The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches To Go

The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches To Go

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by Makiko Itoh, Makiko Doi
     
 

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Bento fever has recently swept across the West, fuelled not just by an interest in cute, decorative food, but by the desire for an economical, healthy approach to eating in these times of recession. A leading light in the popularization of bento has been Makiko Itoh, whose blog, Just Bento, boasts hundreds of thousands of subscribers, all of whom love her delicious

Overview

Bento fever has recently swept across the West, fuelled not just by an interest in cute, decorative food, but by the desire for an economical, healthy approach to eating in these times of recession. A leading light in the popularization of bento has been Makiko Itoh, whose blog, Just Bento, boasts hundreds of thousands of subscribers, all of whom love her delicious recipes and practical bento-making tips.

Now, for the first time, Itoh's expertise has been packaged in book form. The Just Bento Cookbook contains twenty-five attractive bento menus and more than 150 recipes, all of which have been specially created for this book and are divided into two main sections, Japanese and Not-so-Japanese. The Japanese section includes classic bento menus such as Salted Salmon Bento and Chicken Karaage Bento, while the Not-so-Japanese section shows how Western food can be adapted to the bento concept, with delicious menus such as Summer Vegetable Gratin Bento and Everyone Loves a Pie Bento.

In addition to the recipes, Itoh includes sections on bento-making equipment, bento staples to make and stock, basic cooking techniques, and a glossary. A planning-chart section is included, showing readers how they might organize their weekly bento making.

In a market full of bento books that emphasize the cute and the decorative, this book stands out for its emphasis on the health and economic benefits of the bento, and for the very practical guidelines on how to ensure that a daily bento lunch is something that can easily be incorporated into anyone's lifestyle. This is the perfect book for the bento beginner, but will also provide a wealth of new bento recipe ideas and tips for Just Bento aficionados.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Itoh, who blogs at justhungry.com and justbento.com, guides readers to build a beautiful bento lunch that is also nutritious and filling for both adults and children. She begins with recipes for traditional Japanese-style bento lunches, rice accompanied by various salads, meats/seafood, and sometimes a pickled treat. The next section of the book has some inventive and more-Americanized meals—such as a meze lunch complete with baba ghanoush and koftas—which look just as pretty in their boxed homes as the Japanese dishes. A particularly simple bento for the American kitchen is the Deconstructed Salade Niçoise Bento, which involves pantry staples such as tuna, olives, and potatoes. Itoh includes a simple glossary of Japanese ingredients and sections on bento staples (think frozen precooked rice and dashi stock), types of bento boxes, and websites for supplies.Verdict A chapter on easy bento lunches—with only one or two dishes per box and an emphasis on leftovers—is the only thing this book is missing. Recommended for fans of bento lunches and anyone trying to get out of a lunch rut!—Claire Moitra, MLS, Providence

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781568363936
Publisher:
Kodansha USA Publishing
Publication date:
12/09/2011
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
167,903
Product dimensions:
7.40(w) x 9.80(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Makiko Itoh was born in Tokyo and raised and educated in Japan, England and the U.S. After years of living in New York City, she moved to Switzerland, where it was difficult to find authentic Japanese cooking. This inspired her to go back to her roots and learn how to cook the food her mother and grandmother used to make, using the limited range of Japanese ingredients available to her. In 2003 she started a blog about Japanese cooking called Just Hungry, and in 2007, a companion blog about bento box lunches called Just Bento. Just Hungry is the most popular blog about Japanese cooking in English, and Just Bento boasts more than 220,000 subscribers and millions of page views a month.

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The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches to Go 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Lemonymel More than 1 year ago
As a regular visitor to the "Just Bento" and "Just Hungry" websites, I have been anticipating this book release for a while now, and I can say it was certainly worth the wait! The Just Bento Cookbook clearly illustrates step-by-step methods, provides variations on themes, and delivers the same approachable type of instruction provided on the aforementioned sites. It does not overwhelm, but is not condescending, so it is a helpful tool for both the beginner and the experienced bento maker. What I really like about it is the practicality - the author provides solutions for dieting, cost control, finding equipment and supplies, and using non-traditional components. While many bento books focus on the "cute" factor, this one focuses more on nutritional balance and flavors. It is a fantastic cookbook and would make an excellent gift for anyone who enjoys healthy eating or bento!
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