Bento fever has recently swept across the West, fuelled not just by an interest in cute, decorative food, but by the desire for an economical, healthy approach to eating in these times of recession. –Makiko Ito Book
Food preparation does not only include delivery of cooked food on the table but it also involve great presentation and creativity. Most especially when kids are around, you sometimes need to double your effort in making the food more attractive and interesting for them. So now I would like to introduce to you the art of bento, a home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine.
Bento can be very elaborately arranged in a style called kyaraben or “character bento”. Kyaraben is typically decorated to look like popular Japanese cartoon (anime) characters, characters from comic books (manga), or video game characters. Another popular bento style is “oekakiben” or “picture bento”, which is decorated to look like people, animals, buildings and monuments, or items such as flowers and plants. Contests are often held where bento arrangers compete for the most aesthetically pleasing arrangements. – wikipedia.
These egg molds are simple to use and make great looking bear and bunny eggs. Simply boil your eggs, as if making standard hard boiled eggs. The trick is to keep the eggs moving around in the boiling water until they are set to keep the yolks in the center of the egg. If the yolk gets close to the edge of the egg, the egg mold won’t make a clean impression. Peel the eggs while still hot, pop into the mold and drop into cold water for 10 minutes. – Amazon review
This book is a must have for bento beginners or anyone who just wants some creative ideas to make lunchtime fun. It would also make a great gift, especially for teenage girls! My 14 year old daughter and her BFF saw the book on my desk and immediately took it to the kitchen to experiment. Garlicky Edamame (pg. 124) was first and the menu and was a hit!
All the bentos in the book are beyond cute, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be Coconut Tree on page 31. Hawaii’s Bento Box Cookbook: 2nd Course is a great addition to any bento bookshelf!
Some of the ingredients are likely not easily found for some parts of the world, but part of using a bento cookbook successfully is being able to think outside the box and adapting the foods used in the book to foods of your own region or country. The title states clearly that it’s “Hawaii’s” Bento Box Cookbook, so don’t buy this with something else in mind. With a marked improvement in photography since the first book, better designs, and charaben easier to replicate, I think that Second Course is worth the price for so much bento inspiration.- Amazon review
This book has an impressive 100 reviews, all 5 stars!
Bento fever has recently swept across the West, fuelled not just by an interest in cute, decorative food, but by the desire for an economical, healthy approach to eating in these times of recession. A leading light in the popularization of bento has been Makiko Itoh, whose blog, Just Bento, has nearly 160,000 subscribers in the U.S. alone, all of whom love her delicious recipes and practical bento-making tips.
Now, for the first time, Itoh’s expertise has been packaged in book form. The Just Bento Cookbook contains 25 attractive bento menus and more than 150 recipes, all of which have been specially created for this book and are divided into two main sections, Japanese and Not-so-Japanese. The Japanese section includes classic bento menus such as Salted Salmon Bento and Chicken Karaage Bento, while the Not-so-Japanese section shows how Western food can be adapted to the bento concept, with delicious menus such as Summer Vegetable Gratin Bento and Everyone Loves a Pie Bento.
In addition to the recipes, Itoh includes sections on bento-making equipment, bento staples to make and stock, basic cooking techniques, and a glossary. A planning-chart section is included, showing readers how they might organize their weekly bento making.
In a market full of bento books that emphasize the cute and the decorative, this book stands out for its emphasis on the health and economic benefits of the bento, and for the very practical guidelines on how to ensure that a daily bento lunch is something that can easily be incorporated into anyone’s lifestyle. This is the perfect book for the bento beginner, but will also provide a wealth of new bento recipe ideas and tips for Just Bento aficionados.
Works as advertised- put the rice in, compress with cover, remove cover, turn over, push the shapes out. My 4yr old son loves when I use them. I got my kids to eat their rice by using this 🙂