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Healthy, attractive, and economical--bento-box meals will revolutionize your lunchtimes. Let Makiko Itoh, the Net's leading bento blogger, get you started on your bento journey! 25 bento menus and over 150 delicious recipes, both Japanese and Western: Sukiyaki-style Beef Donburi Bento, Egg-wrapped Sushi Bento, Spanish Omelette Bento, Bunny Sandwich Bento, and more Every bent Healthy, attractive, and economical--bento-box meals will revolutionize your lunchtimes. Let Makiko Itoh, the Net's leading bento blogger, get you started on your bento journey! 25 bento menus and over 150 delicious recipes, both Japanese and Western: Sukiyaki-style Beef Donburi Bento, Egg-wrapped Sushi Bento, Spanish Omelette Bento, Bunny Sandwich Bento, and more Every bento photographed in full color Comprehensive practical bento-making guidelines: choosing a box, menu-planning, speed and safety tips, staple ingredients Timelines help streamline your morning preparation Glossary of Japanese ingredients An invaluable resource for bento beginners and aficionados alike


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Healthy, attractive, and economical--bento-box meals will revolutionize your lunchtimes. Let Makiko Itoh, the Net's leading bento blogger, get you started on your bento journey! 25 bento menus and over 150 delicious recipes, both Japanese and Western: Sukiyaki-style Beef Donburi Bento, Egg-wrapped Sushi Bento, Spanish Omelette Bento, Bunny Sandwich Bento, and more Every bent Healthy, attractive, and economical--bento-box meals will revolutionize your lunchtimes. Let Makiko Itoh, the Net's leading bento blogger, get you started on your bento journey! 25 bento menus and over 150 delicious recipes, both Japanese and Western: Sukiyaki-style Beef Donburi Bento, Egg-wrapped Sushi Bento, Spanish Omelette Bento, Bunny Sandwich Bento, and more Every bento photographed in full color Comprehensive practical bento-making guidelines: choosing a box, menu-planning, speed and safety tips, staple ingredients Timelines help streamline your morning preparation Glossary of Japanese ingredients An invaluable resource for bento beginners and aficionados alike

30 review for The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches to Go

  1. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    Bento-boxes are all the rage - they have this pleasing aesthetic - with the bright colors, lovely little partitions, the adorable shapes and variety. Makiko Itoh has a wonderful little bento blog - where she showcases her adorable creations. This recipe has 25 bento menus with 150+ recipes. So, on the one hand, I quite like the cuteness of the thing. It's adorable and sweet and looks so freaking perfect. On the other hand...I really don't see myself making very many (if any) of these as bentos. M Bento-boxes are all the rage - they have this pleasing aesthetic - with the bright colors, lovely little partitions, the adorable shapes and variety. Makiko Itoh has a wonderful little bento blog - where she showcases her adorable creations. This recipe has 25 bento menus with 150+ recipes. So, on the one hand, I quite like the cuteness of the thing. It's adorable and sweet and looks so freaking perfect. On the other hand...I really don't see myself making very many (if any) of these as bentos. Maybe it's because I'm in grad school...but wow. They look like a lot of work. Even the simpler ones seem to require a lot of ingredients and time. I think, if I were to do these, I'd probably make the meals for dinner and pack the leftovers for the bento. I really like the concept of this book and would want to do this for special occasions/when I have a few extra hours on my hand, but it's definitely not going to be an everyday sort of thing for me. YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat @miranda.reads Happy Reading!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Foxthyme

