Easy Bento with EasyLunchboxes

Before creating EasyLunchboxes, I confess – I didn’t know what a Bento box was. I was therefore unaware that meals presented in Bento lunch boxes make (healthier) smaller portions appear refreshingly satisfying. I especially applaud the moms and/or dads (but I suspect mostly moms) who turn Bento box lunches into an art form (called Kyaraben) spending hours sculpting rice balls, sandwiches, fruits, and vegetables into cute animals and other clever shapes – bringing a smile to their childrens’ faces at lunch time. If only I had the time to get that creative [sigh]. It reminds me of the scrapbooking craze.  I got slightly swept up in that, but simply couldn’t devote entire days to cutting and pasting (not to mention entire rooms in my home to costly scrapbooking supplies.)  So I turned to digital scrapbooking on my computer which lets me create family photo keepsakes in a fraction of the time, space, and investment.

But as soon as my EasyLunchboxes hit the market, I started getting orders from folks who told me they were thrilled to use my 3-compartment, 2- piece containers as an ‘easier’ Bento! (“Huh?” I said, but thanks to Google I quickly got up to speed!)

So now I’m hooked on looking at all the creative bento meals I see posted all over the internet. Flickr has entire groups devoted to the sharing of these pictorial food creations, not to mention the many personal blogs that show an abundance of these diminutive tasty treasures. And now Pinterest is full of bento meals packed in EasyLunchboxes

Here’s one. Too cute to eat?

Crabby Lunchbox by BentoLunch.net

photo credit:  Shannon of BentoLunch.net

Shopping in the Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles, I recently admired the enormous selection of Bento boxes which, these days, come in many styles and are made of various types of material. (I was fascinated to learn that the beautiful lacquerware version has been used as a lunch-box in Japan since the 1600’s.)

Here’s one my friend Guerin showed me that’s made out of aluminum. It was passed down to his wife Toni from her grandmother, and  is about 100 years old. The aluminum boxes were considered quite a luxury then!

Don’t you just love the little compartment in the flowered lid for storing the chopsticks? (That’s not a 100 year old tea bag by the way. I just put it in there so you could judge the size of the box in relation to it.) This box doesn’t hold much to eat (by today’s gastronormous Super Size standards), but it makes me think about sushi restaurants where you don’t have to eat very much to feel satisfied. A traditional Bento Box lunch contains a well-balanced distribution of carbs, protein and vegetables (the 3 sections in the EasyLunchbox container will do that too!) plus contain a small treat, usually pickles, fruits or sweets.

The term bento is also used quite often simply in reference to the compartmentalized box used to pack a lunch, or any meal for that matter. Today’s bento bloggers typically pack all kinds of things in the containers they use, often varying from the “rules” regarding carbs/protein/veggies, depending upon their particular tastes or dietary needs.

photo credit: go Mama go

It really is easy to Bento with EasyLunchboxes!  Just don’t ask me to make a turkey and cheese penguin. Unless you wanna show me how first.