Bento without the Gear

A bento made with whatever I could scrounge in the kitchen
A bento made with whatever I could scrounge in the kitchen

To make a point, I wanted to make a bento that:

A)     Did not use a specialty bento box.

B)      Only used what I had on hand in the house and,

C)      Did not use any specialty bento-making equipment.

So, basically, I tried to make a bento based on what one can reasonably find in a kitchen.  Cookie cutters that I’d owned 15 years were arbitrarily deemed okay, but vegetable cutters bought for bento purposes were not.  I decided that I wouldn’t even use an Onigiri mold.

The container is a 2C (550ml to those of you across the Pond) flat Rubbermaid container that I think was meant to be a sandwich container.  This is more or less a standard volume for any Japanese bento you’ll buy.

As it happened, I did not use any sort of cutters.  This was an interesting challenge, because I’m getting low on veggies and fruits, and I wanted to make it out of stuff I ordinarily had in the house.  I decided that for the sake of the experiment, I would not go grocery shopping for anything, but use what I had in the kitchen.  I really frowned over how to make the fishies when I realized that giving the impression of fishie was plenty.  Detail wasn’t important, only impression and contrast.

So, the rice is regular rice only with blue food coloring added to the water while cooking.  It tastes like rice.  The fishies are grape tomatoes.  The seaweed is lettuce, the rocks are stir-fried chicken breast and the orange things that I don’t know what they should represent are carrots.  I added some chopped cucumber for a little more green.

This is also a million times fancier than anything I ordinarily do and was still a bit off-the-cuff.  I’ve seen seascapes that would blow your mind.  It’s just that I didn’t want to spend more than 20 minutes on it, so this is what I did.  But notice that with a small time investment, you can make some incredibly cute bento without spending extra money on all the “cute” stuff.  The container was a flipping 2 cup sandwich style container, for heaven’s sake!

The Furoshiki is a bandana I had lying around from the last CampCon
The Furoshiki is a bandana I had lying around from the last CampCon

Notice that I didn’t use anything special for the wrap, either.  It’s just a bandana I had lying around, as well as the chopsticks I’ve had since forevah.

I commented I didn’t use any specialty bento gear and my son gave me an odd look and said, “I thought your bento gear was your brain.”

Why yes, I am proud of my son!  Even if he didn’t want this bento for his school lunch.

2 Replies to “Bento without the Gear”

  1. Hi I am pleased that you are showing that you DO NOT NEED to spend extra money to have a highly satisfying and enjoyable hobby, bento making!I recently got into bento making (in January) and I have shown marvellous restraint in that I haven’t yet bought any special Bento Gear! i use cling film (Saran wrap) to mold my rice into shapes and like you, I have cookie cutters that I’ve collected over the years anyway. I still have not bought a “cute bento box” though I do WANT to! and i want an egg mold, and some adorable food picks… I want the lot. BUT you can make some impressive bentos without all that, as you have proven! :o)

  2. I took a look at your site. My word, you do some impressive bento. Love the aliens! That’s fancier than anything I do, and quite amazing.

    Keep up the amazing bento.

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