Block lunchbox battles with bento
My 5 year old just loved this "monster sandwich" I made him last week. It's just the same old PB&J I always make, only cut on a funky angle and sporting two eyeballs made of grapes skewered by toothpicks. Don't be hating on me as one of those crafty Mommas. I am so not that. But you can't do an article on people who make bento lunches without being affected while packing lunches.
Bento, if you aren't lucky enough to have a Japanese restaurant nearby, is the original Lunchable, a boxed lunch of rice, protein and veggies packed in an easy-to-tote carrier and crafted beautifully by proud cooks. Mommas of finicky eaters have discovered bento is a great way to get their kids to try new things and eat more fruits and veggies. I'm sure the offerings of a food artist like Flickr's famous Sakurako Kitsa, whose "I am the Eggman" lunch is shown here at left, would be a good way to distract them.
I don't see myself running out to buy a Laptop Lunch system just yet, but I have been affected by the cooks I interviewed for that story. For one thing, I now use a sandwich box instead of a baggie because it saves money and saves the bread. As bento blogger Deborah Hamilton told me "I don't like squished bread." I also picked up some tiny square boxes that are perfect for ketchup, dips and nuts. You can get a bag of 10 of them at the dollar store. And I tried a few tricks like skewering cheese cubes and grapes or a line of edamame (soybeans) on a stick. The cheese and grapes were a hit, the edamame, not so much. But I'll try again.
I also have an issue with stuff not coming home again, which is why I've been going with the dollar store on these things. But Hamilton has a good post today on six ways to make sure your lunch gear comes home.
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne