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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Grea6 Little Book
I actually follow this japanese lady's blog, so was delighted to see her recipe book published. Its set up in a slightly odd but very sensible way -- bento meals are basically 'takeaway' meals, eaten as school or work lunches, or for picnics or similar get-togethers, casual or very grand. (The western equivalent might be a scandinavian smorgsbord, lots of little goodies,...
Published on 21 April 2011 by Mrs. Edella Sutcliffe

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice recipes - ugly format
Beautiful meals with a great deal of Japanese knowhow, but most explanatory pages look drab with the black and white illustrations rather than coloured ones that make up the main plates. Also rather fussy and elaborate for a solo lunch
Published 5 months ago by Lulubeth


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Grea6 Little Book, 21 April 2011
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Mrs. Edella Sutcliffe "edella" (Worthing UK) - See all my reviews
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I actually follow this japanese lady's blog, so was delighted to see her recipe book published. Its set up in a slightly odd but very sensible way -- bento meals are basically 'takeaway' meals, eaten as school or work lunches, or for picnics or similar get-togethers, casual or very grand. (The western equivalent might be a scandinavian smorgsbord, lots of little goodies, beautifully arranged -- you can buy scandinavian versions of bento boxes, to hold your open sandwiches safely for transporting to school or work!)

She's organised things very sensibly, starting simply and breaking things down into the various bento components, then ringing changes from the basic to the fancy, all set out quite logically. There is a lot to take in, but this book is full of the 'how to', not just a collection of pretty photos. Also lots on where to get ingredients (including bento boxes!).

Its a nice way to eat, actually, even if your lunch isn't particularly 'japanese' -- its more about presenting your food in a varied and appetising way (which IS very japanese!).

I'd make only one complaint, that the typeface is a bit small and the designer was too interested in striking colour contrasts -- not always suitable if your eyesight is poor. (But worth the struggle I would say!)
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spot on for bento lunches!, 15 April 2011
By 
Mr. Peter A. Gillon (Warrington England) - See all my reviews
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My worklocation changed 3 times in a year and each time the canteen got worse! After much grumbling, I decided to do somthng about it -and discovered bento's - Japans version of a packed lunch- but better. Discovered the just bento web site which helps you make excellent bento's in 20 minutes in the morning. It's not easy - but nor is it dificult and I'm always looking forward to my lunch - and this book is a great way to get onboard.Simple thoughtfull ,orgnised and above all tasty (its even healthy too!), So don't miss out, get a copy and start bentoing.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love it!, 27 Dec 2010
It's been a while now since, fallen in love with bentos, I've been reading blogs on cooking the Japanese style and combine the dishes to create bentos, and by far, Makiko's blog it's the best. The book is just the climax of such work. Although this is my first purchased book on the matter, I'm an avid reader and owner of cookery books, and I can say that Makiko is a generous writer. The book is packed with tips on how to best organise your time and your pantry to create healthy and tasty meals, and there is enough information to get acquainted (and not discouraged) with some typical Japanese ingredients. I can't wait to start cooking!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Bento Goodness!, 1 Mar 2011
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As an avid reader or the blog, I have been impressed with Makiko and her recipes for a long while and when I found out that there would be a book published, I was ready and waiting to pre-order it! The recipes are simple, down to earth and make for some delicious food. Definitely one I'd recommend for those interested in Japanese culture and food.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great healthy lunch ideas, 17 Nov 2011
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S. Ayling - See all my reviews
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Not sure about the timings, need to be really organised, but great ideas and really good pictures with the text.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful Even If You Don't Carry Your Lunch!, 21 Nov 2013
This review is from: Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches to Go (Paperback)
As a newbie to the world of Bento, this book is a gold mine of information and recipes. While I don't carry my lunch, I bought a bento box to help me with portion control (and let's be honest, because the box was so beautiful). I ordered this book at the same time as Ten Minute Bento, and I'm here to tell you "Just Bento" wins, hands down! There are many, many recipes for main dishes, sides, even "desserts"--most written for one portion, so it's easy to add up if you want to make more, but don't have to deal with freezing leftovers etc. The Japanese recipes are re-written for Western cooks, with tutorials giving clear explanations and pictures to help the uninitiated make things like nigiri and sushi rolls. There are also recipes for Western-style food such as burgers, salads etc, and you won't go crazy looking for exotic ingredients as Ms Itoh always suggests alternatives for anything hard to find. Her experience living in areas where specialist grocers are non-existent has helped her relate to non-Japanese cooks.

