Hi to everyone who found me via Pinterest, or via articles that used Pinterest pictures! I get a lot of messages from people who are looking for back-to-school lunch ideas for their kids and are irritated by what they see on my flickr feed. Kids would never eat that! What kind of school lunches are these, anyway? I feel the need to clear up the matter.
I've been doing this for a really long time, and I started out in food art by making my own work lunches. When they got attention, I backed off, because I didn't want people to think that was why I was doing it...it was something I only did to amuse myself as I was packing them. Later, I didn't care as much and just packed what I wanted. So some of the earlier stuff you'll see was actually what I took to work and ate every day. It was made for me, not a child, so I had no problem eating leftovers or cold rice or whatever.
Later, I moved from actual lunches to more oekakiben, freeform-art "showpiece" lunches, and although I ate what I made to avoid waste, those were never made for kids either. I hadn't had kids yet. From there I moved from the confines of the bento box to larger pieces for books, magazines and commercials. They're usually on big trays. They're just amusing pictures made of food, not my suggestions as to what you should be putting in your kids' lunches. I would never suggest that you spend an hour in the morning carving a lobster from tomatoes and send that to school with your child :) It's just a lobster made of tomatoes. It's fun to look at. That's all it is.
I have a school-age child now, and she wouldn't eat a tomato lobster. She isn't overly fond of blue rice. I send her to school with healthy things that I know she'll eat, and she's just as unpredictable with that as any other kid. When it's a struggle to get her ready in the morning, I go for shortcuts and easy things to put together. The intricate food-art stuff you're seeing is not an every-morning-before-school thing, trust me.
Pinterest is wonderful for ideas, but please don't measure your worth as a parent by what you see on Pinterest. Crafty photos are carefully-staged best case scenarios, put together with more time and effort than they let on. Sometimes intricate foodstuffs are just showpieces, not someone insinuating that you're not up to snuff if you don't send something like that to school with your child every day. Send things you know they love. If you want to pretty it up or make it more fun, experiment with cookie cutters or colorful arrangements of fruits and vegetables. You don't need one more thing to worry about in the morning, and you don't need Pinterest telling you that you do.
As far as people contacting me about wasted food- the vast majority of what you see is not wasted at all.
Earlier in the month, I participated in a kids' art fair and had a food-art table. It was very well-attended...standing room only, in fact. The volunteers and I handed each child a tray with a rice background and had a salad-bar type spread of veggies and fruits available. We asked the kids what they wanted to work with, and as they pointed out ingredients, we loaded up paper trays with gloved hands. The kids had a blast. There were kids making cars with carrot axles and blueberry wheels, kids carefully picking florets from purple cauliflower and sprinkling them like confetti. They were learning about the beauty and possibilities of healthy food. Some kids learned the names of less-common vegetables for the first time. Toddlers gnawed on asparagus and preschoolers asked for (and ate) extra cauliflower.
It was wonderful, and all of the unused vegetables went to an on-site soup kitchen. Out of the 150 or so kids who came through, the small compost box I set out was not even a tenth full of scraps. The kids were playing with, and eating, the veggies. They were learning and enjoying it. That was exactly how I'd hoped it would turn out, and it did.
My food pictures are simply amusing pictures of food. They are there for you to smile at, and get ideas from. They are definitely not what I think you should send with your kids to school. Do your own thing and enjoy it :)
Thanks for reading, and if you need anything let me know.
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What can be said about Sakurako's amazing Bento creations other than they must be seen to be believed! Her creativity knows no bounds, her enthusiasm is infectious, and her kind nature is evident in the many compliments she liberally showers upon the Bento community here on flickr. Sakurako shares so much more than j… Read more
What can be said about Sakurako's amazing Bento creations other than they must be seen to be believed! Her creativity knows no bounds, her enthusiasm is infectious, and her kind nature is evident in the many compliments she liberally showers upon the Bento community here on flickr. Sakurako shares so much more than just photos of her finished work - she generously invites you into her kitchen to share her tips and tricks. She is an endless source of inspiration for me, along with I'm sure many, many others. Take a walk through her gallery of bento art and you will be astounded! There are only two kinds of people on flickr - those who are fans of Sakurako Kitsa, and those who have never seen Sakurako Kitsa's bentos!Read less
your food pictures are amazing!