A quick how-to: The furoshiki purse-tie
Whether you’re using a lovely silk concoction or a simple square cotton bandanna, furoshiki are really handy. They’re great for carrying bento because they can serve so many other purposes as well: a placemat, for example, or a napkin.
The Japanese Minister of the Environment recognizes the furoshiki as ideal for helping to minimize the waste of plastic bags. A wonderful illustrated guide to possible uses can be found here.
I’ve always tied my furoshiki a different way, in what I call the “purse tie”. Nope, that’s not the official name. It’s one I made up in my head and that’s worked for me so far. All that matters to me is that it keeps my bento snug and steady, transports easily with a convenient handle for carrying, and can be popped right into the fridge without taking up a lot of room. Some people have asked for a photo-tutorial on how to do it, and it’s really easy, so here you go.
First, spread the furoshiki out flat on a table. If you’re using a piece of cloth that only has one printed side, place it printed side down. Your napkin (if you’re not using an oshibori in a case) goes on the bottom middle, followed by the flattest object (usually the bento box). This ensures that it won’t be doing much sliding around. Rounded objects (fruit, drinks, oshibori and hashi cases, and rounded ice packs) are stacked above.
Pick up the bottom-left and top-right corners and bring them together.
Tie snugly (I double-knot). Hold the rounded objects steady if you need to.
Bring up the remaining two sides, tucking loose fabric toward the middle so that there are no gaps.
Slide your hands upward and leave enough space to form the handle. Double knot the ends firmly. And that’s all there is to it!
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