Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Back to school! The NYT has a nice article today about the bento boom (brown bags are so, like, over); my bento blog roundup

The New York Times has a nice article today about bento chic hitting the U.S. If you're not familiar with bento, they're Japanese lunchboxes, segmented into compartments and usually wonderfully and whimsically designed.

The bento is really the Platonic ideal of the brown-bag lunch—delicious, elaborate, beautiful to look at and fun to consume, and still in the long run cheaper (and healthier) than fast-food junk. From the article:

In Japan, compact, compartmented bento boxes are traditionally filled with rice, pickled vegetables and fish or meat. Japanese mothers take pride in their obentos and hope they outshine those of other mothers, said the Japanese cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo.

“Obento making is a kind of cult,” she said.

It’s approaching cult status in the United States. On Saturday in Central Park, as part of its Crossing the Line festival, the French Institute Alliance Française will be handing out bento boxes with components made by some top French and American chefs — including Inaki Aizpitarte, Pascal Barbot, Alexandre Gauthier, Michel Bras, David Chang and Wylie Dufresne.

On a more plebian level, said sales of the boxes and accessories like egg molds, rice shapers, plastic skewers shaped like animals or flowers have been growing.

The recession has prompted a resurgence of the art of bento in Japan, with the biggest trend being men—traditionally divorced from domestic chores, at least until their wives divorce themembracing bento preparation and launching bento blogs that show off their creations, often to the swooning admiration of women. (So as you might guess, bento-ism has gotten hot among young single men, at least the ones who are into three-dimensional human females as opposed to cartoon characters or vinyl scale models.)

For those of you who want to dig deeper in to the amazing craftwork behind bento, check out the album below, as well as this list of bento bloglinks!


J-Bento (Japanese; must be seen to be believed! Use Google Translate to get the drift of the descriptions: (this one is incredible)

Bento boy blogs (Japanese) (bento blog PORTAL, run by a guy!) (bento boy blog -- this guy is a full-on obento otaku, check out his bento featuring Gin from BLEACH)

And a Flickr pool:

And now I’m hungry.


See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from originalspin's posterous


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