Bento Box filled with healthy fun for one

Yum-Yum Bento Box

How long does it take to fix a school lunch? For the experienced parent, good at keeping chips or the equivalent, fruit and veggies, a sandwich and a treat, maybe two minutes. That’s unless the peanut butter has separated or the jelly cowers at the unreachable bottom of the jar. It’s a daily task, done with a kind of slapdash love. But other folk have other ideas. The Yum-Yum Bento Box, a delectable little cookbook is a case in point. Crystal Watanabe and Maki Ogawa introduce the art of designing lunch in a bento, a box-for-one popularly known in Japan.

The colorful pages display elegant or humorous lunch ideas that are sure to be the envy of everyone else in the cafeteria.

Full-color photographs show folktale and fairytale characters, holiday symbols and creatures created almost wholly with snippets of fresh vegetables, molded rice, and nori (dried seaweed). The ingredients are mostly at your regular supermarket though it might be tricky to find quail eggs if you are dedicated to copying the bumblebee creation!

Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches, By Crystal Watanabe, Maki Ogawa, Quirk Books, 2010

© 2010 Jane Manaster. All Rights Reserved.

While you’re gathering ideas for young palates, consider Silly Snacks by Favorite Brand Name. Silly is the key ingredient in this snack helper filled with clever creations. I received a copy of this cookbook several years ago from the queen of kid pleasers, our “90-something” great-grandma to my kids. She sent copies around to many of her loved ones and we keep ours at the ready when meal time calls for fun. We love the Tic-Tac-Toe Tuna Pizza.

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