Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Bentos (2003-2008)


torakris
 Share

Recommended Posts

The show will be on Fuji TV, I will let everyone know the air date when I find it out.

We are working on the bento so far we have sort of a beach scene with a fried quail's egg for the sun and some spam shaped like a surfboard. I like Rona's idea of sesame seeds for the sand but are still having a hard time deciding what to do about the water. Originally I was thinking no sand and just some nori shaped like waves but the director is trying to find some kind of blue colored food. I have food coloring but I can't really think of anything that would still look appetizing after being dyed blue.

As for the rest of the bento we have the typical Hawaiian macaroni salad but are trying to think of two more Hawaiian style/themed vegetable sides...

Blue Curacao flavored Jell-o? with lil pineapple ships

Wawa Sizzli FTW!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
Hi guys! Haven't posted in awhile. Been in school and the work load has been pretty busy.  I am out now and have a little more time to post and such.

On Flickr, we have a huge bento community.

http://flickr.com/groups/bentoboxes/

I participate when I am able to. :)

This one of mine that I have done:

http://img340.imageshack.us/img340/8085/40...ec93ef3fca5.jpg

Interesting! Where on Flickr can I find your other bento? I tried to identify them, but I failed.

One other question: Do you make bento for yourself or someone else?

The pictures of the various bentos I have made can be found here:

http://flickr.com/photos/samuraifiction/se...57594178772534/

Yes, I make my bento for myself. I do not have children just my husband and cat, Chiba. :) I have made bentos for my husband but he prefers to make his own lunches. I put too many healthy things in his bento. :laugh:

I like to make bentos for myself because it allows me to (1) save money, (2) control my portions (as I am trying to lose weight) and (3) be creative. :wub:

Edited by Lynn Shipp (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Last week I had to attend a speech contest. One of the speeches was titled "A Gift from Our Past" or something like that, and it was about bento!!! The girl wrote a little about the history of bento (books have been written about bento since the Edo Period, she said), etc. It was kind of interesting...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last week I had to attend a speech contest.  One of the speeches was titled "A Gift from Our Past" or something like that, and it was about bento!!!  The girl wrote a little about the history of bento (books have been written about bento since the Edo Period, she said), etc.  It was kind of interesting...

I have never stopped to think about the history of bento. :blink: I googled "history of bento" in Japanese (弁当の歴史), and this was the first one that came up. It says that it is the Azuchi momoyama period that containers called bento came into existence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Saturday was our elementary school's undokai (sports day) and I was rushed for time in the morning and snapped off only one picture just to have it be blurry..

gallery_6134_4148_169335.jpg

top left: apples, spinach omelet, deep fried satumaimo (Japanese sweet potato), cherry tomatoes, lemon-parsley sausages and nowaza-na (a green) and chirimen-jyako (baby sardines) onigiri (rice balls)

top left:

yukari onigiri, more sausages, more tomatoes, more omelet

bottom:

chicken nanban-zuke (deep fried and marinated in a vinegar based dressing), more onigiri, more satumaimo and more tomatoes

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

gallery_41378_5233_301541.jpg

My first photo-worthy o-bento! Although lunches on my campus are criminally cheap (380 yen for a giant curry rice with 2 korroke or tonkatsu on top) I find them too salty for my taste. I made this bento with leftover takikomi-gohan (note the mushrooms have gravitated to the bottom!) and carrots from the night before. They were re-heated in the microwave while I fried some gyoza and made a hard-boiled egg to round out the box. I didn't have enough veg in the house to make it more balanced, but the meal was delicious. I had a mikan for dessert, which I shared with the campus tabbycat on the quad. I think he was more interested in the gyoza, but I didn't share those!

I've gone through Torakris's kinpira thread, so I'll add that to the rotation, I think. I've seen the heat-and-eat frozen bento additions in our supermarket, but after a year and a half in Vietnam, I find I'm really sensitive to processed food now, which is funny, considering the enormous quantities of MSG I'm sure I consumed while there. Are there any other standard bento additions? I've also made tamago-yaki with some success, but onigiri are difficult for me, as I don't make fresh rice in the morning (no rice cooker yet!).

The box is just a plastic container I got at the 100 yen store, not a real bento.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are there any other standard bento additions?

Congratulations on your new endeavour!

