Bento ́ [ 1] ( 弁 当 эн bento:) - Japanese term for one-serving packaged food. Traditionally, bento includes rice , fish or meat and one or more kinds of chopped raw or pickled vegetables in one box with a lid. Boxes ( 弁 当 箱 bento: bako ) can vary in form and production method - from simple, made by mass production methods to piece containers , from rare wood varnished, which are real works of art .
Bento is widespread among schoolchildren as a lunch that you can carry with you. Despite the fact that ready-made bentos can be purchased at grocery minimarkets or in special stores ( 弁 当 屋 屋 bento: -y ) anywhere in Japan , the art of selecting products and making bentos is one of the most important skills for Japanese housewives.
The origin of the bento concept can be traced back to the Kamakura period ( 1185–1333 ), when cooked and then dried hoshi-i rice (糒 or 干 し 飯, literally “dried food”) was widely used. Hoshi-i was kept in a small bag, and it could be eaten dry or thrown into boiling water, thus obtaining cooked rice. During the Azuti-Momoyama period , wooden lacquered caskets, similar to modern ones, were first made, and bentos began to be eaten on hans or for tea.
In a more peaceful and quiet period of Edo, the bento culture has become more widespread and refined. Travelers and peasants could carry several cosibentos ( 腰 弁 当 п ), including onigiri , placed in a box of bamboo leaves or stems. During this period, one of the most popular Bento styles appeared, called the Makuno-Uchi Bento (literally “break bento” or “bento intermission”). People who were going to go to the theater performances of No and Kabuki took a special bento with them to eat between the scenes ( maku ). Numerous cookbooks described how to make a bento, how to pack it, and how to prepare for the khans and hinamatsuri .
During the Meiji period, the first Ekibentos or, in short, Ekiben (駅 弁 当 or 駅 弁, “Station Bento”) began to be sold. There is some conflicting evidence about where the first Ekiben was sold, but the basic version says that it was sold on July 16, 1885 at Utsunomiya Railway Station and consisted of two onigiri packed in a box wrapped in bamboo leaves. The first European-type schools in Japan did not provide students with canteen services, so students and teachers, like almost all employees, carried bentos with them. During this period, European -style bentos began to be sold, including sandwiches and sandwiches.
During the Taisho period, aluminum bento boxes were considered especially luxurious due to their ease of washing and their resemblance to silver. The gradual displacement of bento practices in schools has also begun. Bento often had a bad effect on the physical health of students - such a diet was not balanced enough - and psychologically, as many students compared their bento. After World War II, the bentos seemed to be completely squeezed out of school canteens, where they were replaced by standard lunches for teachers and students.
Bento regained its position in the 1980s thanks to the proliferation of microwaves and grocery convenience stores. In addition, impractical metal and wooden boxes have been replaced with cheap disposable polystyrene containers. In 2003, in order to attract passengers amid the crisis in the airline industry, airports began to offer bentos, which include local culinary specialties, for passengers who are waiting for their flight during the flight.
Bento Cooking Methods
Bento is traditionally made in 4: 3: 2: 1 proportions. 4 parts of rice take 3 parts of meat or fish, 2 parts of vegetables and 1 part of a pickled plant or spice. However, these are just basic guidelines for making a bento.
When cooking, it is very important to prevent the possibility of food poisoning, especially in the summer, since the bento has a short shelf life. The food should be well prepared and the bento box should be kept in a cool and dry place whenever possible. If sushi is part of the bento, it should be cooked with more than usual wasabi . Food seasoned with sauces should be neatly and tightly packed; it is better to put the sauce in a box in a separate container. Cooked rice must be completely cooled and dried before being placed in a box, otherwise the steam condensed in a closed box will make the food tasteless and unaesthetic.
- Tyuka bento ( Jap. 中華 弁 当 tu: ka bento:) - Chinese food is used for this kind of bento.
- Kamameshi bento ( 釜 飯 弁 当 kamameshi bento:) - is sold at railway stations in Nagano Prefecture. Bento is packed in a clay pot and heated. A clay pot is left as a souvenir.
- Makuno-uti bento ( 幕 の 内 弁 当 makunouti bento:) - a classic bento consisting of rice and any other products, such as pickled ume (plums), a piece of fried fish, hard-boiled eggs.
- Noriben ( 海苔 弁 弁 ) is a simple bento with rice covered with nori .
- Sake bento ( 鮭 弁 当 sake bento :) is a simple bento with rice and salmon .
- Sidashi Bento ( Japanese 仕 出 し 弁 当 Sidashi Bento:) - is prepared in restaurants and delivered to dinner by order. This bento is often eaten in company, such as at funerals or parties. It usually contains traditional Japanese food, such as tempura , rice, and pickled vegetables. Sidashi bento with European food is also quite popular.
- Shushizume ( 鮨 詰 め ) - sushi , packaged in the form of a bento.
- Toriben ( Jap. 鶏 弁 ) - bento with chicken meat .
- Jukuben ( 塾 弁 ) is a schoolboy bento.
- Kyaraben ( キ ャ ラ 弁 ) is a bento made in the form of little men or animals.
- Hayaben ( Jap. 早 弁 ) - literally "fast bento" for an afternoon snack or afternoon snack.
- Hokaben ( ホ カ 弁 ) - this is the name of any kind of bento delivered by a special bento delivery service called Hoka Hoka Tey.
- Ekiben ( 駅 弁 ) is a bento sold at railway stations.
- Reito Mikan ( 冷凍 ミ カ ン Reito: Mikan ) is a frozen mandarin that is often sold at train stations along with Ekiben. This is one of the oldest desserts sold at the stations.
- Hinomaru bento ( . の 丸 弁 当 hinomaru bento:) is a bento in which pickled plum - umee lies on white boiled rice  . Bento got its name from the Japanese flag of Hinomaru , which symbolizes such a bento. Bento appeared during the Second World War and was supposed to show the patriotism of the Japanese, as well as their unbending spirit. It also cost quite cheaply; therefore, it became widespread during the war.
In Unicode 6.0.0, the bento symbol was introduced ( 🍱 , U + 1F371 BENTO BOX from the Miscellaneous Symbols And Pictographs set ).
Bento for 500 yen
Umeboshi bento (pickled plum bento)
Soraben - Airport Bento
Bento peddlers at the train station; OK. 1902
Charaben with a polar bear
- Large Japanese-Russian Dictionary = 和 露 大 辞典 / Ed. Academician N.I. Konrad . - M .: Soviet Encyclopedia , 1970.- T. 1. - S. 77.
- Cotobank Japanese Dictionary - Hinomarubento
- Wikimedia Commons has Bento- related media files
- Definition of the term “ bento ” in Wiktionary .