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Bentos (2003-2008)


torakris
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[Moderator note: The original Bentos topic became too large for our servers to handle efficiently, so we've divided it up; the following part of this discussion is here: Bentos (2009-)]

 

Let's get some bento talk going!

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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So then, Kristin. What do you usually pack bento with?

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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So then, Kristin. What do you usually pack bento with?

Anything I have in the house! :biggrin:

Today was a bowl of beef consomme, Japanese rice, karaage, and eryngii mushroom and garlic stem saute.

On other days it could be leftover curry rice, kimchi fried rice or even sauerkraut and sausages.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 9 months later...

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Gah is right. Those are not really sushi pictures but bento (box lunches) for kids.

I especially like the intricately made Anpanman (fourth from top, lower right corner), fashioned out of mashed pumpkin, potato salad, hotdogs, and nori.

Speaking of extreme bento materials - my sister-in-law, who lives in Tokyo, brought for us last time some packaged nori cut into the shape of soccer ball panels for making soccer riceballs. . .

Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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Jinmyo

Is this for real?

Can I get this here in the USA?

Is this some school project?

Who made this?

Does in come store window plastic? lol

This stuff is great. It just cracks me up.

I will have my Japanese friend translate for me.

Ohh you just made my Wednesday. :biggrin:

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yellow truffle,

sorry but this are not available for purchase! :biggrin:

These are pictures of bentos made lovingly my the mothers of kindergarten children. I wouldn't say these are typical bentos you would see everyday in my daughters classroom, but not one of them would surprise me. It would be more common to see these on special days or field trips. Some mothers here can get really fancy with the bentos though and right now every book store has huge displays of bento books and the new school year starts in less than a month (April 1st). Books on making bentos for boys, on making bentos for girls, on making bentos for jr. high school aged kids, for high school aged kids, for kids in kindergarten and of course books that show you how to make these "character" bentos.

My daughter is now begging me to make her the Power Puff Girl one...... :angry:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Okay, you can say Gah! but you know how happy one of those would make my niece? She doesn't live in Japan, she lives in Chicago, but if I made her that powerpuff bento and sent her off to school, it would cause more of a stir than that scene from "eat drink man woman" when the little girl opens her lunchbox that the old father has prepared for her.

But gosh, what a waste, if that isn't made out of leftovers and you have to make all that stuff just to cut those tiny pieces to make your bento....

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Oh isn't that the most adorable thing ever!

kawaii desu ka. (how cute is that?) :smile:

i don't especially like "cute" food, but isn't the point that it gets the kids to eat their lunches?

it's the same reason North American Moms (and Dads) put dubious things like 'string cheese' and 'fruit leather/rollups' in their kids lunchboxes.

caveat: i have no kids and have never packed a bento/lunchbox in my entire life. :laugh:

edit: to fix incorrect Japanese.

Edited by gus_tatory (log)

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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I devoted my cooking future to a particular Japanese cookery writer (whose name I forget for the moment...) when I read her words: "Fancy packed lunches are just a way of decorating the lunch box lid. You might as well tip a heap of ketchup, mayo, and nori onto the lid, stir it around some, and slam it on top of the bento, for all the use it will be by the time the kid opens it at lunchtime..."

Which is why, perversely, fancy rolled "futomaki" sushi actually do make a really decorative obento!

homestyle futomaki sushi

futomaki with butterflies, snails, turtles...

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I'm enjoying this thread.

Last night, I attended a lecture (here in NY) given by Elizabeth Andoh (who is a NY native, but now lives in Japan) about eki-ben, the bento boxes sold in train stations. She showed us the most beautiful slides of different eki-bens and how they vary from region to region. Also some lovely shots of scenery from the bullet train. Wish I had a copy of the slides to share with you!

What do you think about eki-bens? Any memorable ones?

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There are dozens of sites showing photos of ekiben, so I just introduce only one of them:

http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~vn4t-nnmy/ekiben/ekiben.htm

First click any district name, for example, 北海道 (Hokkaido). In the list that appears, click any ekiben name in the leftmost column 駅弁名 (ekiben name), and a photo(s) of the ekiben appears.

Ekiben are still popular among many Japanese. Some people like me prefer konbini (convenience store) bento, rice balls, bread, and so on in terms of price and taste (ekiben tend to be overly seasoned with sugar and salt because of concern about food poisoning).

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I agree with Hiroyuki, eki-ben can sometimes be ridicilously overpriced (often 2 to 4 times the price of a convenience store bento) and while sometimes they are quite good, they do tend to be heavily salted, even to my taste and I like heavily seasoned foods.

I rarely ride trains, but you can now find eki-ben often at special displays in the depachika (department store basements).....

