German Teen Blogging Her First Bento Attempts (with photos!)

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German Teen Blogging Her First Bento Attempts (with photos!)

Postby Anoulie » Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:39 am

Hi everyone,

I'm Katie, 17, live in Germany, and I'm going to tell you about my first attempts at "lunch in a box", or bento.

I started reading about bento on lunchinabox.net and justbento.com just yesterday, and I'm not embarrassed to admit I spent hours reading every single post and browsing bento stores online :oops: Okay, maybe a little.

So I thought this was a great way of taking food with me - especially since I'm on No S - when I know I won't get home until late in the afternoon, but unfortunately, I'm never home later than 4:20 pm or so, so that's when I have lunch (you may think that's late, but it's common for seniors in Gernany to just bring their own breakfast to school and eat it there, and not have lunch until they get home in the afternoon). But I just remembered that this semester's schedule will be different - I'll have school until 5:30 pm on mondays, and won't be able to go home in between classes. The good thing about this is that I'll have a 45 minute break at 3:10 pm, so that's perfect for lunch. I don't want to buy fast food every week, though - it's expensive, and not very healthy, either. The solution for this? BENTO.

That's right, I'll start making bento at least once a week from now on. And if you want to, you can read all about it right here.

I started by figuring out what size bento box I need (using this useful chart from lunchinabox.net). It's 600 ml, and I happened to find a Tupperware container in our pantry that has that capacity and is square and shallow - perfect for bento!

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And being the girly girl that I am, I just had to jazz it up a little bit, using this equipment:



First I cleaned the lid (there's our family name written on there in Sharpie) with nail polish remover. Then I put stickers with my mom's address on the inside of the lid, and on the box itself:

Image (fortunately, you can't really read anything)

Lastly, I added some cute stickers:

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Et voilà - my bento box. And it didn't even cost me a fortune 8)

So my plan for tonight is to cook something for my family - rice, perhaps? - and then put the leftovers in the box, leave it in the fridge over night, and just add some fruit in the morning. I don't have a microwave or a fridge at school, but rice can be eaten cold, too, right?

I''ll be sure to post photos, too.

Questions, comments, feedback?
Anoulie
 
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Re: German Teen Blogging Her First Bento Attempts (with photos!)

Postby Pangolin » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:21 am

Welcome to the LIAB forum! It looks like you found a good box, so now it's time to fill it up! Rice can certainly be eaten cold or at room temperature - in fact, most bento are eaten at room temperature.

So what kind of food did you put in the box? How did it taste? We'd love to see photos of your packed lunches - photos really do give us all great ideas we an borrow form each other.
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Re: German Teen Blogging Her First Bento Attempts (with photos!)

Postby Anoulie » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:31 pm

Finished!

My bento from the side:
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View from above:
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I used plain white long grain rice, iceberg lettuce to keep it apart from the other food, cut-up raw carrots and a cut-up apple (it's not a whole apple, though), and six Swedish meatballs ("köttbullar"). The meatballs were already cooked, and we bought them frozen from the store. The label says they're good in the fridge for two days, so food safety shouldn't be an issue. I just hope the apple will still taste fine.

View from the bottom:
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And because I'm so crazy about bento, I made some more customized bento gear:
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This is a small salt tub (we had the tub sitting in the kitchen somewhere, I don't know what's it was used for originally) with the lid painted dark red with nail polish. Below is my personal "my hashi" case that I sewed with my mom. It's denim, and the strap used to tie it together is a ribbon with my initials on them that my mom bought for me when I was in kindergarten (to sew on my things so I wouldn't lose them).

Now with the contents of the case:
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Here's a description: Two chopsticks (plain ones bought from our local Asia store that I customized with the same nail polish I used for the salt tub), a fork (just a regular one that we use for dinner etc. too) and a tissue to wrap the above in. Also, two hairbands (I love how they go with the chopsticks).
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Re: German Teen Blogging Her First Bento Attempts (with photos!)