Standard? Atsuyaki tamago, meat balls, hamburgers, stir-fried vegetables, boiled spinach, shumai, grilled fish, just to name a few.

One word of caution: Takikomi gohan can go bad very fast. I know that, but I let my takikomi gohan go bad twice this hot summer. :sad:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congratulations on your new endeavour!

Standard? Atsuyaki tamago, meat balls, hamburgers, stir-fried vegetables, boiled spinach, shumai, grilled fish, just to name a few.

One word of caution: Takikomi gohan can go bad very fast. I know that, but I let my takikomi gohan go bad twice this hot summer.

Thanks for the warning! I usually pack a small cold pack in my lunch bag, but I have to be careful with food safety, since my lunch travels with me on the train for an hour in the morning, and sits in my class until I eat it at about 1 pm. I've read Helenjp's tips, and I'm adding a little vinegar and sake to my rice. But my gut is pretty hardened now, especially after Vietnam.

What's atsuyaki tamago? It must be some kind of fried egg?

Ce'nedra - they are store-bought gyoza - just pork, green onion and ginger filling. My students laughed when they saw gyoza in my bento. I guess they're not a standard bento filling. :biggrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congratulations on your new endeavour!

Standard? Atsuyaki tamago, meat balls, hamburgers, stir-fried vegetables, boiled spinach, shumai, grilled fish, just to name a few.

One word of caution: Takikomi gohan can go bad very fast. I know that, but I let my takikomi gohan go bad twice this hot summer.

Thanks for the warning! I usually pack a small cold pack in my lunch bag, but I have to be careful with food safety, since my lunch travels with me on the train for an hour in the morning, and sits in my class until I eat it at about 1 pm. I've read Helenjp's tips, and I'm adding a little vinegar and sake to my rice. But my gut is pretty hardened now, especially after Vietnam.

What's atsuyaki tamago? It must be some kind of fried egg?

Ce'nedra - they are store-bought gyoza - just pork, green onion and ginger filling. My students laughed when they saw gyoza in my bento. I guess they're not a standard bento filling. :biggrin:

I keep mentioning atsuyaki tamago here in the Japan Forum and elsewhere (in my foodblog, for example), and you still don't remember it? :biggrin:

Atsuyaki tamago

I like mine unsweetened.

Other bento fillings include nori, umeboshi (of course!), chicken kara age, yakitori, spaghetti, cherry tomato, canned mikan, simmered kabocha, curry, furikake, sausage, etc., etc., in no particular order. :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just wanted to post a photo of my son's bento, made by me this morning.

gallery_16375_4595_9424.jpg

For some mothers and wives, making bento every morning is an everyday routine, but for me, it's a major hassle, no matter how mediocre the resulant bento may be. I carefully decide what to make for supper the night before, and get up 30 minutes earlier than usual on the day.

Simmered kabocha: Supper last night

Boiled brocoli: Supper last night

Sausage: Boiled this morning

Atsuyaki tamago: Made this morning. Rather time-consuming, but an indispensable item for bento.

Shumai: Store-bought, microwaved this morning

1 onigiri with salmon filling

1 onigiri with yukari (red perilla leaf furikake)

Persimmon: Peeled this morning

The bottle contains hot barley tea.

I hate making bento... :sad:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But it looks great. Although I am in Southern California my son went through a phase where he had "bento envy" of the Japanese children in his school. I started making a very rough version and was assisted by local markets (we have a discount store called a Marukai 98 cent market that had great stuff) I never could figure out how to fill those little plastic containers shaped like fish and pigs with tiny red screw caps. Input invited. Lovely to see your bentos of course.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But it looks great. Although I am in Southern California my son went through a phase where he had "bento envy" of the Japanese children in his school.

That's completely opposite of what I went through during my elementary school years...my mom would make bento for me, but I would get teased and harassed for bringing something so "foreign"...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But it looks great. Although I am in Southern California my son went through a phase where he had "bento envy" of the Japanese children in his school. I started making a very rough version and was assisted by local markets (we have a discount store called a Marukai 98 cent market that had great stuff) I never could figure out how to fill those little plastic containers shaped like fish and pigs with tiny red screw caps. Input invited. Lovely to see your bentos of course.

Thanks, heidih, for your compliment. :smile:

Those little containers are for sauces like soy sauce, ketchup, and konkatsu sauce.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those little containers are for sauces like soy sauce, ketchup, and konkatsu sauce.

