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Bentos (2003-2008)


torakris
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I thought I would add some photos of the bento I made for lunch today. It's not very good, but it was my first try. I have a little tiny bento box, which I think is for little kids - it has Nyago on it. This is the outside:

40731228_bb1f5e3445.jpg

Inside I have some rice, which I totally messed up (too much water, not enough rinsing), with some nori on top. Also salmon, pan-fried onions, carrots, and the kyuuri no kyu-chan from Hiroyuki's recipe - these are delicious! The picture doesn't look very good, though.

40731227_fa68d0a911.jpg

Jennie

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  The picture doesn't look very good, though.

As long as it tastes good... :biggrin:

My nine year old daughter was just looking over my shoulder and commented that it looked delicious! So now you have the Japanese kid stamp of approval, congratulations!

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Woohoo! Thanks :biggrin:

I just sauteed the salmon. I used some Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning (a commercial spice blend) and cooked it in the same pan I had used for the onions. I admit this is my fallback easy-to-prepare meal.

I think tomorrow I am going to make omuraisu for my bento :blink: I've never had it but it actually sounds pretty good.

Jennie

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  • 3 weeks later...

That's a model bento, Torakris!

Out of curiosity...which were the most popular items when people actually sat down to eat?

(I'm secretly pleased that I missed the undokai bento routine this year, but I'm paying for it - son missed the school lunch order, so I have two weeks' of teen-sized bento to make instead...)

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Here's a question about the actual containers people are using. In particular, I want to know how good their seal is.

I've been giving my husband a bento (mostly consisting of leftovers :hmmm: ) for years. Since we came to Germany, where I bought new plastic containers, he's been complaining that the containers leak and so it's a problem every time he's carrying anything with even the tiniest trace of liquid.

I accused him of probably hurling the containers around with great force as soon as I'm not looking :rolleyes::wink: , but he says he's been handling them carefully. He does have to commute on the subway, so clearly there will be more jostling than placing them on the passenger seat on the car...

Then, upthread, I read that Torakris is even giving soup to her husband, and I'm thinking: how can she do that??!! I can't even manage with giving solid food.

So, if you are happy with the seal of your containers: what brands of containers are you using, where did you buy them, and how much liquid is there in the contents you are packing in them? Is it perhaps the case that all the brands in Japan are actually okay as far as leakage is concerned? (I don't recall leaking ever being a problem when I lived in Japan earlier).

Recommendations for Japanese brands in Japan are fine, we're meant to be visiting later this year, and if I learn of a brand that will suit my purposes, I'll buy them then.

TIA.

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yesterday we had the elementary school undokai (sports day), the bento:

Those look really good.

Reading this thread has my curiosity up so, I guess I will need to find a Bento box and do some experimenting.

Canned soups and sandwiches at work are boring. This thread has me thinking I should give it a try and eat something healthy for a change. The 3:1:2 rule and the box size rules seem to be a useful addition to my meal planning. While I am not overweight, I generally over eat because I eat the entire "cans" worth of soup or beans which can be anywhere from 2 to 3 servings.

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That's a model bento, Torakris!

Out of curiosity...which were the most popular items when people actually sat down to eat?

definitely the teriyaki chicken! the kids also love teh kochujang-miso dip for the vegetables and I reserve this dish for family bento days only so it is sort of a special treat. We had no leftovers.

While we were eating I was looking around and no one had a bento anywhere near the size of ours... Most families had just one layer and a bag for some onigiri. :unsure:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Here's a question about the actual containers people are using. In particular, I want to know how good their seal is.

Then, upthread, I read that Torakris is even giving soup to her husband, and I'm thinking: how can she do that??!! I can't even manage with giving solid food.

TIA.

anzu,

this is the kind of bento my husband uses (sorry for the bad picture)

gallery_6134_184_1097015198.jpg

it has three parts, one for soup, one for rice and one for the okazu (side dishes?) it is all put into an insulated container to keep it warm.

These can be pretty bulky, mine is probably the largest size available. They can be found at stores all over Japan.

The bentos I use for my kids I have never had leak problems with、I just looked at the bottom of the bentos and they are manufactured by OSK. Their homepage.