Postby Anoulie » Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:37 am

Just tried my first bento, and learned a couple of things:

#1 The meatballs are great for bento that's eaten cold.
#2 The carrots get dry in the fridge over night.
#3 The apple,on the other hand, can handle a night in the fridge just fine.
#4 The rice doesn't taste that good when eaten cold.
#5 Half protein may be a little too much.
#6 Eating with chopsticks isn't that hard.
#7 I need a real bento box (not that this one doesn't work, but - I'm obsessed :P ). Also, chopsticks that unscrew in the middle.
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Re: German Teen Blogging Her First Bento Attempts (with phot

Postby Pangolin » Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:32 am

It sounds like your first bento was a success and a learning experience! Welcome to bentoing! Here's a few suggestions based on what you said you learned:

Anoulie wrote:#2 The carrots get dry in the fridge over night.

Just pack them in the morning. Also, the fresher they are when you pack them, the less likely they are to dry out overnight.

Anoulie wrote:#3 The apple,on the other hand, can handle a night in the fridge just fine.

Apples are pretty tough - they'll last a long time in a fridge uncut, and even quite awhile just sitting out on a counter. Once you cut them, they start to deteriorate (rot) a whole lot faster. If you want to pack other fruits (and avocados) and not have them get brown edges, use either lemon juice or Fruit Fresh (it's mostly vitamin C and Citric acid).

Anoulie wrote:#4 The rice doesn't taste that good when eaten cold.

Rice is better either warm or room temperature. The texture gets a lit stiffer once its cold. You might try heating up the rice a bit just to make it room temp in the morning and then pack it in the bento with the other items.

Anoulie wrote:#5 Half protein may be a little too much.

The general bento packing rules suggest a 3:1:2 ratio of 3 parts grains, 1 part protein, and 2 parts vegetables. Here's a link to Biggie's post on the subject of bento packing. And here's mine [NOTE: edited to remove dead link]. It's a good guideline, but you have to pack what makes you feel your best. I tend to pack a bit more protein than that, but I just don't feel good if I don't.

Anoulie wrote:#7 [...] Also, chopsticks that unscrew in the middle.

There are several versions out there. There are several versions of plastic ones, and a few metal ones as well. Some screw together, and others just snap together. Finding a pair of chopsticks that feel good in your hand (not too big, or too small) is really the most important thing to make them comfortable to use.
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Re: German Teen Blogging Her First Bento Attempts (with photos!)

Postby Anoulie » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:01 am

Oops. I meant half carbs. That may have been a little too much. I'll pack a little less next time.
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Re: German Teen Blogging Her First Bento Attempts (with photos!)

Postby gfbentomom » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:26 am

Welcome Katie!

You did a great job with your preparations and congratulations on your successful, healthy bento meal.
Come visit me at Flickr for bentos that are always gluten-free for mom and kiddo, sometimes casein-free and now always lowcarb for mom.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/21012380@N08/
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Re: German Teen Blogging Her First Bento Attempts (with photos!)

Postby Anoulie » Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:18 am

I am so obsessed. I made a breakfast bento this morning, and I may or may not make this a habit.

Here's a photo:

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The box has a capacity of 400 ml, which is perfect for breakfast. Clockwise from the upper left, it contains cherry tomatoes with raw carrots underneath, a scrambled pancake (made with one egg and just milk and flour added), and homemade applesauce. No sugar added at all :)

And the box and egg moulds I ordered on Monday arrived :)

Image

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The box has a capacity of 580 ml, which is nice for lunch.
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Re: German Teen Blogging Her First Bento Attempts (with photos!)

Postby Anoulie » Sun Jan 16, 2011 2:23 pm

So... on Friday, I made yet another breakfast bento:

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Clockwise from the top left: a scrambled egg with about a tablespoon of diced ham, a cut-up apple, a cut-up slice of bread roasted in a frying pan, blueberry yogurt.

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And underneath the apple: Some raw carrots.

I made another one (for lunch) on Saturday, but the photo says it can't be opened... :-/
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Re: German Teen Blogging Her First Bento Attempts (with photos!)

Postby Anoulie » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:12 pm

Yes, it's me once again.

Today, I made a bento to have at lunch at my internship tomorrow.

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In the middle, we have some scrambled pancake, and on the right, applesauce in two reuseable silicone cupcake molds with an apple slice on top. On the left, there are some sliced almonds, and on the right, four radishes and some more apple pieces.

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This is what it looks like closed...

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And then I wrapped it in a towel and put it in the fridge so it'll be all ready to go in the morning.
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