Vote in the 2008 Food Blog Awards

Good news, everyone! (Queue Futurama theme music.)

Vote in the Food Blog Awards 2008

I just found out that Lunch in a Box made the cut over at Well Fed Network and is now one of the five finalists for the “Best Food Blog - Theme“ category in the 2008 Food Blog Awards! I’m tickled and thankful to have been nominated by reader Kristie, then selected by an independent panel of judges for open voting. Lunch in a Box is the only packed lunch blog among the nominees; I’m wondering what it would be like for a bento site to take Best Theme…

If you’d like to cast your vote for Lunch in a Box or one of the other great nominees (Karina’s Kitchen, Wild Yeast, Prudence Pennywise, and Hunter Angler Gardener Cook), the poll is now open and will last for five days until 8pm EST on Saturday, January 24th, 2009. The thirteen other categories also have lots of interesting blogs to add to your reading list, so pull up a chair and pour yourself a cup of coffee!

If you’re surfing in for the first time and are wondering what all this bento stuff is about, have a look at my Bento FAQ and the 2008: My Bento Year in Review post. I’ve also recently launched a forum about bentos and packed lunches where readers are busy exchanging info on all kinds of packed lunches. Care to improve your own lunch in a box?


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Speed Bento Contest

A few contest announcements today and a 20% off coupon code for an online store in the U.S. with bento gear.

1. Bento of the Month Contest on the Lunch in a Box Forum

Salmon cake lunch for preschooler v1Over on the new Lunch in a Box Forum, moderator QChan came up with the fun idea of holding a recurring “Bento of the Month Contest” for kicks, and the theme for the first one will be Speed.

If you’d like to participate, you’ve got until January 28, 2009 to make the speediest, most delicious looking bento you can, and post a photo of it in the contest thread. QChan will then create a poll with all of the photos for forum members to vote on the winner. If someone would like to donate a bento-related prize and ship to the winner, that’d be cool. (Email me at lunchinabox [AT} gmail {DOT] com) [EDIT: Jenn of the Not Exactly Bento blog has generously offered the cookbook Authentic Japanese Cuisine for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide to the winner. Thanks Jenn!]

An explanation with how long it took you to make and what’s in the meal would be helpful, and if you blog about your entry feel free to include a link back to your full entry. We’re pretty container-agnostic, so it’s not limited to lunches packed in bento boxes alone. Feel free to submit lunches packed in thermal lunch jars (like the Mr. Bento), Laptop Lunchboxes, etc.

I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with! [2/2 UPDATE: Vote for your favorite in the poll!] (Read on for the coupon code and a reminder of the deadline for the Bento Blog Search logo contest.Read the rest of this entry »

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Simmered kabocha recipe

Sorry about the blog posting slowdown lately; I’ve been busy with the new forum about bento and packed lunches, and there just aren’t enough hours in the day with a four-year-old! The upside is that the forum is hopping and we’ve got volunteer moderators on board now. Full steam ahead!

Simmered kabocha

Kabocha squash

Simmered kabocha squash is a favorite of mine — it’s one of the most flavorful squashes around, and is chock full of nutrients like beta carotene (especially when you eat the thin skin). Simmered kabocha is a staple in Japanese bento lunches, evoking strong memories for me of train station bentos and home cooking I ate in Japan. Simple to make, you can also transform any leftovers by mashing the cooked kabocha with a fork and making it into squash croquettes, substituting mashed squash for the mashed potatoes. Try it!  Read the rest of this entry »

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Lunch in a Box forum launched

I’ve just launched a new reader forum about bento and packed lunches, and wanted to invite everyone in to kick the tires and inspect the engine. Care to take a look?

One thing that’s always struck me about Lunch in a Box readers is how willing you are to jump in to and helpfully answer each other’s questions. I’ve felt that there should be a better infrastructure for people to tap into the knowledge of our tremendous reader community, like we did with the Bento Store Locator. So I’ve been toying around with starting a packed lunch forum since last summer, and have had early versions on and /forums since July.

New year is a good time to start new things, so I’m throwing open the doors now. But with all of the different online lunch communities on my Lunch Links page, you might ask, “Why another?” Read the rest of this entry »

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2008: My bento year in review

2008 was a year of big changes for Lunch in a Box, so I thought I’d step back a moment to look back at the highlights. I turned forty last year, so being at my own midway point may have made me more reflective than usual.

We’ll see what 2009 holds: my son’ll be starting regular kindergarten this fall, so I’m interested in seeing how a non-Japanese peer group affects his attitude towards his bento lunches. I’m looking forward to more blog changes in 2009 as well, including more bento community features and a site redesign to clean things up. Read the rest of this entry »

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