Speed bento tip: Squeeze bottles!
I'm always looking for ways to shave a few minutes off bento prep time. One way to do this is to look at the containers the condiments, sauces and other ingredients that you use frequently come in.
I use honey quite a lot as a sweetener. Measuring it out of a glass jar is a sticky, messy business, that more often than not requires washing of a spoon, wiping drips around the lid and jar, and other little things that add up in terms of wasted time. So, for morning preperations I rely on the neat runny honey in a squeeze bottle. It's not rare gourmet honey gathered from bees who suckle on rare alpine flora (I save that kind for leisurely cups of lemon-honey-water), but it sure cuts down on bento making time in the morning.
Other things I have in squeeze bottles include ketchup (store it upside down, and shake before squeezing out), mustard, and mayonnaise. I also like things in tubes. A lot of Japanese condiments like wasabi paste and pre-grated ginger comes in tubes (though I can't stand pre-grated ginger. Wasabi paste is better.) Around this part of the world we also get things like mustard, mayonnaise, Cenovis (the Swiss equivalent of Marmite), tomato paste, tapenade (olive paste) and mystery sandwich spreads in toothpaste tube-like tubes. Take a look around the supermarket or your favorite Asian grocery store to see if your favorite condiments come in neat squeeze bottles or tubes!
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