I fill my bento for my evening meal, so I cook as I go, and while the recipes may not be ten minutes to prepare, they are fast enough to make it easy and pleasant. I'm cooking my way through this book; the portions are satisfying even to a foodie like me, with no leftovers to tempt me to overindulge.

My only wish is that I had bought this book first, I'd have saved some money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing bento book, especially for the bento initiate!, 1 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches to Go (Paperback)
This book is a must-buy if you are considering trying to make your own bento. The instructions are clear and well written and the pictures are mouthwatering!

This book would be worth it for the recipes and lovely presentation pictures alone - but there's so much more packed in here! What I especially love about this book is the practical advice from the author on how to make things easy. She includes helpful shopping lists of things both Japanese and not-so-Japanese to stock up on and things that can be prepared in advance and frozen/defrosted/nuked in the microwave as needed. The author also gives great advice on substitute ingredients if you can't get hold of the real deal. Additionally there is a little guide on different types of bento boxes and how to care for the more expensive types.

There are plenty of clear pictures demonstrating the techniques described and I thought the book was well laid out and presented. It's fantastic value for how much you will get out of this book, especially if like me you are new to making bento lunches. The author's blog (justbento.com) is a wonderful additional resource that's well worth checking out too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing book that transformed my lunchtimes, 15 July 2013
By 
Karura (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches to Go (Paperback)
For years, I'd taken the same old boring lunch to work - ham sandwich, crisps, yoghurt, maybe some fruit. I knew that Japanese bento lunches were fare more exciting than my usual midday fare, but like many other people, I'd always been daunted by the effort. Looking online seemed to justify my fears - if I tried this, would I spend my days decorating rice balls with faces and cutting out sandwiches in animal shapes?

Nonetheless, I decided to give it a go, and it was fortunate that I took a chance on Makiko Itoh's Just Bento Cookbook. Ms Itoh's philosophy is that you shouldn't spend hours on the presentation - what you really want is something that tastes delicious.

Which is not to say that the bentos presented in this book don't look great, but that the focus is quite rightly on a selection of recipes that aren't too hard to make. Yes, there is some startup cost involved in buying a few bits of equipment and sourcing Japanese ingredients (although over the past couple of years more supermarkets have begun stocking the essentials), but once you taste a few of the recipes, you'll realise that it's worth the effort. The book offers a range of both Japanese and non-Japanese bentos, usually consisting of several components. There are plenty of variants to try out, and having worked my way through the book, there were only a couple of recipes that I really didn't get on with. In fact, for the most part, it's taught me new dishes that I don't just rely on for lunch - I've served them to friends for dinner as well.

Of course, preparing a bento is always going to be more effort than making a sandwich, but none of the recipes in this book are particularly long or complicated, and most of them can be made a night or two in advance, or even put in the freezer so you have a ready supply of bento dishes for busy weeks. And don't worry if you feel like you've done the book to death - Makiko Itoh also runs a Just Bento website packed with even more recipes to try.

All in all, this is probably my most-used recipe book, and certainly one of the best investments I've made. If you're considering trying out bento, or even if you just want to try a few easy Japanese recipes, this is definitely the place to start.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very well written book, 2 May 2013
By 
Dave (Wiltshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches to Go (Paperback)
Makiko Itoh has clearly set out the basic foundation for making home made every day bento. Because a nice Bento requires a little more effort then a couple slices of bread and a bag of crisps She has set out how to organise yourself to have every thing ready so making a bento will only take a few mins to prepare in the morning and her menus are balanced and very healthy. But she does not stop there she encourages the reader to try not just classic Japanese bento but western ideas as well throwing in a few of her own with a japanese twist Edamame Humous anyone. She also covers the boxes themselfs with a few tips on what to look for and make them look pretty.

This book contains all you need to know to get you started making good tasty bentos.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT FOR BEGINNERS AND TRYING OUT NEW FOOD, 15 April 2012
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Love Love Love Love this book!!

Great pics, great recipes, great variations and great preparation tips!!!

Im not a great cook, but this is great! Very easy to follow especially if you only have a small budget.

The thing I love the best - is the portion sizes - they are great!!! If you just want to try something for the first time you can just create a bento sized sample to try (instead of cooking a big batch and then realising you hate it and throwing it away).

I also use it for "Japanese Buffets" - little bits of everything - even my boyfriend (who hates "homemade food") has found favourites and polished it all off :D

So I would definitely recommend it - the best bento book that I have found so far :D
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Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches to Go
Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches to Go by Makiko Itoh (Paperback - 20 Jun 2011)
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