Sunday, January 26, 2020

Bento for Beginners: 60 Recipes for Easy Bento Box Lunches

Bento for Beginners is a tutorial and recipe collection by Chika Ravitch. Due out 4th Feb 2020 from Callisto on their Rockridge Press imprint, it's 164 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats (ebook available now). It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

Bento can be healthy and appealing with eye appeal, organization, variety, and portion control in one package. This collection also shows that it doesn't need to be very time consuming or difficult.

The introduction includes suggestions and tutorials for basic bento followed by chapters with 7 Japanese style bentos,  7 western style meals, and 7 fusion style. These are complete meals with the base recipes and ingredients included.

Each of the recipes includes an introductory description, ingredients listed in a bullet point sidebar (only US measurements given, with a metric conversion chart in the appendix), and step by step instructions. The nutritional info provided includes calories, fat, sodium, cholesterol, carbs, fiber, sugar, and protein . Very few of the recipes are photographed, but the completed boxes are illustrated very well and clearly. Serving suggestions are attractive and appropriate. There are some vegan friendly recipes. Special notes about the recipes (nut free, gluten free, vegan, etc) are listed in the header bars at the beginning of each individual recipe. The book does include a solid cross referenced index which includes ingredients.

The recipe ingredients themselves are easily sourced and will be available at most well stocked grocery stores.

Well written and organized, this could be a fun addition to the lunchbox repertoire. It would also lend itself very well to fans of meal planning or once-a-week-cooking. Most of these recipes make several servings which could easily be used for a week's lunch planning.

Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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