Fun with bento!

Okay, I know it’s back to school time for everyone and that can mean a lot of great things, although right now I can’t think of a single one of them.  For some reason Buck insists on going to school, not like his two slacker homeschooling siblings.  Buck says he loves school because he “learns things” and “has new experiences” and “makes friends”.  Whatever.

As a mom, school means that as soon as my eyes open in the morning, I am hustling.  No sipping coffee on the couch. No checking my email.  It’s go time.  Every morning it’s like I have a plane to catch because godforbid you arrive  even one minute late.  Being late to school now is like being late to a UN consulate meeting.  Doors are locked.  Apoliges must be explained and signed.  Humble groveling ensues.  It’s very stressful and since Buck moves at the pace of a sloth on quaaludes in the morning, we are often late and the last few words I find myself saying to him before I don’t see him for eight hours is, “Go go go!”

But the worst part of the whole back to school time is that I meet my old nemisis – Buck’s lunch box.


I start twitching when I see this thing.  I’ve tried a million different ways to make Buck’s lunch interesting, but since he is a picky eater, a lot of my more flavorful experiments (Veggie fried rice? Pita sandwich?) go uneaten in his lunch, only for me to discover them sticky and rotting by the afternoon.  There’s something magical about a lunch box that can turn any food into toxic waste in a matter of hours.

But this year is going to be different because I’m trying a bento box.  If you don’t know what a bento box is, it’s a Japanese lunch box and it’s usually filled with adorable things like this —


I bought a bento cookbook and spent a lot of time looking over these lunches online and I decided that while I couldn’t make mine look that perfect because I have no crafting or artistic skills whatsoever, I could possibly, just possibly, make a humorous bento lunch.

Here’s my first attempt —


It’s called, “Don’t eat any mushrooms you find in the woods.”  It serves as both yummy lunch and cautionary tale.  I got a thumbs up from Buck on this one and I made some extra for Emerson and August and they gobbled them down.  August said happily with his mouth full of rice, “I’m eating a dead guy!”

Here’s the recipe:

Magic mushrooms

sliced cheese


dried seaweed

cut the cheese in the shape of a mushroom, then cut salami in half and place it on top of the cheese mushroom cap.  Cut out a seaweed face and stick on.

Dead guy — 

cooked sushi rice

dried seaweed


put cooked and salted sushi rice in some saran wrap and make a ball (otherwise all the rice will stick to your hands).  Cut out either comically “dead” or “really sick” guy face using sheet of dried seaweed and scissors.  Stick on.

Then add veggies to make it look like a forrest.  It’s that easy.

I have a feeling I’m definitely going to have more fun making lunches this year.




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