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The Last of the Mochiko (Bento 325)

Now that I’ve come up with such a cool post subject, I wish I’d done a Last of the Mohicans themed bento or something. Maybe before I eat it I can just yell at my bento, “I WILL FIND YOU!” The office might have me committed, but I’d sure have a great laugh.

Before I get to lunch, I wanted to share that I was recently quoted in an article by Lynn Andriani of If you have a chance, please take a look at it here: Bento Box Boom.

Hopefully by now you’ve figured out that this is the last of the mochiko chicken in my freezer. Usually I’m the type to remember food in the freezer when it’s started to look like an iceberg, but this year I’m trying to be a lot better about using all my food up. So far, so good!

Yesterday was my niece’s 5th birthday and both Grandma J’s and my sis-in-law’s cameras were dying, so I took mine out to take pictures of the cake and stuff. As is usual with my scatterbrainedness, I forgot my camera at their house. For that reason, I have no bentorial today. ;( These pictures were taken with Mr. Pikko’s camera phone.

My rice is mixed with liberal amounts of furikake today because I cooked a cup of rice yesterday and my rice cooker, which constantly vexes me by drying out and yellowing my rice after like 12 hours, wasn’t feeling very nice, as usual. I usually forget or am too lazy to put the rice into a tupperware, so I end up leaving it in the cooker to dehydrate. This morning some of it was still good, but it looked terrible so I did what I could to camoflage it. Not that I’m complaining, I love furikake. I put the mochiko chicken next to it and then added some cute ocean friends food picks.

Next, I took a frozen imitation crab stick, which I’d defrosted earlier and sliced it into three pieces, layering them nicely next to each other. I’m a big fan of odd numbered things, so I squeezed the third in. There are some cucumber slices cut into quarters put into a yellow silicone mini cupcake cup and then baby carrot sticks tucked in. One cherry tomato went on top of the cukes. The bento was missing some yellow, so I added two slices of takuan next to the chicken and finally some parsley.

In the second layer I decided to try a checkered apple. It was really easy to make, though as you can see I need some practice to make the rows come out square. There are also sliced clementine, grapes, and raspberries in that layer. I filled the spaces with parsley.

It looks like this stuff sticks out so much that the box won’t close, but I arrange things like this for better photographs. After I’m done, I turn the apple slice down so that it’s flat and then lay the orange slices down as well. I had to eat one grape and one raspberry to fit the cover down. The top layer wasn’t that hard to close since the crab is soft and there was some space underneath where it could move down when pushed upon.

I forgot to mention last week that Baby Girl didn’t get to eat all of her bento at school. They sent it home with a note with some bs about how she “had to be served state approved lunch” or something. We’re guessing this is another way of saying that they didn’t want to make the other kids jealous. If Baby Girl’s details are to be believed, when they told her she couldn’t eat her special bento, she started to cry, which led to them letting her eat the little girl onigiri because it was missing from the box. So… I probably won’t be sending Buddy to school with a bento on Boy’s Day. Unless I want to gamble that his teacher is that much cooler.

My trip to Hilo was short, but sweet. Me and my brother went to drive by Cafe 100 to make fake sobbing noises since they’re closed on Sundays. Then we drove by Y’s to sob for real because they weren’t open either. I signed up for Hawaiian’s guaranteed $43 one way airfare though, so maybe I’ll take a longer weekend to go soon.

I leave you with one of the best scenes from the movie. Caution: Scene contains some violence.

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  • That’s ridiculous they didn’t let her eat it. Does no one in the whole state of Hawaii take a lunchbox to school? I’d be checking with the administration about that. Most school lunches are so bad, state approved or not, that you as a parent should have the right to send a lunch with your chilid if you want to.

  • Yeah that’s why we think it wasn’t the real reason. Cause for one, preschools aren’t even part of the Dept of Education!

  • that’s crazy about them not letting her eat her bento! school lunch is a major reason we started doing bento lunches. i thought my kiddo was exaggerating about how awful the school lunches were until the school actually sent a letter apologizing for both the quality and quantity of food (there was a new catering company). after that, we started packing. poor kid, to have a special bento and not be able to eat it must have been torture!

  • that is so sad they wouldn’t let your daughter eat her bento! the whole point of having a mom that makes awesome bentos is to make the other kids jealous! 🙂

  • What an injustice to the child! And utter nonsense too! Once I was told that I shouldn’t pack SPAM (pork) for my kids bento but much as I respect other peoples religious beliefs, I trust that our rights and religious beliefs should also be respected.

    I live in a multi-racial country and the Muslims don’t eat pork, the Hindus don’t eat beef and the Vegans don’t eat chickens (no offense) so what is there left for us to eat?

