I nearly lost Everyday Bento. A six-year-old happened upon it lying on my desk and whisked it away. I found her turning the pages slowly, almost salivating at the favorite treats she found. Bentos are a Japanese idea – small reusable boxes filled with single portions of lunch fare. They demand three vital ingredients: love, ingenuity, and patience. And time is of the essence since sadly, few parents can afford even the few minutes to create such a magical treat as a cat-and-mouse bento; the strawberry mice with almond slices for ears, the cutout cat shapes laid on slices of sliced turkey squares.

[alert variation=”alert-info”]Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Formats: Paperback, Kindle
Purchase: Powell’s | Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | iBooks[/alert]

Bentos are traditional adult lunch boxes assembled by caring loved ones. Wendy Thorpe Copley’s imagination soared as she dreamed up ideas to please schoolchildren. The 50 brilliantly colored images will tempt any youngster bored with the daily plastic sandwich bag.

Each double-page spread introduces a fun, elegant, or funky image; a woodland scene with a hedgehog cut from a slice of whole wheat bread, broccoli “trees” and shelled edamame scattered over the forest floor, an undersea bento with hot dogs carved into octopuses and kiwi starfish, a Star Wars combination, even building bricks made from tiny carrot slices and cantaloupe resembling Legos.

Lists of edible ingredients, equipment, and instructions accompany every image.  Even if you don’t have the time to make the bento boxes or a doting family member to make one for you, the book itself will satisfy.

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