Thursday, September 2, 2010

Two Lions Ravioli Bento

Two Lions Ravioli Bento, originally uploaded by sherimiya ♥.
This bento is basically no-cook. The red pepper-cheese whole wheat ravioli just got boiled along with the corn, and the broccoli and peapods got steamed with the same pot. Woo! Big lion has a nori face, and little lion has a sweet potato face on a corncob with nori details. I cut some pink flowers with a metal cutter and poked holes with a coffee straw. Fruit section has sliced plum, grapes (on bottom) and sweet strawberries. Three purple carrot discs round out the color scheme.

I'll admit I made this bento with recent bento articles in mind. Perhaps you've seen them: Here, here and here. Basically they all address the back-to-school task of preparing lunches for kids, and show pictures of cute bento examples. The responses to these articles have been mixed, with several commenters suggesting that making such a bento takes way too long for a typical busy parent to manage, and that cute lunches "cater" to spoiled kids. Well! I'm not going to argue the bento point here but I want to emphasize that what constitutes a cute detail is up to you. I can tell you that I did not take more than 15 minutes (not counting cooking time) to put this bento together. The only skill I used was the ability to punch out vegetables with a cutter and nori with a craft punch. And if I didn't have a craft punch, I would have used pieces of carrots or peas to suggest eyes and a smile (I have certainly done that before). As for spoiling kids, on the contrary: You don't spoil kids by lovingly preparing them a nutritious, fun lunch. I'd rather have them at least try the food before outright refusing it, which is what you're allowing them to do if you don't even try. I think they learn to appreciate food more when they see the care their parents put into it for them, and they'll learn to love food because it's delicious and full of positive memories. Parents can encourage this process by offering their kids' meal in an appealing way they can appreciate. I really believe this. How about you?
This bento was added at What's For Lunch. Feel free to add yours too!


  1. I feel like I am constantly debunking the time myth as well. Honestly cutting out a sandwich with a cookie cutter rather than cutting off the crust with a knife, does not take longer to prepare. The things I do are very easy to do special touches, which I want to do. I would say it may take 5 minutes more to pack a bento?! I haven't read about the spoiled kids, which I find absolutely ridiculous.

    I say keep up the wonderful work, to me your bentos are a reflection of your love and caring (and desire to feed your children nutritious foods).

  2. Thanks for your input Denise. Probably a lot of the criticism comes from just not knowing enough about it. Maybe I should try to make more of an effort to mention the specific tools and time I use. Thank you for the positive feedback!

  3. Because of cute bento that my elder son started to try a lot more food, and learn about food nutritions as he started to take part to decide on the food! So I would say that extra 10-15 minutes is well worth spending! I'm definitely with you Sheri! Keep up your great job!

  4. Here, here! I've spouted my opinion about the bento-haters enough on other platforms, so I won't spoil your sensible approach and peaceful blog with my snarky-snark remarks. :)

    But I would like to say that I agree with you 100%!

    Oh..and super cute lion!

  5. I am no where near where you and others are in cuteness & talent with your lunches. However my goal is to pack an appealing & healthy lunch for my kids. I started to do "bento" style lunch boxes so that they can see their entire lunch -- at that point they can choose what to eat & how much & in what order. I think the more appealing & colorful the lunch is, the more likely they are to eat it!! :) I have gotten the comments about the way I pack the lunches ("how do you have time") but it doesn't take but a few minutes longer & I'm having my coffee at the same time so it all works out!

    Thanks for the great ideas & fantastic looking lunch boxes!

  6. KidsDreamWork,
    Thanks for sharing your experience with your son. It's great to have made a difference in his choices!

    Thanks a lot Debra for your support!

    It's good to hear from a busy mom like yourself who finds time for your kids' nutrition because it's important to you. Thanks!

  7. I am totally agree with you Sheri! I don't see how prepare bento for our kids will spoil them. It's something I enjoy to do and I put all my heart into it when prepare their bento. So I don't mind taking sometime to prepare it for my kids. For some people that always have a negative comment for bento moms, of course we don't expect everyone will prepare bento for their kids but at least they should appreciate what we do for our kids. Because we do it with love ... ♥

    Your ravioli never fail ... So cute and delicious bento!

