cor_ka 5:25pm, 21 October 2006
already for a few months now, i am ventilating the idea of getting myself a mr. bento / bento classic (if i can find a shop here in israel or a seller who will ship), but i am troubled by two thoughts:

1 - we don't have a microwave at the office, thus my idea was to heat up / to micro the food in the morning, pack the bento and off we go. most of the days i will be away from home for 11+ hrs. will it keep hot if i preheat the bento with hot water? and i mean hot? not only warm? i love my food to be piping hot. from most of the pics i got the impression that people use the bento for cold, sometimes even frozen food.

2 - i have to pass a few x-ray security checks on my way to the office and the security persons toss around the backback/bags/totes, so that there is no way to keep the bento upright on its way to the university. will this likely cause a lot of spoiling inside? and is the outer container tightly filled with the little containers? or do they move inside the outer container (and will probably crack?) and i suppose that the security staff wants to open the bento every time they see it on the x-ray (any experience?). is it easy to be opened by people who don't give a damm about damaging your stuff?

sorry for the long post and the somewhat twisted thoughts, but it will be pretty expensive to buy a bento with the shipping and all the taxes etc and i don't have much money to waste.

tia, corinna
.ams PRO 12 years ago
I can't address the first issue (I always microwave at work), but I can definitely speak to the second:

The containers don't have much room to move inside the jar, and so cracking isn't an issue. As far as spilling, the soup container has a rubber ring to keep it completely watertight. The other three do not. That said, I've carried my bento upside down and sideways on my way to work and not had things like yogurt ooze out of the top containers. Mr. Bento is FINE not being carried upright.
cecilnhou2 12 years ago
I mircowave in the am and I eat at 11:30 and the food is hot enough for me. Now it may not be piping smoking hot, but it is perfect for me. I don't think it would make it 11 hours either. And if it is opened a bunch, then your heat will escape. You might have to adjust what you pack in it should you get one.
hannahbearsmom 12 years ago
I microwave at work, so I can't respond to issue number 1. I can say that the cold items I bring stay cold until I eat them, sometimes late in the afternoon (my Mr. Bento comes out of the fridge at about 6:30 AM)

The security issues I can respond to. I work in a Federal building near the U.S. Capitol. Security is tight, but probably not as tight as Israeli security. My Mr. Bento goes through the X-ray machine every morning and I've never been asked to open it. OTOH, I was asked to open my purse/backpack entering malls in Israel, so you still may have a problem. My Mr. Bento often lies on its side during my commute to work and I've only had slight leakage from the main (rice) container. The soup bowl seals nicely and the smaller bowls seal adequately. The (main) rice container does not seal, it just sort of "clicks" shut.

melmcwey 12 years ago
Mr. Bento can bear the tossings and pushings of a crazy rush hour crowd on the subway, monday morning, in Madrid. I think i can safely say Mr. Bento will bear with almost anything! ;)
Jerich01 12 years ago
So, I did a few experiments on mine over the weekend... (Or rather I horrified my girlfriend by experimenting on her Mr. Bento)... If I heat up Mr. Bento to the boiling point he remains "hot" for 5-6 hours... After 11 hours he's nice and warm - very respectable eating temperature.

So you're left with a few issues...

1) Nothing is going to keep food piping hot for 11+hours unless
a) the container is so hot it will be almost an issue to carry it. Also anything that hot is going to continue cooking so you'd have to undercook erverything.
b) the container is made of high-end insulating material which would, in my opinion, be too expensive to carry.

2) The reason for bringing cold and heating up later is to protect you from getting all sorts of nasties... To do this you need to keep food under 40 degrees F or above 140 degrees F... Keeping food above for more than 11 hours would also lead to cooking the food further so you'd have to undercook and allow to continue cooking in Mr. B....

So where Mr. Bento may not be your answer, I'm not sure if anything is truly your perfect solution.
cor_ka 12 years ago
thank you all for your great answers and in particular for the work done in the kitchen lab!

at least the security thing, leaking and mess seems not to be a problem. i think i will get one of the bentos, have hot lunch and some warm afternoon snack. sounds in any case better than sandwiches every day. i even got an answer from okugawa masaki @zojirushi and they would ship to israel. if i cannot find a mr bento in europe next week i will order from them and maybe you will get some pics here one day to see how an israeli "mar bento" looks.

thanks again
amanky 11 years ago
So, I'll admit... I'm slightly disappointed.

Maybe it was the lag as I was trying to mutli-task and prep everything at the same time... and take picutres. Maybe in the process my food pre-cooled some?

But my food (5-5.5 hours later) was luke warm if anything... granted I was experimetning/my first go 'round. But I was so stoked to not have to use the groady microwave at work!

We'll try it again. But I'll have to time my lunch and packing better in the future I fear...
stinky_harriet PRO 11 years ago
I'm also not too pleased with Mr. B's heat retaining properties. Or cold for that matter. So far I've only tried packing hot food once. I poured boiling water in the main container and put the the lid on. I microwaved my soup until it was piping hot and put it in the soup bowl, which had also been preheated. This was done at maybe 9:30am. I ate lunch around 1pm and the soup was just slightly above room temp. I had a cut up pita in the main bowl, so that wasn't heated. Maybe if I had hot food in there as well it would have helped to keep the soup warmer. I had fruit & veggies in the two side containers.

When I've packed cold food I did it the night before and kept Mr. bento in the fridge overnight. By the time I ate lunch my yogurt was somewhat warm (had it in the soup bowl). I did not put cold water in the outer container, because I thought keeping it in the fridge would be enought. Someone - Kate Ford maybe? - suggested leaving the bowls out of Mr. B iin the fridge overnight and leaving the top off, so cold air could circulate within the outer container. I haven't tried that yet. I've just been putting anything cold into the fridge when I get to work and heating up anything I'd like warm.

I don't like having to use the fridge because we have a tiny one and sometimes it gets full. The side bowls are small enough, so that hasn't been an issue yet.

I think Mr. Bento does work best for room temperature foods.
kusine Posted 11 years ago. Edited by kusine (member) 11 years ago
I've never had a problem keeping things cold, ever. I put the bowls (not in the outer container) in the fridge the night before and after 5+ hours out of the fridge, everything's still perfectly cold. You might try putting the outer container in the freezer for a bit before you pack cold stuff if you find you're having trouble.

As for keeping stuff warm ... I don't think Mr. B. works quite so well. But I don't like piping hot food, so it's just fine for me.

Good luck!
amanky 11 years ago
grrr... I'm going to have to try the cold... and oddly, as I was envying the circle shape, now I find it difficult to pack.

Maybe I just had a bad Mr.B day (getting up to cook food at 6am and having it be meh for lunch, can do that to a girl!)

Must. give. another. chance!
jeffjl 11 years ago
yah, remember the Mr B is just an insulator -- it's designed to keep whatever you put inside it at the temperature it was when you put it in, no matter what the outside temp is....
amanky 11 years ago
jeffjl yes... alas, that is not what happened.
amanky 11 years ago
ok folks... I'm a little stoked about this
mr_bento 2007.03.23
a McFlurry, stayed frozen solid! I could hardly get the lid open it was so frozen!
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