I started making bentos after combing through justbento.com, a website run by a Japanese woman named Makiko Itoh bestowing all the information about traditional bento making along with recipes and countless ideas. I bought her cookbook and it does have some really great recipes in it. I spent the majority of last February and March learning about traditional bentos, learning about the different ingredients that are not always accessible in traditional grocery stores in the area (for me, Kroger and Publix), and learning how to make sushi rice without a rice cooker (if done correctly, I think it tastes better than in the rice cooker). I love making onigiri and mini burgers for my lunches, bizarre salads, and having an excuse to go to the Asian markets bordering Atlanta for specific ingredients.
The unfortunate thing about continuously making these bentos was that they were in fact quite time consuming for me. I didn’t always have the ingredients on hand. I was very occupied with work and school so even having the time to cook in advance and freeze was not abundant. And, as delicious as it is, I just can’t justify eating that much rice. It was around last October that I decided to resurrect my intentions for bento making and put them into a more practical lunch venue.
I catalog my bentos because I think they’re visually striking and appetite inducing as well as a reminder that anyone can make their leftovers more palatable. I try to eat as healthy as I can and I end up using frozen vegetables and letting them thaw out in the bento so I can microwave them quickly. So stay tuned and I’ll be posting more of my lunches!