Tuesday, June 21, 2011


B: So, is your mom Japanese?
My kids: Uh, no ... and you've met our mom before, remember?
B: Well, she keeps making all these bentos, so I just wondered.

Monday the kids each took basically the same thing -- mini-burgers, cheese flowers, veggies, grapes plus blueberries (on sale for a really good price last week), rice.

The rice has a face because when I asked Thalia what she wanted in a bento (as opposed to a plain ol' sack lunch) she said, "food with faces on it." Which certainly wasn't the answer I was expecting.

The mini-burgers were based on the Idea from The Just Bento Cookbook by Makiko Itoh, which suggested that they be made more like little meatloafs, with bread crumbs and egg, since that way they wouldn't be so tough and dry when they were served room temperature. She also suggested that they could be wrapped in bacon and fried up that way, so we tried that for Annabeth's:

She said it was really sort of disturbing when it came time to eat them. But it was pretty easy to just take the bacon off and eat the burger plain. Both kids had a side container of Ranch dip.

On Tuesdays they are allowed to bring peanuts and tree nuts into the building (those are outlawed on MWF due to allergies of another student in the building those days). Annabeth wanted an almond-butter-and-jelly sandwich, so I made a couple out of thin sliced bread, then cut them into butterflies. Down below on the "ground" are tulips made out of hotdogs, skewered with cucumber leaves, and a couple of apple-slice bunnies nestled in lettuce leaves. Some grapes and grape tomatoes fill in some of the gaps. A garden theme.

Thalia wanted something more exotic, so she selected a box pretty much straight out of the Just Bento cookbook:

Soba noodles with nori strip garnish; also toasted sesame seeds and snipped green onion for garnish (I put these in Saran wrap because I didn't have any appropriate little containers). A hardboiled egg -- first time I tried cutting one so fancy, which was sort of fun (she was supposed to do it herself this morning, but by the time everyone got showered and dressed I'd already done it -- Annabeth was covered in paint from painting sets yesterday, and it's held up to repeated showers and scrubbing). Slaw of cabbage and crab. Grape tomatoes. An extra apple bunny (I wrapped this in Saran wrap also since I didn't trust the slaw to keep to itself during travel). A side container of dipping sauce made from dashi stock and kaeshi. THIS was the type of thing I expected her to ask for -- she's more adventurous about food than Annabeth. But they're both trying new things this week, so that's great.


Bridgett said...

Ok, so how do you cut the seaweed so precisely? That's what I can't seem to get right. Maybe I have bad seaweed. These are wonderful.

Gail said...

The little hearts were done with a punch I got at Animeggroll. It looks like something you'd use for scrapbooking, and I'm pretty sure you can buy paper punches and dedicate them to nori cutting. The nori is about the consistency of paper.

The straight lines were just with a pair of scissors I keep for snipping up food -- the same ones I use to snip chives.