Bonjour! Today I am going to talk about something very important in bento - colors. I am sure many of you know this already and yes I can see you packing red tomatoes next to green beans in your bento box while your rice cooker is cooking white rice. In the world of Japanese cuisine, white, black, green, red, yellow are the colors to be mindful of. Delicately cut and served food in these beautiful colors entertain our eyes first and it is followed by a wonderful experience of flavors and taste in our mouth. Ummmm… I am getting hungry! I think this also applies to bento. Bento is a packed food which was cooked some hours ago. In order to make it as tasteful as possible, there are several things we can do and I think putting pretty colors in our bento box and making it appetizing is one of the easiest thing we can try.
But how can we get better at this? Is there any special formula to do this? Please allow me to present a project I did in July this year. I was trying to find a way to better coordinate colors in my bento box and I made myself a project called ”Color theme bento”. A theme of a color was decided each day and I made a bento in that particular color. Although the range of the color selection I could use became very limited, I loved throwing myself into the limited frame and all the process to create something new in the chosen color was very educational. The food in our bento box are tightly packed together and its colors are to complement each other as well. Let me explain this in my color-theme bentos.
＊Orange I made chicken rice with ketchup. White is the color to complement orange, here I used pickled white radish. You can also use spaghetti with tomato sauce or vegetables like carrots and pumpkins. A color psycology says orange calls to mind feelings of excitement and enthusiasm. How about making an orange-theme bento for Monday to cheer you up? Ketchup and carrots are good players in bento cooking!
Yellow. These tiny flakes are made with boiled egg yolk. I used corns, egg pasta and a lemon in this bento. You can add curry powder, mayonnaise or mustad, they are all yellowish. Cheese is also yellow and you can cook it together with eggs. Eggs are very good in bento, tamagoyaki is a staple item in bento but you can also make a thin omelet and shredd it, a fried egg, scrambled eggs, an omelet, an OMURICE, a fried egg cooked in japanese soy sauce and dashi is also very good. Deep fried food tends to be a dark item but it is enlighted by yellow in bento. (Ì have deep fried chicken fillet in here)
＊Green Snow peas and spaghetti Genovese. You can use many kinds of green vegetables. Red always complement green.
＊ Red Red paprika, Surimi (fake crab stick), radish, tomato. Green always complement red. Deep fried food go well with red, red makes it brighter in color.
＊ No white This was a fun experiment. I was a little tired of having white rice so often and changed to piraf. It totally changed the impression of my bento. If you are packing white rice often, I recommend this for a change!
Bento and colors are closely connected with each other. To get better at color cordination, I really recommend this color-theme bento!
Rie - Bento specialist, Oslo, Norway
Hello, I love to cook and bake and I enjoy making bento everyday. I was one of the finalists at Bento&co’s contest in 2011 and later I joined Bento&co as Bento Specialist. I am living in Norway now but I am originally from Ishikawa in Japan where many of Bento&co’s bento boxes are made. I try to make bentos that are as beautiful as they are delicious, and I like to show you how to add more sparkles in your bento life! - Rie