I’ve had a couple of questions about the supplies I use in the bento boxes I pack for myself and for Wyatt, so I thought I’d do a quick post on the various pieces I use.
The bento lunch boxes I use for my son’s preschool lunches were purchased at Ichiban Kan. I am lucky to have a store just a few blocks from my house, so I got them there. I believe that they used to have the boxes on their site, but they appear to be sold out at the moment. It sounds like they may be getting some more in stock in the next few weeks.
Some of my most used tools are my Wilton silicone baking cups. I got mine at Michael’s with a 40% off coupon, but you can also find them online very easily. These are great because you can keep wet things away from dry things so crackers, bread, etc. don’t get soggy. They also make a cute, cheerful presentation and they’re great for a kid who doesn’t like it when one kind of food touches another. The bento containers I use are almost exactly the same height as these cups, so as soon as you put the lid on the food is trapped inside of them. They rock.
I use regular cookie cutters from our cupboard to cut Wyatt’s sandwiches out. I’ve been collecting most of these for years and they’re from all over the place. I did buy a set of mini animal-shaped cookie cutters especially for Wyatt’s lunches though. They’re great for cutting cheese, tofu and the smaller pieces of sandwich left-over after I cut the bigger heart or kitty shapes. Cutting food into shapes is flat-out the best way to make a lunch cute.
Finally, I’ve been assembling a collection of Japanese bento accessories for the last few months. Some of them are from the Ichiban Kan store by my house and some were sent to me by my friend Lisa in a care package. In the picture above you can see a sample of some of my stuff. The pink thing in the top left is a condiment container complete with a yellow spreader. I use it for butter in my lunches. Wyatt is dying for me to send it full of catsup in his lunch. Below that are some tiny little bottles. They’re intended for soy sauce, but I use them for lemon juice too. Below that are little food picks. Don’t let these go down into your garbage disposal or you’ll be sorry. And the pack on the right side contains anti-bacterial food dividers. You’re probably most used to seeing green ones separating the wasabi from the California rolls in take-out sushi boxes. I think veggie ones are particularly cool, and I find myself saving them for special occasions which I have to admit is totally weird.
As far as tips for packing a bento, I bow down to the superior talents of Biggie over at Lunch in a Box. Go there to learn everything you need to know about packing a lunch for yourself or your preschooler. Just don’t get too depressed by the fact that her son appears to eat everything. I find my options are much more limited because of my son’s pickier eating habits.