Sunday, July 25, 2010

What on Earth is a bento?

Lately I've been reading a lot of blogs with healthy recipes, and I kept hearing about bento lunches. I'd never heard of a bento, so I looked it up. A bento lunch is a small, traditional Japanese lunch served in small boxes. When they're for children, some moms go crazy and decorate all of the food to make it fun. I don't have a kid in school, but I thought that it might be neat to get a bento set, just for fun. So I went to ebay and bought a bento kit.

It was smaller than I thought, but very cute, what with the little bananas and all. But the saying printed on the case made me crack up. You can tell it was (badly) translated. I love it!

This translation is perfect for one of my favorite sites, Engrish Funny, which shows examples of bad translations around the world. I think I'm going to send it in. I love showing these examples to my students, especially when they know the language. That way they can tell me why it was mistranslated. It makes them feel really smart.

So here is my very first bento box lunch. I had a spinach salad with a hard boiled egg, red and yellow peppers, and croutons. I didn't want the pieces to get soggy, so I put tomatoes, cucumbers, and blueberries in the other box. I used those silicone baking cups to separate the ingredients. Best of all, my bento set came with chopsticks. I love eating with chopsticks, though I'm probably only as good with them as a Japanese five-year-old. For some reason, they make eating anything more interesting. They certainly make me more conscious of what I'm putting into my mouth.

I brought my bento lunch to summer school with me last week, and all of my students were fascinated with it. They said things like, "Wow, that looks really yummy!" And this from kids who often eat nothing but cheetos and chocolate milk. I thought it was great that they were interested in my healthy food, but I think the special packaging was a part of it.

Nick went crazy for the chopsticks. He walked all over the house with them. I think it might be a few years before he can eat with chopsticks, but I definitely want to try bento boxes for him when he goes to preschool and elementary school. I might even try the more complicated ones and make Nick's eggs into little animals.


  1. that is exactly the right size lunch for your tummy! lol...i think I would still be hungry if they are as small as they look. but maybe that is the point.

  2. I actually had it around 10:30 a.m., so it was a kind of a mini-meal. I've been trying to have lots of little meals. Plus, if I have a nice, healthy mini-meal, then I don't feel so guilty later on when I eat something naughty.

  3. I bought a bento lunch box too but found it too small. I then found out about laptop lunches and love mine! I'd google them, same concept, different approach.

    Your lunch looks great!

  4. Those are neat! I have seen them before but never bought one! The lil guy is so adorable! I hope you and Trina have a great visit! Im jealous not to hang out with you both