Reviews - What do customers think about Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals on the Go?
bento boxes made easy Jun 30, 2008
This is well planned out. and it actually helps you plan out your boxes. Although the bento display is not as creative or cute as some would like it, the dishes themselves are fantastic. A great addition to your bento box cookbook collection.
Other recommended reads:
Easy Japanese Pickling in Five Minutes to One Day: 101 Full-Color Recipes for Authentic Tsukemono
Harumi's Japanese Cooking: More than 75 Authentic and Contemporary Recipes from Japan's Most PopularCooking Expert
Harumi's Japanese Home Cooking: Simple, Elegant Recipes for Contemporary Tastes
recipe book, not directions May 14, 2008
This little book is stuffed full of recipes that make good bento boxes. It is ,however, intended for a Japanese audience and assumes a certain level of familiarity with basic Japanese food preparation. Don't let that scare you off, though, this is a great book!
If you are not familiar with basic Japanese food and ingredients, i suggest you also buy "the Asian Grocery Store demystified" or "a dictionary of Japanese food" or some other basic guide to Japanese cooking to go with this book. Most of the ingredients listed can be found in any large Asian supermarket, or failing that can be substituted with items found in typical American Supermarkets, if you are willing to take a small amount of time to figure out what the ingredient is meant to be doing in the recipe. (is it for taste? texture?) Part of this will depend on where you live, of course, but here in Philadelphia i had no problem finding all the ingredients.
what this book offers is a LOAD of Japanese and Japanese style recipes that are meant to be packed for lunch or dinner. Many of them can be prepared ahead, and all of them are ideal candidates for the bento box or picnic lunch! Most other Japanese recipe books are full of wonderful foods, but with no guarantee that they will be able to survive packing and toting around.
jammed with recipes, its a bargain for anyone looking to make healthy meals on the go.
Geared for Japanese (or Japanese Grocers!) Apr 21, 2008
I like the concept of this book (small meals with a Japanese flavor that are made for taking and eating on the go). The recipes and ingredients are geared for those familiar with Japanese ingredients and cooking techniques AND who have easy access to a Japanese or Asian grocery store. I'm not familiar, and don't have easy access, so this book isn't very practical for me. Therefore, I decided to return it using this site's easy return policy. Instead, I'll search for a book that not only has great Japanese recipes but has ones that I'll actually be able to make!
Excellent Bento Lunches Jan 26, 2008
This book is both an excellent introduction to bento lunches and a great inspiration for experienced cooks packing bentos for their loved ones. I have made nearly every recipe in this book and I have not been disappointed. Each recipe is made in a small quantity and most can be made in under 30 minutes, making this an excellent cookbook for small households (1-2 people). I have also increased the quantities to adapt the recipes for dinner. There are pictures to accompany each recipe, but for the beginner it might be worthwhile to pick up an additional guide to Japanese cooking. As with anything it might take some experimentation to adjust the recipes to your liking.
I've been running a bento blog for going on 2 years and found the best way to learn about bento is to search web for Japanese bento blogs. Type the word "bento" in hiragana or try photo sites. This book is an excellent accompaniment to that sort of research because it enables you to identify what many of the items are and provides you with a recipe.
My only complaint is the book should have been spiral bound and laminated. My copy is in pretty bad shape from being used so much.
Nice pictorial intro to bento, but not too practical Dec 15, 2007
I run two food blogs, one focused mainly on Japanese cooking, the other just on bento lunches. (I'm Japanese but live outside of Japan.) I finally got around to taking a look at this book.
The pros: it's a nice visual introduction to fairly traditional bento lunch boxes. (Keep in mind that 'bento' can be something other than a portable lunch.) The presentation is very attractive.
The cons: even as someone familiar with the ingredients and cooking methods I thought that this book looked rather intimidating, because just about every single recipe calls for ingredients that are only available from Japanese groceries. Actually quite a lot of the recipes call for ingredientat that would be very hard to get outside of Japan. Clearly this is a translation of a Japanese bento book, and no consideration is given at all to how available certain ingredients may be or not. (This is something I always try to keep in mind on my sites.)
The presentation feels just a bit outdated to me. Current bento books in Japan have a much simpler, modern feel. The instructions are also rather abbreviated, as if the intended audience is the fairly experienced Japanese cook (which it probably was when it was written originally).
So, I think for most people who don't live in Japan this would be a nice picture book to have around, perhaps as inspiration and eye candy, but perhaps not too useful for everyday lunch making for a typical American.