I’ve gotten back into making bento after letting the hobby drop for awhile. I tell myself it’s because I’m worried my guys won’t eat healthy lunches unless I make them. But when it’s just grabbing a little package out of the fridge, they’ll eat what I make fairly happily.
Partially, it’s selfish. When I’m busy during the day, if I have a bento made for myself, I’ll eat a proper lunch. If I don’t, I snack and munch and don’t get a really good nutritional balance.
However, the preference for actually having a bento has gotten pretty strong. When I was ill with a cold earlier in the week, the man of the house actually made a bento for himself and our son for the next day.
I was reading a comment on a bento blog where someone was asking why in the world there was this hype about bento. Packed lunches aren’t new! (For that matter, neither are bento, but the person making the comment didn’t mention that).
I responded that it’s a hobby. Maybe you love knitting. You can buy a sweater in a store for a lot less trouble than knitting one. Maybe you like sport fishing. You can get fish much cheaper in the market. (My brother often jokes about the $100/lb tuna you get from deep sea fishing). Knitting and fishing are even older practices than bento!
It’s just a hobby. You put food in a box and make it pretty. It’s fun. I’ve noticed a tendency, when one has an obsessive hobby, to talk about how good for you said hobby is. Being out on the water lowers your blood pressure when you’re fishing. Knitting is supposed to be as calming as yoga. A well-designed bento is a healthy meal. All these things are true, but lets be honest. These things might have positive benefits, but I think that “because it’s fun” might play a serious part in why we do them.