Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pimp My Lunchbox

Having recently been inspired by this delectable blog, sent to me by a dear friend, and also having a Japanese sister in-law (handy!), we are set for a Japanese style "take away lunch" frenzy here this winter. Have you heard of bento? I had, but did not realise the extent to which you can go crazy on it! It is, basically, in my layman's explanation and understanding, 'cutesy-prepared lunches gone crazy.' A pimping of the lunchbox, indeed.

There are all sorts of lunchbox shapes. Police cars, Hello Kitty heads, bears, bunnies, firetrucks. And that's just the containers. Then there are all sorts of stamps and food colour pens and shape cutters and lunchbox dividers. And if you think "Ahhh, I could do that with stuff I bought from Woolies", which is what I thought, you'd be mostly correct. But not like this. Not purpose made. The Japanese, they do this as a culture. The place is oozing with accessories for your bento box! And I'm wantin' me some merchandise.

Lucky for me, I have a supplier, ready and very willing to post me the whole kit and kaboodle. AND teach me the tricks of the trade, along with some simple kiddy-friendly Japanese recipes that aren't readily found here. Awesomeness. I'm so pumped about it!

I have spent hours scouring J-List, in tandem with my SIL, and we have decided this is almost as good as shopping together (which we can also do for hours, but only every 2 years when they holiday out here and stay with us). At least we don't have to worry about the kids this way.

So I decided to try out a little bits 'n pieces cut lunch for the LGBB yesterday, without all the gorgeous little shape cutters or cute Hello Kitty lunchboxes (which I am going to be receiving in a large package from my SIL sometime in the next month) - Lolly is ALL about Hello Kitty lately!? Don't ask me why. Just is flavour of the month right now.

Anyway, here we have little flowers cut out of a cheese slice, cucumber sticks, "sushi sandwiches" - rolling pin 2 slices of bread with crusts cut off, spread with ricotta/cottage cheese/cream cheese and fill with slices of salmon, then roll and cut like sushi (L loooooves these and is a sucker for this different take on her usual triangle-cut sanger) - some walnuts, a couple of dates and a googy-egg. Quite heavy on the protein, this lunch, now that I look at it. But she had had a significant amount of fruit in the morning, plus a hearty breakfast. We are in an all-day-graze "I'm still hunnnnnngreeeee" phase at the moment. I daresay there is a growth spurt coming on. So this is a good way for her to feel like she is getting a lot to eat because there is a lot for her to feast her eyes on.

And I just love making her lunchbox interesting every now and then. I am one of "those" mums who puts faces on boiled eggs, draws pictures of love hearts and butterflies on her drink bottle and lunchbox, tapes a little drawn picture inside the lid, yada yada..... So go ahead and hate me. I love 'er. I love making her feel special. And loved. She loves surprises, I love surprising her. We often love each other more when we're not actually within the same vicinity. We're a match!

I am all for bento. Bento on! I'll keep you up to date with my fledgling attempts as I foray into this new world of lunch box preparations. Takes a bit more time and effort but, hey, it is SO much fun. And everything gets eaten. Double bonus!

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