The Week in Bentos: October 14-17, 2008

by Wendy Copley on October 17, 2008

I had a lot of fun with bentos this week. I tried a couple of new things and I also treated myself to a bunch of new supplies.

Preschooler Bento #85: October 14, 2008

Tuesday, the cupboards were almost bare, so I had to assemble a lunch almost entirely from the freezer. I had leftover pancakes from our Sunday brunch in there though and that inspired me to make Wyatt breakfast for lunch. He was thrilled. I thawed a couple pancakes in the toaster oven and put 1 1/2 in the box (he ate the fourth half for breakfast). I also added a little container of syrup (that’s the black circle in the middle), blueberries and a half sausage leftover from the same brunch. There’s a fruit leather guy in there to cute things up too.

I thawed and drained the blueberries before putting them in the lunch in order to minimize the mess when he eats his lunch at school. To do that, I just put them in a strainer and ran hot water over them. I then blotted them dry with a paper towel and put them in a silicon baking cup to help contain any more liquid that might seep out.

Preschooler Bento #85: syrup

This is the little jar I put the syrup in. Hella cute, no? It’s small enough that the syrup didn’t get everywhere, but it gave Wyatt the illusion that he’s getting lots of sugar and he found that very exciting. I got it at the Archie McPhee brick and mortar store in their surplus area (sorry — they don’t sell them on the site). These used to be used in first class meals on an airline.

Preschooler Bento #86: October 15, 2008

Wednesday’s lunch was pretty typical: strawberries, turkey roll-ups, grapes and a heart shaped onigiri made with leftover dinner rice. I haven’t put one of those in for awhile because Wyatt wasn’t eating them, but he polished this one off.

Preschooler Bento #87: October 16, 2008

Thursday he had grapes, a strawberry, another onigiri shaped like a bear this time and store-bought baked tofu.

Preschooler Bento #88: October 17, 2008

Friday’s lunch was very exciting because Wyatt had a new red bento box and lots of fun new accessories to take to school (more on that in a second).  I put in the last of the strawberries, ham “ribbons” threaded onto little skewers and a cheese stick. There was also a little cup of puffins cereal below the cheese stick, but those aren’t visible in this photo.


The big bento fun for me this week came in the form of a trip to the Daiso store in Union City. Daiso is a chain of 100 Yen stores — basically the Japanese equivalent of an American dollar store, except everything is $1.50 instead of a dollar.  I’ve been reading about the Bay Area Daiso’s for awhile and yesterday Augie and I made the 45 minute drive to Union City to check one out.

When I first walked in the store, I immediately spotted a large sign in the middle of the store proclaiming “Bento (Lunch)” and made a bee-line to the area to check it out.

Internet, I have a confession to make:

I went totally nuts.

I like making bentos and I enjoy my small collection of cute bento accessories. That’s no secret. But I’ve never really been one to freak out over the bento supplies. Scrapbook paper — yes. Bento supplies — no.

I have four small, plain boxes that I rotate for Wyatt’s lunches and my Mr. Bento that I use to take my lunch to work and I have always felt that that was more than enough boxes for our needs. I also like my little picks and food separators and I’m very enthusiastic about the wonders of silicon baking cups. But when I was faced with that small island of bento supplies, a bento demon buried deep inside of me rose up and took possession of my body. My hands started dropping things into the basket of the stroller right and left. It was all so cute and there were so many different sizes and shapes and the colors were so bright and cheerful and there was just so much of it — more than I’d ever seen in one place before. And, gee whiz — who knows when I’ll be able to get back to a Daiso again!

Internet, I bought eight bento boxes. EIGHT! And that was after I exhibited some self control. Before I went to the check-out I reviewed what I’d put in my basket and put back four boxes that were kind of boring and that I didn’t think were really necessary. The eight boxes I purchased were ones I needed, of course, but the other four were just superfluous. Here’s what I got:

Daiso Insanity: Bento Boxes

The top two are for me. The fruit one is a large-ish locking style box. The one with the leaves is a double-decker one. The other five are for Wyatt’s lunches — a big locking style box and two little ones and two stacking boxes. There is also a red stacking box that isn’t pictured here because Wyatt had it at school with him when I took this photo. I’ll try to get a shot of that some other time.

I also bought a bunch of cute accessories:

Daiso Insanity: Picks, Belts & Condiment Boxes

Clockwise from top left: fancy animal food picks with an ocean theme, picks with little flags on them, two felt penguin lunch box belts, monkey condiment cups, a car lunch box belt and more little animal picks. (I used some of those in Friday’s lunch.)

Daiso Insanity: Food Separators

I also went crazy for the food separator sheets. Five packages of those, ladies and gentlemen. FIVE. The ones with the food up in the top left are Wyatt’s favorites. I think he likes them because they have pictures of catsup and cocoa on them — two of his favorite foods in life. I have a feeling those will be appearing in his lunches quite a bit.

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