It's not very cute

Bento & lunch-packing talk that doesn't fit elsewhere

It's not very cute

Postby smoke » Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:29 pm

Joining this forum has made me realize how un-photogenic and simple my lunches tend to be. The biggest thing is that I'm hung up on large portions of a single food. A slice or scoop of casserole seems to have enough flavor to satisfy my husband, and covers all the food groups except for dessert. (I keep neglecting the sweet stuff, poor man.)

It seems out-of-place to pack a homemade answer to hamburger helper, then try to squeeze anything crunchy to the side. Flavor contrasts are also difficult, since most of the stuff is marinating in its own sauce, and the box is too small to accommodate good dividers.
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Re: It's not very cute

Postby Pangolin » Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:29 am

A lot of people use two boxes - a main box for their main food(s) and another smaller box, "sidecar" for fruits or extra things that don't fit in the first box or would be too hard to divide up. Since there are a lot of different kinds of boxes out there, there is almost always soemthing that will work - the Mr. & Ms. Bento from Zojirushi are excellent for dividing up a variety of things, including foods that are liquidy - it doesn't have the cutest presentation like other bento boxes, but it does keep the food contained and tasty.

My DH and I don't ahve very photogenic lunches either, which is why I don't post lots of pictures of them. Pasta salad or Indian curry look pretty much the same in any contianer. I also haul around trail mix with me everyday, but keep it in a aloksak rather than in my bento with other foods. We eat a lot of rice of sorts (regulatr long grain, basmati, sushi rice, and we've just tried brown rice as well) - so rice packed along with a meat in a sauce, or occasionally just a sandwich with pickles doesn't make for exciting photos.

All that said, posting at least a list of what went into the bento can be helpful for other members of the forum just getting started, to give them ideas or let them know that soemthing they didn't think might pack well really can be put into a bento.
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Re: It's not very cute

Postby RyeBlossom » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:03 pm

I pack lunch. I try to have a variety of colors, and keep it balanced nutrition wise. If I have an idea for something cute and have time to make it- that's great. If not- oh well. If the flavor combination is right, There's enough carbohydrates, protein and vegetables, and it's colorful, it's good enough for me. I don't think it *has* to be cute. I'd love to make cool looking stuff more often, but for now I'm fine with doing it when I get inspired.
I pack it usually in a 2 tier box, so I can have one for fruit and one for the rest of stuff. This way I don't have to worry much about dividing the food.

(I don't think it's so bad to pack lunches that are not cute, but don't tell the O'Bento police! :lol: )
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Re: It's not very cute

Postby elenacala » Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:54 pm

I still liek it when others psot pics even if its nto of cute bentos. Everyones bentos give me all sorts of new ideas of different things to pack. Without those ideas my diet would be boring. So I hope that you post your bento's even if they are not as cute as other bentos.
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Re: It's not very cute

Postby NoelFigart » Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:56 pm

The large portion of a single food does interfere with the aesthetics of a bento, yes.

The thing is, there are plenty of people in Japan that eat rice with curry that's nowhere near as photogenic as the meals made by many US bento hobbyists.

I do sometimes make "pretty" bento, but I'm just as likely to get a lot of color from different kinds of vegetables in my bento. One of the things I do when I have time on the weekends is to make a few recipes of casserole meals, but only baked in muffin tins. That keeps portion easily under control (in general, you can fit two "muffins" in the large container of the average Lube Sheep two-tier style box) and then you just stuff colorful veggies and fruit around it. It's not complex, but it is fairly pretty without having to go to much trouble.
For bento stuff http://noelfigart.com/blog/category/bento/
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Re: It's not very cute

Postby ScottishJill » Sun Mar 07, 2010 3:01 pm

none of my bentos would be described as particularly 'cute' but I think they look appetizing which is, hands down, the most important bit for me. I like to include as much colour as I can so 'm looking forward to lunch. I make a lot of things for the freezer and just have several very small portions (a couple of bites) in my bento, I feel more interested than just eating lots of the same thing and it makes it seem more appealing IMO.

Like Elena said though, even non-cute bento photos are a great source of inspiration for me... I'm always looking for new ideas esp for veggie side dishes.
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