  • Well, at least now I know not to waste my time until kindergarten starts. *hmph*

    @Bento Pet If you spend all your time afraid of who you’ll offend, you’ll never have peace of mind. Who told you not to pack the spam? It’s not like you’re making the other kids eat it.

  • Samantha

    I should get some furikake one day to try it out on some rice. I’ve never had it, and usually have to use some kind of sauce to mix with rice. :p How do you checker the apple? I’m trying to picture it in my mind, but I can only see myself holding both a knife and a peeler, stabbing an apple. XD!

    Poor kiddo! It must have been a sad day for her, not being able to eat her bento.. That’s just not right, taking special food that Mommy made just for her and replacing it with something everyone else is eating. It would be like.. taking cake away from a kid on their birthday!

    What’s takuan? I’ve never heard of it. 😀

  • Wow. I’d say that’s a gross intrusion by the state of Hawai’i. What the heck? Parents know best. And bentos are good for you! Do they try to overstep and micromanage your child-rearing in any other wacktastic ways?

  • Shannon

    I’d really like to know their justification. I scrolled back to see what the bento was and it had fruit, veg, grain and protein. What could they possibly complain about? And what did they serve her instead?

  • I took a quarter of an apple, sliced the ends off, then cut a grid pattern with the knife about maybe half a cm into the flesh. Then I stuck the knife under every other square and they basically just popped out.

    Shannon: They gave her the school lunch everyone else ate.

    I guess all in all, it’s not that big a deal because she ate it for dinner, but I was still pretty urked.

  • Fiona

    Kudos on the mention at I read and loved the article. I actually may print it out too. I followed you over here from Live Journal. I hope to aspire to your level of bento-making someday:)


  • Forgot to add for Samantha: Takuan is pickled daikon radish. We also call it “koko”, though it’s possible that’s only in Hawaii.

  • Brother

    you know, gotta love Cafe 100. I went there on Monday and ordered their Super Loco and it only cost $5.25. Its insane! Food was awsome and they gave ALOT of it.

    Better than paying almost 10 bux for a regular Loco Moco at Zippy’s.

  • Amy

    Maki just posted an excellent tutorial about how to make apple bunnies and checkered apples!

  • LizAndrsn

    My guess is the school’s kitchen counts on the money that is brought in for serving a specific number of students per day. Ugly as that is, it’s what’s become of the Food Program in todays’ schools. Pooh on them!

    Do you suppose that chicken could be baked in the oven — on a rack — and still come out good? I’m not one to fry things, but I’m terribly tempted 🙂

  • Hmm, I don’t know about baking, but that sure sounds like something interesting to try! It’s a wet batter though, so I’m leery!

  • Shannon

    Pikko, I meant, what was in the school lunch that they are saying it was more nutritious? You’re probably right that they just want to discourage home lunches, especially those are pretty as yours.

  • Oh, her note didn’t say anything about it being more nutritious, just that she had to eat that instead of mine. Whatever!

  • Rhiannon

    wow, I think I would show up at the school and go on the war wagon on that one, but….I’m like that. What if your kid had allergies and the food they gave her was making her sick? What if she needed to be on a special diet for a health reason?

    As someone else mentioned I suspect it has to do with the school making money somehow but ya know what? They aren’t there to make money (or dictate how you feed your kids.) they are there to teach the kids the basics and keep an eye on them in a safe environment.

    (it just really pisses me off when someone dumps on young kids like that for stupid reasons. Reminds of my mom having to go to the school and telling them “I don’t care if you think the book she’s carrying around to read is to advanced for her or not, so long as she’s not bringing in hustler or playboy you let her read whatever she wants to read!” (this was over me reading the Hobbit in 3rd grade and the teacher telling me I was a pretentious brat and threatening to spank me. The next year in fourth grade when we had iowa tests my mother made it a point to take the results and shove it in the teachers face, I was reading at a college level in 4th grade.)

    People on thier petty power kicks tick me off.

    Your bentos always look so pretty, and you have cool boxes. I’m jealous. I’m having a terrible time finding boxes I like and can afford.

  • Victoria

    I make bento because it’s easy to make gluten and casein free for our autistic son. He has feeding issues and the cute lunches make foods he would normally not touch far more appealing, so he sometimes gets a bento three times a day. If a teacher told me my kid ate a state-approved lunch, I’d be at school the next day ensuring he got what I sent him. Thanks to bento my son is willing to touch vegetables (which is the first level of tolerance towards eating them) and I won’t let anyone get in the way of his fantastic progress!

  • Victoria

    There have been schools that are trying to ban bag lunches, but it’s been ruled to be illegal to do this. I hope everything worked out so she could have her cute little bentos again!