My husband just had a medical checkup and the doctor says not only is he in fantastic health, he is healthier than he was ten years ago. Being a very kindly and appreciative partner, this is being credited to the fact I make bento for his lunches. Now, you know how I laugh at the whole And It’s GOOD for You, Too! attitude towards hobbies, but I found that cute.
So, today’s magic, immortality-granting bento is pasta, chicken drumstick and some veggies. No fruit, because I’ve been lazy and haven’t been shopping.
But that thing about not having been shopping? That’s something that has a lot to do with how I approach the whole bento aesthetic.
Sure, you can have the perfect containers, and make the perfect recipes and make some perfectly beautiful food art. I’ve done some cute food art myself — piggie onigiri, seascapes and all kinds of stuff. It’s fun.
But even non-perfect can be kinda cool, if you put a little thought into presentation. Again, I used Gladware containers to make these bento. In addition, a lot of the bento included leftovers. Yes, I paid attention to color and presentation, but these meals were not planned. They were put together with what I have on hand. Yes, I regularly have fresh veggies on hand, but so should anyone if they can swing it.
I’ve been presenting these to show that while yes, the cute Japanese boxes are fun, and making Japanese food for your bento is also fun (Onigiri are awesome), Gladware and Western-style food works just fine. If you want to make bento, you’re really only limited by your imagination, not your pocketbook.
I’m not the only one who seems to have given up on the cute little boxes without having given up on bento, though. Many people on the Lunchinabox forums have bemoaned the expense of the well-sealed, sturdy, microwavable bento-specific box and are turning to Rubbermaid, Tupperware and especially Lock-n-lock boxes. They’re not as pretty, but they’re sturdier and cheaper.