    Bento! Now that I actually have a job where I get this break in the middle of the day called a lunch, I found I wasn’t quite sure what to do at lunch. Stop working. Okay, I can try that. Eat. Yes. But what are all these interesting lunches eaten by everyone around me? We’re not just talking brown bagging it here. We’re talking Mom-stamped, balanced and varied, healthy lunches including salads, yogurt, fruit, soups, lunch entrees of all types. Mom lunches, made by moms used to making healthy lunch Bento! Now that I actually have a job where I get this break in the middle of the day called a lunch, I found I wasn’t quite sure what to do at lunch. Stop working. Okay, I can try that. Eat. Yes. But what are all these interesting lunches eaten by everyone around me? We’re not just talking brown bagging it here. We’re talking Mom-stamped, balanced and varied, healthy lunches including salads, yogurt, fruit, soups, lunch entrees of all types. Mom lunches, made by moms used to making healthy lunches for their kids. My sandwich just didn’t seem to cut it, didn’t seem very interesting, and, well, after a lifetime of sandwiches, I was ready for something new and imaginative. Where to start? I wasn’t quite sure, but I did understand that my Ziploc lunch bag was definitely passé as far as lunch style went. The staff fridge at the hospital was stuffed with all types of specialty lunch bags that could double as purses in the outside world, except for the special linings designed to keep your lunch cold or hot as you needed. While shopping, I decided on a neoprene lunch bag as it is the most convenient for me, small, light, durable, and I can chuck it in my backpack easily for a bike or a drive to work. I’m not really sure how my lunch research actually led me to the books The Just Bento Cookbook by Makiko Itoh and the Ten-Minute Bento by Megumi Fuji, but it did and the books have opened my eyes to a whole realm of lunchbox possibilities. Gone are the hard rectangular plastic lunchboxes of my youth, today’s lunch transporting beauties, the bento box of many styles and sizes, originates in Japan. Bento boxes can be elaborate and large, or they can be small compact boxes, of square, round, rectangular, or oval shape, perfect for lunch for most people. The most convenient types are the plastic ones, which allow you to pop the bento in the microwave if you want to warm your lunch. There are some spectacular stainless steel bento and bento-type boxes, as well as gorgeous traditional wood bentos, but the microwave isn’t a choice with them. Actually, any type of container can house your bento lunch, as bento is more a state of combining foods in an aesthetically pleasing manner in a container, rather than specific to the container itself. Bentos also scream healthy, as they tend to be packed with rice, veg, pickled veg, a tasty protein of some type, tiny condiment containers as needed, fruit, and …. I’m sure you could cram some triple deep fried chicken into a Bento box, however you’d have portion control happening, so your unhealthy offerings would be limited. On the whole, Bento healthy menus are expansive and exciting. If you’ve been having a hard time eating well, the Bento makes it tremendously easy to change that around. There’s also a bento style for kids and youthful people called Kawaii, which means lovable, adorable, or cute. They style really is a lot of fun for kids, but can help also completely liven up lunch for a food-bored adult. For instance, you can include cut out rabbit-shaped sandwiches, cute bento food picks, or various shaped cutouts of vegetables. At the very least you can add a silicone cupcake liner or two to separate the foods in your bento box and to add some colour punch. Find and add a heart-shaped liner and that is a great visual image and message. There’s some food lovin’ going on here. The books are a great way to get some great Bento lunch ideas. There are also numerous great websites packed with info. So if you’re completely bored with your lunch, there’s no reason not to glean some great bento ideas, and pack a new lunch altogether. Resources for Bento Supplies Fenigo (Canada) at www.fenigo.com` Bento&co (Japan) at http://en.bentoandco.com/collections/... Resources for Bento Websites http://justbento.com www.cookingcute.com/recipes.htm www.bentoblognetwork.com (I have previously published this article, copyrighted 2012.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    I can't believe I forgot to review this book! Perhaps that's because I've been so busy using it. This book is a gold mine of information and recipes. While I don't carry my lunch, I bought a bento box to help me with portion control (and let's be honest, because the box was so beautiful). I ordered this book at the same time as Ten Minute Bento, and I'm here to tell you "Just Bento" wins, hands down! There are many, many recipes for main dishes, sides, even "desserts"--most written for one portio I can't believe I forgot to review this book! Perhaps that's because I've been so busy using it. This book is a gold mine of information and recipes. While I don't carry my lunch, I bought a bento box to help me with portion control (and let's be honest, because the box was so beautiful). I ordered this book at the same time as Ten Minute Bento, and I'm here to tell you "Just Bento" wins, hands down! There are many, many recipes for main dishes, sides, even "desserts"--most written for one portion, so it's easy to multiply if you want enough for a group meal, but don't have to deal with freezing leftovers etc. if it's just one. The Japanese recipes are re-written for Western cooks, with tutorials giving clear explanations and pictures to help the uninitiated make things like nigiri and sushi rolls. There are also recipes for Western-style food such as burgers, salads etc, and you won't go crazy looking for exotic ingredients as Ms Itoh always suggests alternatives for anything hard to find. Her experience living in areas where specialist grocers are non-existent has helped her relate to non-Japanese cooks. I fill my bento for my evening meal, so I cook as I go, and while the recipes may not take ten minutes to prepare, they are fast enough to make it easy and pleasant. I'm cooking my way through this book; the portions are satisfying even to a foodie like me, with no leftovers to tempt me to overindulge. My only wish is that I had bought this book first, I'd have saved some money.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I am interested in Japanese culture, and I bring my own lunch to work, so I found this book really informative and helpful. Since I don't live in Japan, I like that the Japanese recipes were adapted for Western kitchens, and the section on international dishes adapted for bento was also a great idea. On the one hand, the recipes are clearly written, detailed and easy to follow. On the other hand, many recipes are followed by alternative ways of making them: what ingredients can be replaced by ot I am interested in Japanese culture, and I bring my own lunch to work, so I found this book really informative and helpful. Since I don't live in Japan, I like that the Japanese recipes were adapted for Western kitchens, and the section on international dishes adapted for bento was also a great idea. On the one hand, the recipes are clearly written, detailed and easy to follow. On the other hand, many recipes are followed by alternative ways of making them: what ingredients can be replaced by others, how a recipe can be upgraded, or how to make a meatless option. I like that the book is filled with specific recipes, and at the same time it can be used as a source for inspiration and ideas for your own bento-friendly foods. There are also many cooking and bento-packing tips that I found useful. I'm not a very skillful cook, but what I've cooked by this book so far has turned out great!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mandy Boman

