The Week in Bentos: April 7-10, 2009

by Wendy Copley on April 10, 2009

Preschool Bento #163: April 7, 2009

Tuesday’s lunch was strawberries, baked tofu (cut into a “Z” which was the letter of the week at school), a bit of banana and some letter cookies that spelled out his name (plus an extra “Z”) for a special treat. I don’t know why this lunch of all the lunches I’ve made in the last year made me feel self-conscious about sending a bento, but it did.  I think it was trying to tie his lunch in with the school’s lesson plan that did it. I just had this image of all the teacher’s rolling their eyes at me, the over-achieving, over-the-top Mom.

Preschool Bento #164: April 8, 2009

Wednesday Wyatt got leftover pork tenderloin (his new favorite food!) on picks, two mini blueberry muffins and some strawberries.

Preschooler Bento #165: April 9, 2009

Thursday Wyatt got his signature lunch: strawberries, salami and a robot dinner roll that I split, toasted and made into garlic bread.

What? What’s that you say?

Oh, are you curious about the roll with the robot on it? Are you saying “How in the HECK of the WORLD did she do that?”

I did it with my new toy — food markers!

Food Markers

I was browsing at Sur La Table on Wednesday and I came across these totally crazy markers that write with food coloring. How insane is that? I’ve only tried them on this dinner roll, but according to the package, you can use them on any dry, smooth surface. I’m sure I’ll be getting into all sorts of crazy bento-mom mischief with these.

I’m not the best artist in the world and my handwriting ispretty messy, so I decided to try stamping on the food before doing any free-hand drawing or writing.

Stamping on a roll with food markers

To start, select a rubber stamp and color on the raised image with a food marker. Obviously, you want to clean the stamp well before you do this to be sure no toxic ink is on there. This is a great job for your kids if they want to help (like Wyatt did).

Stamping on a roll with food markers

When he was finished I did a once-over with the marker to ensure it was completely covered and refresh the ink a bit in case parts had dried out.

Stamping on a roll with food markers

Next, I stamped the image onto the bun. The top of the roll wasn’t perfectly flat, of course, so I had to kind of rock the stamp along the curve of the bun.

Stamping on a roll with food markers

Ta da! Now you have a cute robot roll!

I found the Foodoodlers (the brand of markers I bought) at Amazon but at $15 the price was much higher than what I paid at the Sur La Table brick and mortar store ($6.99). Unfortunately I couldn’t find these on the Sur La Table web site, but it looks like you can order these directly from foodoodler.com. I also found these Wilton food markers for a reasonable price, but I have no idea if they’re any good or not, so can’t recommend them or warn you off.

Preschool Bento #166: April 10, 2009

I couldn’t resist playing around with the food markers some more, so on Friday I wrote a little message on a bun. Wyatt had this whole elaborate plan about what I should put on there. He picked out a teacup rubber stamp and he told me to stamp it at an angle so it looked like it was pouring. Then he wanted me to draw the tea pouring out of the cup into a puddle. Huh. Interesting. I tried to do it, but this bun was so soft that I couldn’t get the stamp to transfer without squishing it all to hell. So I improvised! I think it looks kind of messy and jenky — definitely not my best decorated bun work. But Wyatt was happy with it, so I suppose it will suffice. I also sent strawberries (surprise!) and some leftover chicken noodle soup with no broth and all the chicken picked out.

Do any of you use food markers in your kids’ lunches? I’d love to hear some ideas for how to use them. Even better, put links in the comments if you have photos!

Also, next week is spring break for Wyatt’s preschool, so I won’t have any bento photos to share. I was wondering if any of you had questions for me that I could answer. Any questions about how or why I do stuff you see in the lunches? Is there anything you would like better pictures of? I suppose your questions don’t really need to be bento related, either. Let me know!

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  • Oh my gosh the food markers are such an awesome idea! Can’t wait until my little one actually is big enough for packed lunches…haha.

  • Oh my gosh the food markers are such an awesome idea! Can’t wait until my little one actually is big enough for packed lunches…haha.

  • Hey Wendy,
    I happen to like the first Bento alot because you were creative and tied the theme of “Z” in! So far my kiddo is only really happy if I pack him mandarin oranges in his bentos. So at this point his preschool teachers never remark on my bentos nor does my kid. So I’m sending you some bento love and some credit. I like those markers too, fun ideas! Check out what bakerella did with some easter peeps and markers recently. Jenni http://bakerella.blogspot.com/2009/04/peep-show.html

  • Hey Wendy,
    I happen to like the first Bento alot because you were creative and tied the theme of “Z” in! So far my kiddo is only really happy if I pack him mandarin oranges in his bentos. So at this point his preschool teachers never remark on my bentos nor does my kid. So I’m sending you some bento love and some credit. I like those markers too, fun ideas! Check out what bakerella did with some easter peeps and markers recently. Jenni http://bakerella.blogspot.com/2009/04/peep-show.html

  • Follow up I have no idea why the last part of the post got all spaced out Weird! 🙂

  • Follow up I have no idea why the last part of the post got all spaced out Weird! 🙂

  • Karol

    Aw. come on. Food Markers? I missed this too? You are killing me here!!! That is too cute. What were the flavors of the “ink”? Did I miss any thing else?

  • Aw. come on. Food Markers? I missed this too? You are killing me here!!! That is too cute. What were the flavors of the “ink”? Did I miss any thing else?

  • Lorie

    That is sooooo cute! I love this idea. I totally have to get some of these markers ASAP!

  • Lorie

    That is sooooo cute! I love this idea. I totally have to get some of these markers ASAP!

  • Marissa Despins

    Ive been checking out your blog for a while now, and feel that I just have to comment on this post… I know it is an older post, but I was looking through your past stuff for some ideas for my kidlets lunch before I go grocery shopping today, and came across it…

    You said that you felt a bit self conscious about the teacher rolling her eyes at the over acheiving mom packing the bentos… I feel like this ALL THE TIME! I actually had one of the teacher helpers come up to me the other day, out of the blue, and say “Oh, your THAT mom…”… It makes me feel like a super nerd! I love doing it for my daughter though, and she loves it, so I won't let this stop me from doing it… But I do kind of feel self conscious and silly sometimes, even though I know I shouldn't.
    So glad to see someone sharing my feelings!!!
    LOVE YOUR BLOG!

  • Marissa Despins

    Ive been checking out your blog for a while now, and feel that I just have to comment on this post… I know it is an older post, but I was looking through your past stuff for some ideas for my kidlets lunch before I go grocery shopping today, and came across it…

    You said that you felt a bit self conscious about the teacher rolling her eyes at the over acheiving mom packing the bentos… I feel like this ALL THE TIME! I actually had one of the teacher helpers come up to me the other day, out of the blue, and say “Oh, your THAT mom…”… It makes me feel like a super nerd! I love doing it for my daughter though, and she loves it, so I won't let this stop me from doing it… But I do kind of feel self conscious and silly sometimes, even though I know I shouldn't.
    So glad to see someone sharing my feelings!!!
    LOVE YOUR BLOG!

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