Archive for the 'tips' Category
Bento lunches are starting to attract a lot of mainstream attention outside of Japan, with bentos appearing more often in the popular media, new bento books and classes, panels at anime and blogging conferences, new and active bento forums, and an explosion of bento blogs. Great news, right?
On a concerning note, I’ve started hearing from talented bento bloggers who have been approached by authors putting together bento books compiling photos and recipes by people in the bento community, but offering little to no compensation for their contributions. Now, it can be flattering and exciting to get attention like this for the first time, and being published does give you exposure and opens doors. But make sure you don’t underestimate your own worth when entering negotiations! Remember that you’re providing something of value that the book “author” and publisher will be making money from, so make sure you’re properly compensated and legally protected with a detailed contract. Don’t be exploited and regret it later — go in with your eyes open and make your own decisions about what you find acceptable.
A prominent bento blogger, whose work has appeared in numerous books and magazines, recently approached me about this issue and offers the following advice so others can benefit from her experiences. She wishes to remain anonymous so as to not alienate publishers she works with, but I know and respect her work. (Read on for her tips and mine on protecting your work online, tracking where your posts and photos are being used, and how to file effective legal complaints.)
Published by Biggie on May 8th, 2009 tagged admin, tips | 37 Comments »
One of my basic tips for preventing cut fruit from browning is to dip the fruit in acidulated water right before packing. This will slow the browning process, not halt it. This is great, but mixing up sweetened lemon water to my taste takes a minute or two in the morning that I’ve been looking to cut. Yes, I’m really that lazy! So I found a shortcut that works for me and cuts my morning prep time by a couple of minutes… (Read on for details, a link to vote in the Speed Bento Contest, and a bento comic!)
Published by Biggie on February 3rd, 2009 tagged tips | 28 Comments »
The weekend before Christmas we had one of Bug’s little friends over to the house for a holiday cookie party. No, not the kind of cookie party where each guest brings several dozen homemade cookies and you swap. The kind where the kids get messy baking and decorating their own cookies — aesthetics be damned.
Bug’s friend brought him a present of a kid’s robot apron from Old Navy that matched her own. I haven’t been into Old Navy recently, but these aren’t on their website now. I have seen a few of these robot aprons on Ebay, and a number of other fun kids’ aprons on Amazon.
The first year I made holiday cookies with Bug, I wore myself out. I made too many different kinds of cookies and tried to decorate every cookie just so. That level of baking frenzy was fine when it was just me in the kitchen, but now it’s just a recipe for frustration with a four-year-old who wants in on the action. Learn from my mistakes and don’t bite off more than you can chew when you have little helpers! (Read on for my tips on how to host a manageable Kids’ Holiday Cookie Party.) Read the rest of this entry »
Published by Biggie on December 30th, 2008 tagged decorative, for kids, parenthacks, tips | 11 Comments »
Teaching kids how to use chopsticks can be tricky. Bug has used a variety of different learning chopsticks that I picked up in local Asian markets, but this weekend I came across a cheap and ingenious workaround that uses regular disposable chopsticks, the paper chopstick wrapper, and a rubber band. A tip of the hat goes to Sushi to Dai For restaurant in San Rafael, CA, where I saw this trick (their omakase sushi special is, indeed, to die for).
To make these, pull apart disposable chopsticks or use regular reusable ones with rectangular ends that will stay securely together. Use a rubber band to tightly bind together the non-eating ends. Take a small strip of paper or half of the wrapper from the disposable chopsticks, and fold it up small. Wedge it in between the chopsticks up near the rubber band, and hand them to your child! Kids can just squeeze the chopsticks together to grab things, and the tips are aligned properly. (Read on for additional tricks for making these, reviews of Edison learning chopsticks and the Fun Chop chopstick learning gadget, and where to see me on TV this morning.)
Published by Biggie on November 24th, 2008 tagged equipment, for kids, glutenfree, parenthacks, review, rice, tips, tutorial or how to | 35 Comments »
Bento lunch cookbooks can be challenging to put together. Should they focus more on standalone recipes or an arrangement of full lunches? Decorative food or speed? Bento lunch principles or practice? Japanese-language bento cookbooks are often highly visual, with color photos on each page that both stimulate and inspire the reader while informing them of how-to steps at a glance.
Up to now, I haven’t seen books in English that capture the spirit of a Japanese cookbook for children’s fun bento lunches, making Hawaii’s Bento Box Cookbook: Fun Lunches for Kids the first example to date. (Read on for the full book review.)