My question is how to fill them with sauce. The opening is narrow. Is there a tool that assists in siphoning in the liquid? I managed to always fill them but many times more than I needed sloshed out the sides..... Many thanks for your assistance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's completely opposite of what I went through during my elementary school years...my mom would make bento for me, but I would get teased and harassed for bringing something so "foreign"...

I felt that way as a first generation immigrant from another culture, but the current culture at least here, and I think the last 20 years or so has been that maintaining cultural identity is considered "cool". We have middle eastern, pan-asian cultures in our area and everyone is very open. I am almost jealous that I lost some of my culture in my youth because I shied away due to peer pressure in those times.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those little containers are for sauces like soy sauce, ketchup, and konkatsu sauce.

My question is how to fill them with sauce. The opening is narrow. Is there a tool that assists in siphoning in the liquid? I managed to always fill them but many times more than I needed sloshed out the sides..... Many thanks for your assistance.

Is it so hard to do...?

First you put a sauce in a cup or a plate, then squeeze the little container with your two fingers, and let the container suck the sauce.

Got it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The ultimate bento scam - but I'm sure that any hardened bento maker has thought of that already!

Kobayashi Kazuyo Obentou Kimatta!Here seems to be a rewrite/re-issue of my first and favorite bentou book, "Obentou-zukuri Hiketsu-shuu".

Her bentology is not fancy, but it works. Her cooking is definitely Showa style. Her mottos are "Does it taste good cold?" and "Is it easy to eat?" (E.g., make soboro a little moister than usual). She suggests things like arranging food on top of rice if you don't have as much as usual, or layering simple things like torn nori and flavored katsuo-flakes with rice if worse comes to worst.

I haven't read them, but you might take a look at the "Chou Haya! Bentou de Maji-uma Lunch" or "Kihon no Bentou", both from Orange Page, or the Lettuce Club equivalent "Speed Bentou - Nemutai Asa no Tsuyoi Mikata". However, do not be deceived the tantalizing titles - check your local bookshop and make sure that they really deliver what they promise. I see that the series the "Chou Haya!" mook belongs to has been on the top shelves of the magazine stands for months and months, so it must sell.

The two rules of bento making are 1) throw away all shame, instant dashi and frozen eda-mame have their place; and 2) if you or your child have a bento and nobody misses their train, the bento was a success!

The Top Ten Bitter Fruits of Bento Experience!

1. Plan what you will make if you forget to cook the rice one day. (Freeze sandwiches, keep one pack of retort rice for emergencies, etc. etc.)

2. Yesterday's dinner is today's bento, never doubt that for a second. Familiarize yourself with 3 bento-oriented recipes for every common foodstuff, e.g. EGG = pajeon, atsuyaki, soboro) and despair will never have you in its clutches!

3) Buy a book on okazu (side dishes) for the microwave and force yourself to use it. Buy some tiny silicon or paper molds - atsuyaki can be microwaved or toasted using the timer just as well as when you stand over it in a pan. Well actually, it's not the same, but it will do.

4) Fried things from the night before (or in winter, even freshly made) can get hard and unappetizing in cold, dry weather. Bring ketchup, sauce, and a little water/sake - or soy, mirin/sugar, vinegar, ginger and a very little cornstarch - to the boil and quickly toss the fried objects round in it before draining.

5) Boil salted salmon instead of grilling it...don't overboil it, and add a little sake to the water, but it's fast, and it's less greasy to eat. Lots of things are perfectly tasty boiled in boring old water. Allowing carrots or sweet potatoes to cool in the cooking water just a little prevents the surface from drying out too much when drained.

6) Asazuke and momizuke (make in morning) for no-cook vegetables.

7) Frozen dishes get boring and are often left forgotten in the freezer, but frozen scallions (or even better, wakegi) chopped and frozen, or dried shiitake soaked, squeezed and frozen sliced or whole, frozen sliced aburage etc are versatile and can be tossed into dishes without thawing first.

8) Instead of either panfrying or deepfrying everything, grill and drop into a marinade (yaki-zuke). Soy sauce and vinegar is the basic start, but you can make it spicy or herby or sweet, whatever you like.

9) "Well begun is half done!" When you buy fish or meat for bento, cut it up and stick it in small ziploc bags with a littlesalt or soy, sake and your choice of ginger/curry powder/yuzu-kosho/mustard/negi/shichimi etc. Pat dry and fry or grill, or make a nimono.

10) Use containers you like. I like bento boxes with separate lidded containers or drop-in boxes. I buy two or more the same, so I can sometimes have a ready-made item in its container in the fridge or freezer, ready to add to the bento box. Lidded containers mean that you can send fruit or desserts that you don't want to get mixed up with savory food, or sloppy dishes that would normally make the rice soggy, or leak.

P.S. Everybody hates making bento at some point, especially Friday and Monday mornings, but what I hate most is having a kid say at 10pm on Friday night that they need a bento by 6am the next morning. :angry: .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2) if you or your child have a bento and nobody misses their train, the bento was a success!

Helenjp, this had me laughing until I cried. I read your post with enthusiasm, as I'm going to start preparing bentos for myself and my husband in earnest next week. I'm facing some obstacles, though. My microwave and range can't be operated at the same time, as it causes an overload on the power and plummets my apartment-pod into darkness. I don't make fresh rice in the morning, since we don't have a rice cooker, and I draw the line at getting up more than 30 minutes early to make lunch. Right now, I'm zapping leftover rice from the night before, while relying on cold veg (not reheated, from the fridge) and cold boiled eggs or tamagoyaki made the night before and kept in the fridge as sides. So prep is basically: nuke rice, leave on table to cool while I make breakfast and shower, and then before I bolt out the door, I plop in the sides from the fridge. Should I be worried about food safety with this method? Any tips on being more efficient?

The other problem is that my husband, while enjoying Japanese food, considers neither rice nor leftovers from the previous night a satisfactory lunch. The leftovers are no problem - there's usually only enough for one anyway, and I can put those in my lunch. So I'll be making western-style bentos - sandwiches, and the like. Does anyone have any ideas? We don't have any thermoses, and they're not in the budget until after Christmas, nor do we have any facilities for heating up lunch. I was thinking cold chopped veggies, cheese and crackers, ploughman's lunch....?

Biggie, I've been following your blog for a couple of months now, and your ideas and photos inspired me to make the leap into my own bento-ing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nakji, since you mentioned that you use ice packs, when I have chicken salad or tuna salad sandwiches for lunch, I always pack my filling separately from the bread. Then at work I put the two together (along with tomatoes or cheese if I want them). That way nothing gets soggy, or if the bread gets squished, at least the filling won't get squished out.

My favourite is chicken salad blended with cranberry sauce, stuffed into a camembert-filled bun. Yum!

And hamburgers, even when cold, are pretty good! (all parts packed separately, of course!) Same with fried chicken! Would he even turn up his nose at cold fried chicken?

If you at least have a kettle, you can also do those instant soup things. Our school's store does brisk business in those. They're not just instant ramen, but also instant pastas, wonton soup, etc. I've never tried them, but my students eat them a lot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I was thinking about that. He really likes sandwiches, so I thought of putting in the meat and the cheese and bread individually, with little pots of mustard and some chopped raw veggies on the side. He also really likes meatballs, so maybe the makings of a meatball sandwich. He's not a big fan of mayo, though, so most salad sandwiches are out, but coleslaw might make a good side. What he really likes are stews, chilis, and homemade soups, so I may have to reassess the budget and look at getting him a thermos set.

He really likes fried chicken, and it's his dependence on local fast food chains (cough KFC cough) is what's got me looking at bentos for him. He never gains an ounce, damn him, but I do worry about all that salt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is it so hard to do...?

First you put a sauce in a cup or a plate, then squeeze the little container with your two fingers, and let the container suck the sauce.

Got it?

Thank you! That would never have occurred to me- I am not very mechanical.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One happy thing about Japan is that the supermarket versions of French bread always end up in the discount bin :biggrin: . They are not so great fresh, but they make good sandwiches in South/Latin American style - split them, pull out some bread if needed, sprinkle with the juice from cut tomatoes, tuna can, pickle juice, vinaigrette dressing, whatever, then load 'er up with green beans, french fries, tomato, onion, big hunk of deep-fried mackerel, meat, boiled eggs, mayo, whatever, batten down the hatches with a sturdy wrap of foil, grill if you like, and off you go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...