With the 1900s came a resurgence in the popularity of this traditional lunch container, due to the increased use of train stations, microwaves, convenience stores and supermarkets. For a time, owning or using a bento was controversial. The wealth gap that developed in Japan after World War I saw bento boxes transition from a simple lunch staple to a status symbol. Eventually, the local Ministry of Education put its food down and instituted a standard nutritional lunch for all kids. Late in the century, Japanese-American sugar plantation workers introduced the concept to the West.
The Bento Box Today
These days, it feels as though there are as many bento box recipes as there are stars in the sky! School kids all over the world use these compartmentalized containers. American workers also enjoy the simplicity of filling each section with a different element of the meal.
With help from websites like Pinterest, parents are leaning in to the concept of crafting adorable creations out of rice for their kids to enjoy (and show their friends). Some moms and dads even get up early just to make beautiful lunch spreads! The bento box has truly transformed the way the world thinks of lunch.
Make Your Own!
While there are incalculable recipes and instructions for making absolutely kawaii bento arrangements out there, you can take a page from the book of tradition and make your own bento box with minimal effort.
The elements of a bento box don’t need to be complex or even all that creative! A traditional bento can consist of rice or noodles, a protein such as fish or tofu and some vegetables.
You have endless themes to play with, so feel free to take a creative route or stick to traditional recipes! Whether you’re more in a chicken and noodles mood or you want some light fish over rice, you can find a bento box recipe perfect for lunchtime.