    I haven't felt this excited about a cookbook in a long, long time. The recipes from this book that I have tried (about a third of the book so far) have turned out the first time - no tweaking or perfecting required. It does require a little more planning and organization to put a meal like this together, but it's been totally worth it for us to have economical, healthy, and really yummy lunches for my husband to take to work. It does help that the author puts an organizational timeline with ever I haven't felt this excited about a cookbook in a long, long time. The recipes from this book that I have tried (about a third of the book so far) have turned out the first time - no tweaking or perfecting required. It does require a little more planning and organization to put a meal like this together, but it's been totally worth it for us to have economical, healthy, and really yummy lunches for my husband to take to work. It does help that the author puts an organizational timeline with every menu. I also love the fact that recipes are sized for one or two people (except when something is freezable for future meals). That makes it so much easier to not waste food or money. And my husband (who is picky in the sense that he likes a *lot* of variety) hasn't gotten bored with any of the recipes, either. Winner!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Concise review of supplies, ingredients, and methods of cooking and creating a variety of (relatively) healthy bento lunches; each style of bento often lists several alternative versions with multiple takes on donburi, sukiyaki, teriyaki, etc. Making onigiri, dumplings, tamagoyaki, fast "pickled" veggies, kinpira, and other common Japanese style foods are covered in an off-hand natural manner as well. You come away with a good grasp on how to shop for, plan, schedule, and improvise these meals. Concise review of supplies, ingredients, and methods of cooking and creating a variety of (relatively) healthy bento lunches; each style of bento often lists several alternative versions with multiple takes on donburi, sukiyaki, teriyaki, etc. Making onigiri, dumplings, tamagoyaki, fast "pickled" veggies, kinpira, and other common Japanese style foods are covered in an off-hand natural manner as well. You come away with a good grasp on how to shop for, plan, schedule, and improvise these meals. A few of the recipes were unappealing to me (e.g. ham wrapped cream cheese with a few slices of green beans/carrots; lots of meat or tofu "nuggets"), and the author seems more inclined to use a microwave, frozen vegetables, or other shortcuts than I would prefer... But overall the book is worth perusing especially if you are unfamiliar with Japanese food or simply want to step up your brown bagging.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jana

