK link (On Amazon UK it's still called '500 Bento Lunches' - they must have added one before the book went to print.)

The giveaway part!

I'm giving away one copy of 501 Bento Lunches, courtesy of the publisher, Graffito Books - the copy you see in the photo, minus the chopsticks. If you'd like a chance at it, just leave a comment to this post. To make it interesting (because as with all the giveaways around here, I think just a bunch of "please enter me" comments are boring) tell us what your one favorite bento making tool is. Is it an egg mold? Cookie cutter? Favorite knife? If you can link to a photo, all the better!

Deadline: Your comment must be posted here on or before 23:59:59 of Tuesday, July 7th.

Eligibility: Anyone!

The giveaway is now closed. The winner will be announced very shortly! Thank you to all for entering!