I don't usually pack lunches for my family. The Mr. eats out every day and so far the closest I have come to packed lunches is for official picnics or snacks in the park. This is all about to change. Miss Four is off to start school at the end of this month so that means packed lunches and snacks every day. While I'm at it I'll also start packing lunches for the Mr. in an attempt to encourage healthier eating and saving a ton of cash in the process. Of course, as with all my endeavors, I see this as a challenge on which to unleash my creativity and competitive spirit; and it is with this in mind that I have decided to tackle the challenge of packing lunch Bento style!
Realistically I don't expect my bento's to turn out quite as flash as those from the very talented Lucky Sundae on Flickr, but still this is a lunch to aspire to. Over the last few years my lunch menus have left much to be desired. Always an after thought I usually end up with tuna on toast, a boiled egg or whatever the girls didn't eat. Not very nutritious and certainly not very appealing. But I am hoping that if I have two people to make these little treats for, that it will be just as easy to put together a few more and I might get to indulge in some more inspiring and attractive lunches on a daily basis. The biggest thing that is holding me back with these is the time it takes to make them. There is always so much to do of a morning that adding in an extra hour to make lunch just doesn't seem like fun. If any of you make these yourself and have some suggestions, I'm all ears!
White Whale Bento
While in a rather foodie mood, I took stock of my kitchen and the state of my cupboards. It seems that they have been suffering from a bad case of "I might use that one day," and a clutter that subsequently leads to only a few items ever being used. So it was out with the old gadgets... and in with the new. With all the ridiculously good sales at the moment I have no excuse to still be cooking in a fry pan that leaves more teflon on the food than in the pan. And I did make that resolution to eat only the most fabulous of breakfasts so... I headed into Harris Scarf where they had a huge 30-80% off everything and picked up these treats to make both breakfasts and bentos all the more fun.
Cookie cutters from General Trader Store for cutting shapes into vegetables, fruit, cheese and just about anything to make it fun.
My very first proper egg poaching pan, a griddle pan that I shouldn't kill in two minutes (which is what happened to the last three Jamie Oliver pans!), and a super slicer to make things thin, curly and cool without loosing a finger.
For those of you in North America, the idea of cool gadgets and accessories for food isn't all that foreign. It seems that you have a plethora of stores devoted to just such embellishments. But here in Australia it is relatively slim pickings, and requires a good knowledge of secret specialty stores to find groovy things. So I am searching through eBay for most of my specialty bento supplies at present. If anyone in Australia knows of any stores here in Melbourne, I'd be eternally grateful for any recommendations. Browsing the racks for miniature sauce bottles, plastic grass and hot dog cutters shapped like Hello Kitty is my idea of fun!