    I've followed Makiko Itoh's recipes and blog posts on JustHungry.com and JustBento.com for a few years, and I'm happy to report that her informative, accessible style and great photography has carried over from her blogs to this cookbook. Itoh also provides helpful information about how to prep ingredients, how to plan for time-management when making bento in the morning, and how to buy a bento box (or other appropriate food-carrying container) which will suit the user's needs. I can't wait to g I've followed Makiko Itoh's recipes and blog posts on JustHungry.com and JustBento.com for a few years, and I'm happy to report that her informative, accessible style and great photography has carried over from her blogs to this cookbook. Itoh also provides helpful information about how to prep ingredients, how to plan for time-management when making bento in the morning, and how to buy a bento box (or other appropriate food-carrying container) which will suit the user's needs. I can't wait to get started on some Chicken Kara-age or Ginger Pork!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I really enjoyed this cookbook. The recipes are simple and explained well. There was also a good foundation given for making bentos that lent itself, very well mind you, to the alternative options available. The possibilities for many different combinations are many. The one caveat is, it would have been nice for her to explain more about proportions that are used in what makes up a bento. This information is missing from the book but is provided on her website. Overall a nice addition to a cook I really enjoyed this cookbook. The recipes are simple and explained well. There was also a good foundation given for making bentos that lent itself, very well mind you, to the alternative options available. The possibilities for many different combinations are many. The one caveat is, it would have been nice for her to explain more about proportions that are used in what makes up a bento. This information is missing from the book but is provided on her website. Overall a nice addition to a cooks library.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Betty

    This is a beautiful book with beautiful recipes, but it wasn't what I was expecting. I was expecting easy, simple, healthy lunch recipes... however, there is a good bit of cooking and prepping involved with these recipes. If I have a lot of time, I'll give them a try, but the fact of the matter is, most of the time I'm making lunches in the morning before we leave for work. This isn't the cookbook for that.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vonia

    One of the better Bento Box Cookbooks out there, primarily for beginners. Full-color, detailed pictures, portraying important, confusing cooking prices steps as well as high quality beautiful completed dish ones (which of course, at least mine, will definitely not be like). Really appreciate the information of the best, authentic locales in which to buy the high quality applied.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pannita

    My hubby is a vegetarian, while i’m a pescetarian (diet that includes seafood but not the flesh of other animals). So, I’m not actually interested in the recipes inside it but the tips and tricks regarding how to make a bento. I really like the author’s bento rules and i try to apply them to my bentos! I also posted my review on my blog: http://korpannita.wordpress.com/2013/... My hubby is a vegetarian, while i’m a pescetarian (diet that includes seafood but not the flesh of other animals). So, I’m not actually interested in the recipes inside it but the tips and tricks regarding how to make a bento. I really like the author’s bento rules and i try to apply them to my bentos! I also posted my review on my blog: http://korpannita.wordpress.com/2013/...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anie

    A beautiful piece, just like Maki's website. This is full of good advice and tons of recipes. Even more wonderful, though, the book outlines not only recipes good for bento (tasty, healthy, quick, and good eaten cold!) but also showcases different combinations, showing many possible bentos. Really a great read, both for inspiration and for recipes!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

    Some potentially interesting stuff in here. I haven't had the chance to fix any of these yet, but I'm planning to. I love how there are vegetarian options on many of the meals and slight variations that make one base idea into multiple meals.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Lots of really easy recipes and instructions that you would actually be able to make for lunch. Not over complicated and the food looks delicious.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bren

