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Review: Skip Hop’s Bento Mealtime Kit

Ever since I graduated college with a degree in English I’ve had this little bird over my shoulder chirping about how stupid it is that I got that degree and then proceeded to do nothing with it except tell PhDs I work with that I’d be more than happy to review and proofread their work. It’s a valuable asset for sure, as I’ve found out through the years that exceptionally smart people often turn out to be rather terrible writers. Still, the little bird chirped.

Luckily, with six blogs now under my wings, I’m now able to spew forth the words swirling around in my head at a feverish pace, provided that I find enough time after cooking dinner, before watching tv, and before passing out for the night. Yesterday, I started my daughter on her road to blog writing by getting her to do an “extra” book report on one of our books at home. I posted it on my new review blog, Review Addicts, last night: Ladybug’s Birthday Review. Since she’s only in the first grade, she’s still learning how to spell and doesn’t yet know how to type, so I had her write it out in pencil in a tablet and copied it all down for her, typos and all, so that later we can come back and read her old work.

I’ll link to her little reviews from time to time and if you can, post a little encouraging comment for her so that she keeps it up! She was a bit embarrassed about not knowing some words and hoped that no one would laugh at her. Mr. Pikko suggested that I scan in her written work so that people know I’m not kidding about the typos. Maybe I’ll start doing that after I get her a tablet of her own.

Bulgogi Bento

Today I’ll be reviewing a product sent to me for review by the nice folks over at Skip Hop called the Bento Mealtime Kit. Retailing for $24, this set includes six colorful little boxes, one ice pack, and zipper lunch bag.

In my lunch, I have some leftover bulgogi, which I reviewed on Learn 2 Cook. To go along with it I have some rice and fresh berries.

Marketed for mothers on the go, this bento set contains two sets of three boxes that interlock with each other by little attachments on the side of each container.

Attaching sides

The containers easily snap together and come apart easily as well. Each container comes with a secure top with a cute floral design that snaps into place and keeps liquids safely inside. I was able to transport my lunch with a lot of jostling around and luckily the bulgogi sauce stayed secure.

The downside of such a secure top is that it’s actually moderately difficult to snap on and off, meaning it probably would be too hard for a small child to open at school without a bit of practice at home. Their website suggests that opening and closing them several times should loosen things up. Each of the containers are small, about 3 1/2″, but three containers was more than enough room for a nicely sized lunch. Were we to take snacks along with us on a trip to the zoo or something, this would be a great way to store a small variety of things for us to nibble on.

Zipper Bag

The insulated zipper bag will fit three containers snapped together and the included ice pack will fit nicely on top of them before you close the bag. I packed my lunch and hung the bag on one of my bike handlebars when I headed off to work and it was convenient and handy to carry my lunch that way. On the side is a band for you to attach a water bottle.

The part about this set that confuses me is how the bag only fits three containers while you’re given a total of six. I could understand if the bag were bigger or the set was cheaper with less boxes, but it’s not. If anyone can think of a reason for this, by all means let me know! That little thing aside, these boxes make really good food containers for small amounts of leftovers. You know, like when you have only a ladle’s worth of baked beans left and everyone refuses to eat it, but the thought of using a whole Ziploc container brings you physical pain? Yeah, use these.

The ice pack doesn’t really strike me as being very useful other than it being shaped especially for the bag. It’s in a plastic bag that I can see my kids cutting open out of curiosity or something that could easily get punctured, though I admit that you could say that about most ice packs. I probably won’t use the ice pack, but it’s nice that it was included anyway.

Bulgogi Bento 2

All in all, I think it’s a good deal for something as sturdy and colorful as this set. If it had only come with the three containers I’d have said it’s way too pricey, but with six it makes it a bit more reasonable, especially when you take into consideration that the quality of the plastic seems better than the cheapie stuff. I have no scientific proof of this, but when I held it in my hands, that was the impression I got.