Friday, August 20, 2010

Playing with Food

So I have a bit of a new obsession: bento.

Bento means "lunch" in Japanese. It is usually packed in a box, the food is tightly packed into the box and arranged attractively.

In typical Japanese fashion, however, it can be a little over the top.

I ran across a blog called Just Bento and was intrigued by the healthful, beautiful food I saw there. In particular, I saw one bento that contained some interesting sushi rolls, Japanese omelet slices, some stewed bean, and some fruit, all packed together, but separated into individual compartments. I decided to try to replicate it one Saturday. I put some rice in the rice cooker and started dicing some peaches. I sliced cucumbers for the sushi and pulled a can of Japanese gourd strips out of the pantry. I whisked together eggs, mirin, sugar, and soy for the omelets. I whipped up a batch of mini carrot-pineapple muffins.

An hour later I had a very unusual lunch ready for my family. It was a huge hit.

And then I started looking at bento sites and bento accessories on the internet.

You haven't quite lived until you've seen some of the crazy things these people do with lunch.

So I started persuing ebay for bento accessories. Packages started arriving from Japan. And yes, yesterday, I made a bento for Steve that contained sesame spinach, brown rice, cannelini beans with honey and soy, and two mini hamburgers. And I cut out cheese in the shape of teddy bear heads (complete with eyes) and laid them on top of the hamburgers.

Yes, I have completely lost my mind.

I can't wait to torture the children by packing them some "cute" lunches. Alex says he'll likely get stuffed into a trash can. Hannah says they're sure to make fun of her. It should be fun!

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