    I used this cookbook really heavily when I got it to try making bentos in 2014 or so, and I’m about to get back to it. It has great advice for people just getting started with bento-style packed lunches, including how to pack a bento, what proportions of various dishes to pack, what you will want in your pantry, fridge & freezer if you get really into this, and a little bit about cooking & packing doodads. The only other information you probably need to get started, besides this book, is a detai I used this cookbook really heavily when I got it to try making bentos in 2014 or so, and I’m about to get back to it. It has great advice for people just getting started with bento-style packed lunches, including how to pack a bento, what proportions of various dishes to pack, what you will want in your pantry, fridge & freezer if you get really into this, and a little bit about cooking & packing doodads. The only other information you probably need to get started, besides this book, is a detailed guide to figuring out what size bento box to get for each of your eaters; you can find several approaches on the web, depending on whether you are trying to control portions or just match what your eaters normally eat. The cookbook is organized around complete meals, with a featured version & suggested variations for many of the items in the lunch. There is a very useful morning cooking & packing timeline for each featured meal. This can make individual recipes harder to find when you want them later (the index is OK but sometimes mildly frustrating), but for new bento folks, it is very handy, and not too far from realistic. Usually I could hit the author’s timeline by the second try. After a while, I stopped referring to them, but I’ll be using these timelines again now that I am getting back to this style of cooking after several years’ break. The book also has a bunch of delicious recipes; my household has a tradition of storing all our recipes in a database and rating them together after we make them, so it’s not just me saying this. Some of our favorites, which we all wanted in the rotation even after I stopped making bentos, are the garlic-infused olive oil, ham & cream cheese vegetable rolls, the mini-hamburgers (amazing with venison), sweet pepper kinpira, onigiri, furikakes, and pan-steamed sweet potatoes. I would, however, avoid the pickle recipes. I am a pickle fan, including the many Japanese pickles I have eaten in restaurants, and I tried several of these recipes multiple times before giving up; they just never came out palatably for me. Many of the main dishes have meat of some form, but there is a vegetarian option for all the bentos. Almost all of the recipes are gluten-free, and most are dairy-free.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Selena

    A bento book with many tasty ideas and variations on those ideas. What's especially nice is that many of the recipes are more reasonable in number of servings. Some I've seen in the past are 1 serving and require half a can of this or one of that (that comes in a twelve pack and has a 1 week shelf-life). For example, the Turkey Soboro makes 6-8 servings and uses 1 pound of ground turkey. There are still some that are a bit weird in that they make one serving, like the chicken kara-age (4 oz of ch A bento book with many tasty ideas and variations on those ideas. What's especially nice is that many of the recipes are more reasonable in number of servings. Some I've seen in the past are 1 serving and require half a can of this or one of that (that comes in a twelve pack and has a 1 week shelf-life). For example, the Turkey Soboro makes 6-8 servings and uses 1 pound of ground turkey. There are still some that are a bit weird in that they make one serving, like the chicken kara-age (4 oz of chicken is a strange amount to get, at least around here), but it's the kind of recipe that scales up easily enough for how much chicken you're making. It also has a helpful timeline for assembly the morning of and notes on what's really easy to prep ahead of time and what's not.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kit Feral

    this is so much less intimidating than most bento cookbooks and really appeals to someone like me with simple tastes. I love love love the cooking timelines included - so helpful when you get overwhelmed when doing multiple things in the kitchen! I will definitely be trying a lot of these. a lot of bento books I read are drool worthy but seem impossible and expensive to attempt, this is all very accessible.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Luc

    Bento is an art form; it indeed is something remarkable. My opinion, The majority of the recipes (60-70%) in this book are not fast & easy. If you're an athlete, this book would not be a good choice (they are recipes for "puny human"). I think this book's contents are excellent for people who are planning on making lunches for someone else, not for yourself, unless you like being praised for your bento presentation. Bento is an art form; it indeed is something remarkable. My opinion, The majority of the recipes (60-70%) in this book are not fast & easy. If you're an athlete, this book would not be a good choice (they are recipes for "puny human"). I think this book's contents are excellent for people who are planning on making lunches for someone else, not for yourself, unless you like being praised for your bento presentation.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andrienne

