I found this page recently on ehow.com: -http://www.ehow.com/list7467388bento-tips.html- (yes I know, I’m not making it a clickable link on purpose, because in my opinions it’s not a good reference page and doesn’t deserve ‘link juice’, as you’ll see below)
If you have some time to kill, please take a look at that page. It basically uses JustBento has the primary source, but misinterprets things enough to confuse anyone new to bento. It links to my Top 10 rules list  and seems to get most of it’s informatio’ from there, but gets it just wrong enough to be, well, wrong. It also links to Biggie’s FAQ page  on Lunch in a Box, and my Keeping your lunch safe  page. But mostly, it’s re-writing or interpreting the Top 10 Rules. (That page has been linked to or copied verbatim on many other sites, which is fine by me, and better by far than this re-interpretation.)
For instance, it says (emphasis mine):
“Stick to a maximum of five items per bento box. Overpacking will only result in crowded-looking boxes and even waste food. Remember that this is a lunch box for one person, not a full dinner. Bentos typically contain three food items.”
The bolded part is like…whaaaat? My original Top 10 rule that corresponds to this one is no. 2, which says:
“I don’t have the time to spend making multiple items for my bentos, unless it’s for a party or something. I stick to a maximum of four or five different items per box for everyday bentos; many of my bentos contain three items or less. “
…which is just an everyday, speed-bento tip. Overpacking wastes food? Crowded looking boxes? WTF? You can put as many items in a box as you want. A bento box is meant to be ‘overpacked’ or packed tightly, to avoid shifting around during transit.
And ironically, the writer on ehow says later, “pack compactly”. I can just imagine someone seeing both rules and getting utterly confused.
And this one under Use Leftovers utterly killed me:
“Making food primarily for bentos can be difficult to make due to the small portions required. However, using leftover food is a viable option. Leftover food makes it easier to assemble inside a bento and is convenient to make. However, bento makers should reheat cooked food so that there are less micro-organisms growing on the food. This will help keep food from becoming less fresh and edible. The Just Bento website recommends that three-day-old food be reheated in a pan rather than in the microwave. This will quickly kill off any organisms that are likely on the top of the food.”
This seems to come from this paragraph on my Keeping Safe page:
“In some cases it can be okay to pack food direct from the refrigerator, such as pre-made salads, instant pickles, and so on. Do use common sense though; packing leftovers from the night before is probably okay, but leftovers from 3 days ago gets iffy. “
In other words I am saying that people should think twice before packing 3-day old (or well, simply old) leftovers into a bento box, but this writer is saying - and worse, attributing it to me - that 3-day old leftovers are fine if they’re heated up in a pan. WHAT? (Note: Japanese bento books do recommend re-heating food in a pan to kill off bad micro-organisms that form on the surface.)
Now I am wondering - did I not make myself clear enough when I wrote those two posts? How can they be misinterpreted so badly? In other words, is it me or is it them?
The Big Onigiri.
- Wherever you go, there you are. -