We’ve got a winner in the Kids Konserve metal lunch kit giveaway (see my full review), and some additional giveaways around the bento community. If you didn’t win this one, the company is giving away another of their metal lunch kits for Earth Day on April 22nd, 2009. Comment on their blog post for a chance to win.
Congratulations go to reader Cyntilla in Italy (comment #278), who would pack a double-layer ham & cheese sandwich with crispy lettuce and corn salad, a fruit salad (strawberries, apple and kiwi) in one container, some meat and veg stir-fry in the other, and mint white tea in the drink bottle. Cyntilla, I’ll be in touch to get your shipping address for Kids Konserve to send your kit.
In other news, I was in a Sacramento Bee feature article the other week about bento lunches (”Bring Your Own Lunch“), and filmed a seven-minute video about making speed bentos (it’s on the online article). We filmed it in their kitchen studio in Sacramento, which took almost four hours plus drive time — we were so hungry by the end that Gina, the cameraman and I devoured everything I made right after the shoot. Still, it was the first time I’d done non-live video for bento stuff, which was a really interesting experience. Thanks, guys! Lunch in a Box was also featured on iVillage.com’s parenting site, in a slideshow called “The Rules of Bento”.
Other Bento Giveaways: (taken from the bento contest announcement section of the Lunch in a Box Forum)
- Two Ichiban Kan bento kits from Mission: Vegan (deadline April 22, 2009, open to all)
- Ichiban Kan bento starter kit from Maisie Eats Bento (deadline April 5, 2009, open only to people with blogs)
- How to care for your lunch gear and other bento supplies
- Lunch in a Box Forum: Bento community contests and giveaways (publicize your own giveaway here)
- All giveaway posts on Lunch in a Box
- Bento FAQ and Biggie’s list of top speed tips, tutorials and reviews
April 3rd, 2009 | Categories: equipment, giveaway | Print This Post | Email this post | 283 Comments »
On Saturday we hosted a hanami, the Japanese tradition of a picnic under cherry trees when they’re in bloom. Sakura cherry trees blossom only during a brief time during the spring and the pink petals soon fall from the trees, so there’s an urgency to enjoying that ephemeral moment when they’re at their peak. In Japan, you’ll find all kinds of people crowding onto blankets under cherry trees even on busy sidewalks, sprawling out with bento meals, and beer or sake. For our California Hanami, we invited friends to our favorite hanami location in San Francisco, a small clearing of cherry trees in Golden Gate Park across from the Buffalo Paddock. The only thing that was missing were drunk Japanese salarymen in suits trying out their English!
Foodbuzz sponsored the food as a part of their monthly 24, 24, 24 food blogging event, so we were able to put together the most elaborate hanami picnic I’ve had to date, instead of store-bought bentos or quickly slapped-together sandwiches. I always used to envy the well organized people at hanami who were able to cook meat or chicken on little portable grills — if you were lucky they might strike up a conversation with you and offer you a bite of their tasty food. I decided that this was the year that we would have the great-smelling grilled feast.
Food: We had a variety of marinated meats to grill: chicken thighs, marinated beef short ribs (kalbi), skewered bulgogi beef, and spicy pork sliced thin and skewered. Vegetables like enoki mushrooms and bell pepper strips went on the grill, while salad vegetables like cucumbers, baby carrots and celery were easy to dip in ranch dressing. Rice balls are good finger food, so I made a variety with different fillings: grilled salmon, umeboshi sour plum, Gohan Desu Yo! seaweed paste, kimchi, and plain furikake. Seasoned noodles, sliced ripe strawberries, tiny tangerines, beer and a big bottle of Onigoroshi sake rounded out our little feast. (Read on for food details and reviews of the different picnic containers.) Read the rest of this entry »
March 30th, 2009 | Categories: Containers, bento, equipment, for kids, meat, onigiri or sushi, review, rice | Print This Post | Email this post | 750 Comments »
Like the look of a stylish metal lunch set but don’t want to plunk down the cash? Kids Konserve has kindly offered to give away a lunch kit and metal condiment container that I reviewed in full here. The winner of this international giveaway can choose between their classic green set, or one of the cute butterfly- or caterpillar-themed lunch sets.
Bonus: If you don’t win the giveaway and want to order something on your own, they’ve also given Lunch in a Box readers a special 10% discount off items purchased from their website through September 30, 2009 (coupon code is lunchbox). (Read on for information on how to enter the giveaway, and other March bento community giveaways.) Read the rest of this entry »
March 27th, 2009 | Categories: equipment, giveaway | Print This Post | Email this post | 532 Comments »
I know some of you are looking for alternatives to plastic bento boxes because of concerns about the health effects of food packed or heated in plastic, so I’ve been playing around with metal bento containers. Most multi-tier latching tiffin tins are plain-looking and too big for a one-person bento-style lunch, so I was pleased to find a smaller metal alternative with a dash of style, from Kids Konserve.
I tried out their green lunch set, which consists of a cloth napkin/placemat, two 250ml stainless steel bowls with green plastic lids, a drink bottle, a reusable sandwich wrapper, and a cloth carrying bag with handles and a velcro closure (shown below). I was also curious about their smaller, all-metal 80ml condiment containers, pictured above at the bottom/middle. I had a few questions and concerns going in, namely about how watertight the containers were and how well the sandwich wrapper would work. (Read on for the full review and a sample lunch packed inside.) Read the rest of this entry »
March 25th, 2009 | Categories: bento, equipment, fish or seafood, for kids, meat, phyllo or pancake or other, review | Print This Post | Email this post | 1,030 Comments »
The Lunch in a Box reader forum is going gangbusters, with over 3,000 posts a couple of months in. A few recent highlights:
- A step-by-step cheese character tutorial that PikaMama originally wrote for her bento blog, detailing how to make ornate characters out of sliced cheese and food markers (shown above). Thanks for sharing!
- The new “What did you pack your kid today?” thread, where we’re jotting down what we packed for our children’s lunches that day, along with a note of how old the child is. Photos aren’t necessary (but welcome if you have them); it’s more of a place to get quick ideas for kid-friendly lunches.
- We’re also discussing the social impacts of giving your kids bento; have you seen any interesting reactions with your own children?
Bento of the Month Contest: Cost
Congratulations go to Laura Bento, the winner of the second Bento of the Month contest on the Lunch in a Box Forum. Readers voted hers the best representative of the “Valentine” theme, and she will receive the Putifresh bento box set courtesy of Lethargic. Thanks to everyone who took the time to post your speedy bento lunches; it was interesting to read through the entries and see your cute Valentine-themed lunches.
The theme of the Bento of the Month Contest for March is “Cost: How Low Can You Go?”. I’m thinking of Japanese bento cookbooks I have that use sale items, cheap veggies, and staple foods to put together a cheap but balanced and tasty lunch. All containers are welcome (Laptop Lunchbox, Tupperware-type containers, thermal lunch jars, sandwich cases, etc.), not just bento boxes. (Read on for contest and prize details.) Read the rest of this entry »