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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Make mine obento please

If food-talk bores you, then this would be a good post to skip. :-) We've been getting a whole bunch of questions about the girls' food and bento accessories lately, so I created a photo set called "Fun with Food:" (thumbnails, detail, slideshow) In that set, you'll find snapshots of the latest cool equipment we're playing with (including boxes, cups, picks, and molds) and my experiments with tempting toddler plates. I'll add a permanent link to this photo set in the sidebar and toss new pics in there if the food gets four thumbs up from our incredibly discriminating little twincesses. Disclaimers: Ok, I'm totally joking about the "discriminating" part -- the girls still eat sand, so they're probably not considered gourmets just yet. But they honestly do love anything bento-ish. Also please keep in mind that I am a terrible cook and lazy to boot, so almost all of these meals and snacks are made in 5 to 10 minutes with foods that require little or no actual cooking on my part. Do You Want That Here Or To-Go?: Most of these meals are consumed on the premises, so I don't have to worry about the big-league challenges in true bento: transport, safe temperatures, food migration when the toddler shakes things up, etc. And, if something doesn't fit in my bento box, I can just toss it in an animal cup and call it a "side meal." Nice! Where to Get Your Own Stuff: Half of our accessories were purchased online in the kitchen section of Ichiban Kan (like the rice ball molds, animal lunchbox cases, lunchbox belt, the food picks, and the egg molds here and here which will be delivered soon (squeal!) for a dollar or two each. One caveat, the online storefront is just getting started and inventory levels (and links) seem to fluctuate wildly. The rest of our bento stuff was purchased by my mom in a local Japanese dollar store called Daiso (I think they have them all over the place now). We've Created a Monster: Making fun food has turned out to be a blast for everybody, and I just love hearing the girls say "oooooo!" when we put something creative in front of them. Ro and Ree want to help with everything -- squishing rice into molds and all over the floor, using their own little cutting boards and butter knives to mangle vegetables, and dragging random food out of the fridge and saying "You want dis mama?" "I really ike dis Mama!" and "We have dis before Mama? Yep, they've definitely embraced the concept of cute/fun food. So much so that when TubaDad handed them plain strawberries the other day (oh the indignity!), Ree handed hers right back and demanded "I need eyes!" Heh.