The Bento bug has bitten and it’s baaaaaad.
I’m not sure what it is about me and “projects,” but I am always becoming obsessed with something. When I was pregnant, it was the search for the perfect Diaper Bag. This summer, I spent hours looking up living room makeovers, trying to find show-stopping examples to show Hubby (fyi, it worked — he finally gave the ok to redo ours).
This past month, my obsession has centered around “The Bento Lunch.”
Bento (弁当, bentō?) is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container.
Or . . . in other words:
Isn’t it flippin’ A-DORABLE? And there are moms, like Susan (who, incidentally, authored the Hawaiian Bento Box Cookbook), who make lunches like this EVERY SINGLE DAY.
But, and here’s the beauty of Bento lunches, not every Bento box lunch has to be an elaborate work of art (althought, those are the most fun). It’s the “single-container/single-portion” aspect of the Bento lunch that is most important . . . which is why you can have a Bento lunch like this:
After spending hours and days pouring over Bento-focused Blogs, I decided I was going to just do it. I, Rachel — Mommy to the Little Lady and Mr. Boy — was going to access her hidden culinary creativity and make a Bento lunch.
Oh . . . the optimism.
Last Sunday, whilst at my parents’ home in Oklahoma, I purchased the food supplies and begged a few cookie cutters off of my cake-decorating-professional sister.
I even had a theme in mind. . . . “In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle, the Lion Sleeps Tonight.”
(take a moment and sing it to yourself if you must — and you know you really must)
I was ready.
Cookie cutters in hand, I went to town chopping, slicing and violently cutting graceful stars out of cheese and pears. I wouldn’t let anyone talk to me . . . I was in the zone.
The result? The world’s saddest lion stuck in a box.
There is nothing cute or cheerful about this lion — somehow, the cookie cutter shapes I chose to make this lion did nothing but make the most pathetic, miserable little guy.
Of course, the Little Lady thought it was fun and scarfed it all down, starting with his eyes . . . for which I was grateful because I couldn’t bear his accusatory gaze any longer.
Today’s Bento, which we’ll be eating at our local park since Houston is FINALLY cooling off, is much simpler.
This time, I was much smarter . . . . there are no little eyes to look up at me . . . no reason to feel guilty for feeding my daughter something cute.