  8. Oh Sheri, your kids are so blessed to have such wonderful and wise mom! I believe in every single word you said and agree with you completely!

    You also can express your opinion about the subject in such gentle and sensible way ( eh, holding myself here not to open my mouth :D, that would be.. flaming ahahahha ).

    A little touch of love in everything we do for our kids is not spoiling them. Love is good to give and to show, always. And about bento.. nobody is forcing anyone to make cute presentations of lunches and snacks. People are free to do whatever they want. You eat, read,watch, spend time in what suits and pleases you the most. That doesn´t necessary mean everyone else live the same way as you do.

    Sharing experiences is what most of the us do (including "bento moms"). Respecting what other people have to share and learning a little something good from that is just a positive way to go.


    Can I have that ravioli too? ;)

  9. ahahah, now I read my comment (so tired to type!). In the last sentence I supposed to say "most of us" (us=people) and I just mixed everything up! LOL

  10. i love these lions (i'm always a fan of your ravioli creatures!) and couldn't agree more with your points about bento-making. the part about making positive memories really touches me... i know i only "know" your family from our interactions online, but the impression you make is that you are a mom who knows how to be tough when she has to, who has her kids' best interests at heart, and who wants to teach her kids about nutrition (and her culture!) through food. i think that's admirable and has nothing to do with "spoiling."

  11. Well said!!!
    And those purple carrots look just beautiful! I haven't found them anywhere around here...I'll have to try obtaining some seeds and growing them myself I guess.

  12. I have mixed reviews from my friends also. Some thinks that I'm spoiling my lil one (some even say "i hope my child doesn't see yours cuz they'll be jealous!" or "gee, you are making me look like a bad mom with just a regular sandwich") while some said taht I'm an AWESOME mom. I don't have much time to pack lunch for my lil one EVERYDAY, so I only do them seldomly, when I have time. I think those who complain about us probably because they work, and they don't have creative minds. I admire your ability to make these bentos and it's an excellent way to get the kids to try new things, that's for sure! keep up the good work and mind their own busines! :)

  13. Sheri, I've long hoped that you might publish a book to share your sensible yet delightful, nutritious and playful bentos with a wider public!

    They reconcile all the supposed opposition between "what kids like" and what is healthy with a sublime and heartfelt blending of the two and could give so many a whole new perspective on feeding their children (and themselves)...

    Really love the jewel-like purple carrots and the sweetly regal lions!

  14. WOW! This is a work of art! I love the lion corn with carrot insert.

  15. I agree with Bentobird! Write a book! You are so good at making bento and really making it accessible. An understanding of color and arrangement is really what you are great at. It's doesn't have to take hours to make a cute and beautiful, nutritious bento. Don't listen to the haters! A friend of mine posted this on her facebook and I think it applies: "Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, & being nothing." Aristotle

    You rock!

  16. I always adore your lion ravioli. Considering that my son's schools mascot is a lion, I think I may need to include one of these in the near furture =)

  17. So overwhelmed by all the positive comments from you, the bento community! I'm even more convinced that bento should not be relegated to the elite artistic charabenists alone. Folks of all experience levels can enjoy making bento for all of the reasons you've listed. Let's hope the word gets out and people learn more about how bento can benefit them and their kids.

    You are all fantastic, and I'm so lucky to have you stop by here!! Love ya!

  18. Hi Sheri,
    I tried to copy your lion's idea with the corn, but mine isn't look as cute as yours, I need more practice. ^_^
    I love your blog :):) keep up the wonderful works!

  19. I bet it was well-received just the same!! Glad you could try it! Thanks a lot Just a MOM :D

  20. My little one starts kindergarten tomorrow, and I am so happy to have come across your blog about a week ago. I don't have all the fancy tools, but made due with what I had on hand. Sending him with my first attempt at making a bento. Posted a pic on my FB and already getting positive feed back. Thanks for the inspiration =)

  21. I'm so happy to hear about your first bento accomplishment vholton! I always encourage people to use what they already have to cut, shape and arrange the food items in a pleasing manner. You'd be surprised how easy it really is!
    Notes like yours always make my day.
    Thanks very much for letting me know, and good luck for the rest of the year!