Now that you’ve settled back into the routine of school or homeschool, are your children already becoming bored with their usual boring lunches? Why not jazz things up with a lunch from Everyday Bento: 50 Cute and Yummy Lunches To Go by Wendy Thorpe Copley.
We’ve made bento lunches before, and the children have been asking for another one, so it was perfect timing with Tuttle Publishing reached out and asked if we’d be interested in reviewing Everyday Bento.
Bento lunches are common in Japan, and I admired all of the work that women would put into making them for their children, husbands, and others. It was always interesting to see what my co-workers had in their bento. They are genereally very healthy, balanced meals.
Japanese Moms must take a lot of time to prepare their bento, but you don’t have to. Putting a bento together does take a little extra time, but really it’s just about a lovely presentation. You can be as creative as you’d like, or be basic with an appealing presentation, so don’t be afraid of them. And use what you have in the kitchen, it’s not manditory to purchase special items.
If your child has allergies or special dietary requirements, bento are perfect. You will know what is going into the lunch, and your child will feel special for having such a beautiful lunch instead of feeling left out because they can’t have the same as everyone else.
Everyday Bento is packed full of colour photos on every page, and the instructions are very clear. If I can follow along with them, anyone can!
If you’re a complete novice to the world of bento, you’ll find out about the basic techniques, equipment, and tools at the front of the book. There are also handy lists for food ideas by food group, as well as by food colour.
The book is divided up into four sections:
- Bentos for Busy Mornings
- Extra-Special Bentos
- Bentos for All Seasons
- Bentos forGrown-ups
The first lunch we made was was the Dinosaur Bento Box. We had a dino cutter around from our dinosaur phase. We subbed out the pretzels for green pepper, and the hard-boiled egg for a plastic Easter egg and filled it with trail mix. I love how you can do things like this to make each lunch a little different! Kallista couldn’t wait for me to take a photo of it before she started to eat it!
Kallista had been talking about the ballerina slippers since she first flipped through the book. We subbed kiwi and melon balls for the watermelon.
Tristan couldn’t wait to try a Bento, and he had his chance with the Superhero Bento. He especially liked the lightening bolt totilla chips!
Bento box lunches aren’t meant to be expensive or wasteful, and there are lots of cut-offs when you cut the bread and fillings. However – this didn’t mean waste in our home. My children ate the off-cuts as well. I just served them on a side-plate.
Everyday Bento is full of ideas from toddlers to adult. That’s right, I made a Bento for Phil using bits and pieces of what we had in the fridge at the time, resulting in the Artful Leftovers bento! We didn’t want him to feel left out.
Phil enjoyed his bento at work, and now when his coworkers see him walk in with a box, they want to know what’s in it! I love that I’m still bring culture into my old workplace!
Bento boxes don’t need to be too time consuming (depending on what you create), just a little forethought and some inspiration. With the help of Everyday Bento, we now have plenty of ideas to use for next year’s annual Japan Society hanami party, and many fun days in between.
I’ve been so inspired that I’m asking for my own 2-layer bento box for my upcoming birthday. And I have my eye on a couple of inexpensive ones for the children that would fit nicely into their backpacks for our nature excursions.
Kallista already has tape flags in our book and is looking forward to making more bento boxes….now I’m off to check the internet for a few fun bits I can use as stocking-stuffers as my go-to shop has a sale on. Groovy!