I made kyaraben the day I left for PAX. It had been awhile since the last time I made one… but the weather was getting no so summery, and I wanted to make something before the summer was over.
Bento #61: Summer Totoro
Created and eaten on: 9/3/2009
I knew I was going to make a summer themed kyaraben. Since I really didn’t have new character I wanted to make, I picked Totoro. I did a rough sketch, but since I’ve made so many Totoro bento no matter how I change the composition, it’d look like something I’ve already done… But I always try to stay optimistic. I figured that I’d come up with some magical plan to make this bento awesome while I was making it.
As usual, I put sauteed renkon (lotus root) at the bottom of the bento first. I had meatballs which I had made and frozen so I put them in a line with broccoli. Meatballs are great for Makkurokurosuke. It’s round and dark brown, so all you have to do is to put cut out cheese and seaweed for the eyes.
Then I started making Totoro with rice. I mixed rice with black sesame seeds with a little bit of salt, put it on plastic wrap and molded it into a Totoro shape. Then I realized that Totoro was the only rice part in this bento… which meant that I had to make a HUGE Totoro. Since I was using the bento box sideways and there were Makkurokurosuke at the lower part of the bento, there wasn’t much space left for Totoro. I tried to squeeze him in, but there was no way his ears would fit in. T_T Oh well… I just made the white part on his stomach with plain rice, put it on his stomach and moved on.
I wasn’t sure if Makkurokurosuke meatballs were enough for my boyfriend, so I made asparagus wrapped with bacon and put it on the side of Totoro. I was worried that it was already getting very crowded… But I wanted to make sunflowers to make the bento summery. So I made an egg sheet (see “how to make egg sheets”) and made sunflowers. I put sunflowers in and tried to put cooked asparagus as its stem and snowpeas as its leaves. But because Totoro was so big, there wasn’t enough space for the leaves. Then I made mini-Totoro with a hard boiled quail egg (see “how to make mini-Totoro”), and squeezed him into the bento.
I peeled the outside red part of fake crab meat, cut it to a crescent shape with a round cutter, and put it on a snowpea. Then I put black sesame seeds on the crabmeat to make it look like a watermelon.
I originally wanted Totoro to have his mouth open, but I realized that he was too small to have an opened mouth like Sleeping Totoro or Flying Totoro, so I ended up making him smile. Since there was no space for his ears, I cut dried sea kelp for the ears and stuck them in his head. I cut out fish cake for his eyes, seaweed for his eyes and nose, and cut dried sea kelp for his whiskers.
At this point, I noticed that there was a big empty spot on the top left part of bento. Since I didn’t put lettuce underneath the renkon, you could see the bottom of bento box, which is a big no-no for kyaraben. So I quickly made a dragonfly looking thing with cheese and fishcake and put it there to cover it up.
I wasn’t that happy with this bento because it looked very much like something I’ve made before, and I didn’t really like how Totoro looks in this bento for some reason. I really need to get back to my bento routine. Now that I have no more business trips planned for this year and the weather is getting cooler, nothing can stop me from bento-ing like crazy! I hope.
- rice mixed with black sesame seeds and plain rice
- fish cake, seaweed, dried sea kelp
- snowpea, fake crab meat and black sesame seeds for the watermelon
- quail egg, fish cake and black sesame seed
- meatballs, cheese and seaweed
- egg and sausage
- asparagus, snowpeas
- cheese, fish cake