    If you don't like the cutesy bento books and just want to pack a mighty lunch -- this is the book! Filled with authentic Japanese dishes, it's one of the few cookbooks that I keep. The format and the content are just too useful and actually more convenient to have on hand than looking up recipes on the Internet.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Very good for a person looking to start making bento. Lots of cute ideas and great pics. Explains the balance of a good bento box and how to get there by adding or taking away elements. Wish there was more suggestions for supplies and things but plenty on internet. Not alot of new info for someone who has some experience but still worth paging thru if you have it in the library.

  21. 4 out of 5

    April

    The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches to Go By Makiko Doi The first of her two Bento cookbooks, this one has a section on Japanese style bento, as well as a section of not so Japanese style bento. The recipes are different from the other book, so I have more lunch ideas to add to my repertoire. 4 Stars.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Allysson Murphy-Floyd

    I have yet to try any of the recipes, but reading through the book I found them easy to understand. I also appreciated the tips provided not just for the recipes, but for bento itself, and some that extend to Japanese cooking in general.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    Absolutely stellar. Loved this cookbook and I'm feeling very inspired.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Savannah Ray

    Bento made easy! This beautifully done book comes with detailed instructions, substitutes for foods and lovely pictures to show you how the author had done these recipes. In the beginning of the book there are helpful tips such as cooking the rice and packing the bento! Each recipe has a timeline with it to help you properly set up, cook, add to the bento when you need to. This book also features 'not so japanese' bentos for those who are looking for not just japanese food bentos but americanize Bento made easy! This beautifully done book comes with detailed instructions, substitutes for foods and lovely pictures to show you how the author had done these recipes. In the beginning of the book there are helpful tips such as cooking the rice and packing the bento! Each recipe has a timeline with it to help you properly set up, cook, add to the bento when you need to. This book also features 'not so japanese' bentos for those who are looking for not just japanese food bentos but americanized ones as well. Would recommend to anyone trying to get into bento making!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    Feast for the eg Yaaasss, great recipe AND AND great photos to accompany me as I learn Highly recommend for goodies and friends. Can not wait to start making better lunches