I also go through quite a few paper towels when putting together the bentos so as to get as much water/liquid off as possible.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Skater brand bento boxes have been my husband's favorite for 10 years or so. The small lift-out containers can be reheated separately and also stop liquid from soaking everything else. You can also buy replacement packing strips which fit inside the lid to create a really good seal. I've never had anything leak from those boxes.

However, I have had things leak from plastic lunchboxes bought overseas...but old-fashioned Japanese bento boxes weren't totally airtight either, and some people say that the airtight ones are more likely to result in food poisoning because they prevent the contents from cooling.

I second Torakris' suggestion of paper towels - everything sits on them for a little while before being packed into the lunch box, even items with dressing which will then go into a foil cup.

Another handy thing for cooling and draining boiled vegetables is a bamboo "seiro" drainer - it not only drains moisture, the bamboo also absorbs moisture from the vegetables. You can also use those roll-up bamboo mats used for rolling sushi. I save the small ones that occasionally come with other foods, as they are a handy size and even better than paper towels for squeezing spinach, draining omelets or boiled beans etc. etc.

Edited by helenjp (log)
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As you can easily see, aluminum bento boxes, like the ones shown below, are prone to leak. Plastic ones with a sealing ring, like the one shown below, are free from this problem.

gallery_16375_5_1094811973.jpg

One of the things to bear in mind in making a bento is to cool any hot foods before packing.

I found this useful webpage:

http://www.gcn-osaka.jp/child/cc04-03-01.html

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I've been eyeballing bento sets like the one Torakris's husband has for my 8 year old to take to school in the winter. He can't eat the school lunches, and occasionally likes to have a hot lunch on a cold day.

I've found the following here in the US.

The Zojirushi Bento Series

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/brows...7298251-6168132

similar item made by Thermos

http://thermos.smartermall.com/product.asp?sku=1917730

What I have for him now

http://thermos.smartermall.com/product.asp?sku=1917913

Cheryl

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I succumbed today and bought this thermos lunch jar by Zojirushi, though certainly not at the price given in the link!

It'll go to school with son1 tomorrow, but the main aim is to provide my sons with a quick hot dinner on the increasing number of days when we are all coming in and out of the house on different schedules.

However, I now have to change my thinking - from bentos which taste good and don't get hard when cold, to things which don't become sludgy in texture or dull in color when kept hot for several hours!

P.S. These looked like a good compromise - they would be a good size for an 8-10 year old! I thought they were easier to manage than pulling out the stacked containers in the thermos type. They are also a bit lighter than the type I bought, because only the round "rice" jar is insulated - the other small containers are not insulated, though everything goes into an insulated carry-sack, so they won't get stone-cold, but on the other hand, they make it easy to include things like fruit. I saw the Tiger one and a couple of other brands (which had very slightly larger side-dish containers. Some came with a fork).

Edited by helenjp (log)
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Snoopy thermos lunch set (Tiger)

Ladies thermos lunch set (Tiger)

The Thermos jar lunch set I bought...

Incredibly cool Japanesque Thermos jar lunch set

These are on the Amazon Japan site (scroll down to the bottom of the Amazon US or UK sites and you'll find a link to it. You can select "English", which allows you to view the search and order pages in English, but the individual product pages are in Japanese, so it's most useful for ordering things you already know about. Also, you will find more departments in the scroll-down box by the Search Button than in the "Browse Departments" guide below. You may have to fiddle around to find an English word that actually hits a live nerve - I got nothing searching in the Home and Kitchen sections for "bento" or "lunchbox" but "lunch" and the brandnames "Thermos" and "Tiger" brought up stuff (have to wade around a bit though),

Edited by helenjp (log)
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The simplest of simple bentos

gallery_6134_1003_34147.jpg

this was for my 4 year old son.

this is how it gets packed

gallery_6134_1003_540.jpg

sorry for the blurry picture, the bento gets placed into a bento bag and on top of that is placed a luncheon mat (this is spread onto the table and the bento is eaten on top of it). There is also a tissue (for wiping the mouth) and chopsticks (in a case).

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
...These are pictures of bentos made lovingly my the mothers of kindergarten children...

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

eww, these bentos are so creepy and so cute at the same time:

click the right arrow to go Next... :smile:

the person wrote haikus to go along with the images... :biggrin::laugh:

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

--Isak Dinesen

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