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I really like how those eki-bens look!Presentation is top-notch. :smile:

As for bento lunch boxes, are they microwaveable?I normally prepare my husband's lunch the night before and store it in the fridge.Am using Glad brand microwaveable plastic boxes now so he can heat it up just before eating.

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As for bento lunch boxes, are they microwaveable?

Most of the lunch boxes made of plastics are microwaveable, I think. The ones that my wife bought for my childrens are microwaveable, but the instructions at the bottom warn that you must take off the lid before heating (because the lid is less heat-resistant).

Needless to say, those made of aluminum are not microwaveable.

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I'm not 100% sure but I have a feeling that by "bentos", Trakris probably meant "handmade" bentos. I could introduce other types of bento such as

1) Convenience store bento

http://www.ampm.jp/menu/toretatekitchen/allmenu.html

2) Takeout bento

http://www.hokkahokkatei.com/higashi/menu/index.html

3) Delivery bento

http://www.yagurahonten.com/

(Sorry, you have to click "今が旬!できたてお弁当ページ" below the carp streamers to view bento photos.)

But they may require another thread.

I hope that Trakris will come up with some suggestions.

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  • 1 month later...

Do you know how to make a well-balanced bento with the number of calories that is right for you easily--without any cumbersome calorie calculation? Here's how to do it:

Just follow the 3:1:2 law. 3:1:2 refers to the ratio of shushoku 主食 (rice), shusai 主菜 (fish, meat, eggs, soy beans, soy bean products, etc.), and fukusai 副菜 (vegetables, mushrooms, seaweed, etc.).

1) Determine how many calories your bento should have. If 700 kcal, then use a 700-ml bento box; if 500 kcal, then a 500-ml box. 1 ml for 1 kcal.

2) Pack one half of the box with plain cooked rice.

3) Pack the other half with shusai and fukusai at the ratio of 1 to 2.

Caution: Don't pack the box too much, or the number of calories won't be right for you.

Last Saturday, my son (8) and I attended a bento making class aimed at elementary school pupils and their guardians that was organized by the town community center. The class was intended to teach how to make a bento in the way described above.

Packing bento boxes:

i8088.jpg

And ours:

i8089.jpg

I guess that the 3:1:2 law is similar to the food pyramid with sweets and milk removed:

http://www2.lhric.org/pocantico/nutrition/nutrition.html

Websites on the 3:1:2 law (Japanese only):

http://www.kochi-u.ac.jp/~harigai/sub1.htm

http://www.nhk.or.jp/gatten/archive/1997q2/19970402.html

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Do you know how to make a well-balanced bento with the number of calories that is right for you easily--without any cumbersome calorie calculation?  Here's how to do it:

Just follow the 3:1:2 law.  3:1:2 refers to the ratio of shushoku 主食 (rice), shusai 主菜 (fish, meat, eggs, soy beans, soy bean products, etc.), and fukusai 副菜 (vegetables, mushrooms, seaweed, etc.). 

1)  Determine how many calories your bento should have.  If 700 kcal, then use a 700-ml bento box; if 500 kcal, then a 500-ml box.  1 ml for 1 kcal.

2)  Pack one half of the box with plain cooked rice.

3)  Pack the other half with shusai and fukusai at the ratio of 1 to 2.

Caution:  Don't pack the box too much, or the number of calories won't be right for you.

This is a really good rule of thumb. Wonder why it never occurred to me. :hmmm:

Last Saturday, my son (8) and I attended a bento making class aimed at elementary school pupils and their guardians that was organized by the town community center.  The class was intended to teach how to make a bento in the way described above.

<photos snipped>

I'd love to see something like this here; most people refuse to accept how easy it really is to pack a decent lunch/dinner.

Now I guess I'll have to stop by the market on the way home today for some unagi and shiitake to make a couple days' lunches (already have some umeboshi about - the internal equivalent of a cold shower!).

Charlie

Walled Lake, Michigan

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I'm not 100% sure but I have a feeling that by "bentos", Trakris probably meant "handmade" bentos. I could introduce other types of bento such as

1) Convenience store bento

http://www.ampm.jp/menu/toretatekitchen/allmenu.html

2) Takeout bento

http://www.hokkahokkatei.com/higashi/menu/index.html

3) Delivery bento

http://www.yagurahonten.com/

(Sorry, you have to click "今が旬!できたてお弁当ページ" below the carp streamers to view bento photos.)

But they may require another thread.

I hope that Trakris will come up with some suggestions.

The Yagura Honten site features a "Loco Moco Ochazuke" bento :shock::shock: !!!

Is Hawaii Loco Moco (Hamburger on Rice with Gravy) really that popular in Japan?

By the way, people in Japan, which of the two big bento chains do you prefers - Hokkahokkatei or Honke Kamadoya?

Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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