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marc

    As always, it's hard to read a cookbook. I'm one of those people that need to see how to do something then actually do it to be able to do it. I hope that makes sense. Cooking is one of those things and a good cookbook has to be able to portray all these. The Just Bento Cookbook does. It has pictures, which I think are invaluable in a cookbook and the instructions are broken down in a simple way that even I can understand. I actually think the biggest strength of this book is the mindset it forces As always, it's hard to read a cookbook. I'm one of those people that need to see how to do something then actually do it to be able to do it. I hope that makes sense. Cooking is one of those things and a good cookbook has to be able to portray all these. The Just Bento Cookbook does. It has pictures, which I think are invaluable in a cookbook and the instructions are broken down in a simple way that even I can understand. I actually think the biggest strength of this book is the mindset it forces you to have. Now when I cook things, I think about putting them aside for a meal or how they'll fit into my tiny, Bento box. Now if there's one weakness it's that not all the recipes have pictures. It starts showing pictures of the food, of how to prepare, but then it all fades. Since it's a cookbook, you don't really read it in order and bounce around so just because you get to the end, doesn't make you an expect. It's still a great book and would probably be better for those who are far superior cooks compared to me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I've always been fascinated with Bento Boxes and enjoyed eating them when I could in restaurants. I like the idea of them and eating healthier, so that's why I picked up this cookbook. The author is very good at explaining to those of us who aren't Japanese the equipment used in bento making, a glossary of terms and most helpful of all, a planning chart for each recipe about how long the entirety of the bento will take. That is my biggest concern as I am not a morning person and trying to throw I've always been fascinated with Bento Boxes and enjoyed eating them when I could in restaurants. I like the idea of them and eating healthier, so that's why I picked up this cookbook. The author is very good at explaining to those of us who aren't Japanese the equipment used in bento making, a glossary of terms and most helpful of all, a planning chart for each recipe about how long the entirety of the bento will take. That is my biggest concern as I am not a morning person and trying to throw together any lunch, much less a properly organized bento, is something that definitely needs forward planning and good timing. She had a lot of really yummy sounding recipes that I had never heard of before, and even though I didn't find whole bento box lunches I liked, there were enough individual items that I could make up my own ideas. The author also has a website, which the recipes and tips are based off of at www.justbento.com. 5 stars.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    This is a fantastic book about bentos for grown ups who are less concerned about how cute their food is and more concerned about the meal itself. It is by far the most practical book I've found on making bentos; and with the exception of only a few ingredients (e.g. mirin, dashi), you can find everything at a typical grocery store. I love this because it makes these recipes and making bentos accessible to everyone, no matter where you live. The majority of the recipes are not quick, which I thin This is a fantastic book about bentos for grown ups who are less concerned about how cute their food is and more concerned about the meal itself. It is by far the most practical book I've found on making bentos; and with the exception of only a few ingredients (e.g. mirin, dashi), you can find everything at a typical grocery store. I love this because it makes these recipes and making bentos accessible to everyone, no matter where you live. The majority of the recipes are not quick, which I think is the book's only downfall; but the author gives great tips on making the most efficient use of your time. I can totally see using the calendar template in the back of the book. Also, for someone like me, who can barely cook mac 'n cheese, the instructions are laid out so simply and thoroughly that even I think I can manage these. Overall, this is a wonderful book for the average Joe or Jane and I highly recommend it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Juli Anna

    This book is a gem. It's a slim paperback volume absolutely loaded with useful information on packing bento lunches. Things I love about this book: these are practical, non-cutesy, grown-up-portioned bento boxes, very low in the "sandwiches-cut-into-shapes" department; tons of vegetarian and fish options; almost every recipe includes several variations, so that directions for 50 bento boxes becomes an almost infinite number of combinations; nearly every box can be prepared in 15 minutes, and she This book is a gem. It's a slim paperback volume absolutely loaded with useful information on packing bento lunches. Things I love about this book: these are practical, non-cutesy, grown-up-portioned bento boxes, very low in the "sandwiches-cut-into-shapes" department; tons of vegetarian and fish options; almost every recipe includes several variations, so that directions for 50 bento boxes becomes an almost infinite number of combinations; nearly every box can be prepared in 15 minutes, and she includes a handy 15-minute timeline for each box so that you can time everything just right in the morning; great beginner Japanese cooking, including tamagoyaki, kara-age, sukiyaki, etc. I ordered this from my library with my usual routine in mind (I check out cookbooks, take pictures of the recipes I like with my iPad, and return the book), but I am going to actually order this one from Amazon, where it's like $12. I can see myself going back to this book over and over.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    Cookbook/authentic Japanese cooking (with some variations), especially for packaging into bento meals. Nice reference/cookbook. Most of these things I wouldn't take the trouble to make (for example, the Tamagoyaki, p. 19.) but if I find myself with the tools/ingredients in the future, I might want to check this book out again. For a more in-depth history and background on traditional Japanese foods, see also The Japanese Kitchen / Kimiko Barber. As with most cookbooks, I found it helpful to be ab Cookbook/authentic Japanese cooking (with some variations), especially for packaging into bento meals. Nice reference/cookbook. Most of these things I wouldn't take the trouble to make (for example, the Tamagoyaki, p. 19.) but if I find myself with the tools/ingredients in the future, I might want to check this book out again. For a more in-depth history and background on traditional Japanese foods, see also The Japanese Kitchen / Kimiko Barber. As with most cookbooks, I found it helpful to be able to borrow this from my local library rather than purchasing, so for those of you who are contemplating giving cookbooks as a gift, please check your library first.

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