It's true! I'm a god of bentos, I'm bento magic, I'm bentorrific!! Well, at least if you're 5, then you think I'm pretty cool. Fortunately, I do have a 5 year old, and an 8 year old, who live with me all the time, no matter how hard I try to discourage them. And because of them, I often find myself in situations which require me to rub my bleary eyes twice, gulp down coffee while it's still too hot, and slap together some sort of lunch in a box for an event that I just heard about.
If you have children in Japan, then you probably realize that the lowly bento is perhaps the most important tool in showing filial love. One crappy bento and you're kids will get picked on at school and their teachers will look down and shake their heads next the time they see you. It will be obvious that you don't really love them, and when they grow up they'll be destitute low-lifers, or worse...vegetarians...
That's a lot of pressure, but I'm usually up for the challenge. What do you think?
Above: Polish sausages smiles. Notice the green pea noses, they were still frozen when the pic was taken but I think they had thawed out by lunchtime. This actually started out as a bentoesque representation of the smiley/frowny drama mask, but at the last minute I made them both smiley. A five-year-old doesn't need any extra drama in his life.
Below: Sliced deli ham in the shape of stars. Ham-Stars!! That's right, I put ham-stars in the lunch. That's why I rock.
Above: That's some karage made from chicken tenders. I call this one "mister grumpinessy".
Above: With the polish sausage, it's not just for smiley faces, also makes great belly buttons!
Below: More ham on Panini. I might have left those taters in the fryer a bit too long, but a big glob of ketchup brightens everything up and brings balance to the piece. I'm a bentorista!
Above: Maki-sushi but with ham and some karage. That's two meat groups in one bento. Bentabulous! Disclaimer: I didn't really make sushi rice, just left over normal rice but with some ham and mayo, kids can't tell the difference.
Below: Another hot-dog. Ok, I admit it. This one is kind of weak.
Above: To get this magnificent effect, you cut the hot dog in half, then you splay it half way, twice. Drop them in boiling water and the legs will spread (this doesn't work with women). Then tell your kids that they've got hot dog octopus!
One more final hint, if you want to be a true "Bentador" then it's imperative that your kids actually eat everything in the box. That way their teacher will know that they like your bentos, so they probably like you, so you are probably not a total ogre. The best way to do this--don't feed them any breakfast.