Cooking With Kids: Not-So-Spicy Bento

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Biggie's preschooler-friendly bento box featuring kalbi and chopped kimchi.

There's no cooler lunch box, I say, than a bento box. (Although my 4-year-old, who just got a new Wizard of Oz lunch box, would probably disagree.)

Check out the bentos made by Biggie of Lunch in a Box. Not only does she send her kid to school with delicious-looking food, but she has tips for adapting spicy food for the preschool palate:

Regular kimchi is too spicy for my preschooler as is, so I generally rinse it off before giving it to Bug (his favorite is the sour ggakdugi daikon kimchi cubes).

This post walks us through two recent bentos and reports on not only the contents (Korean galbi ribs? Kimchi? Shrimp and vegetables? Rice balls? Mommy, I want to go to preschool!), but what her kid actually ate:

Verdict: Not bad. Bug ate the fruit, the onigiri, the kalbi and some of the kimchi (he still said it was a little too spicy for him, though—cabbage kimchi retains more of the spiciness than the daikon kimchi). He left the lettuce uneaten, though—he’s not big on lettuce.

Also be sure to check out her lunch manifesto, which is all about how to send a great school lunch without spending all morning cooking it.

After reading this, I'm sold: I'm buying my own preschooler a bento box for September. Maybe I can convince her to take the Oz lunch box on some days and the bento box on others. Will she consider this the act of a good witch or a bad witch?

About the author: Matthew Amster-Burton lives in Seattle. His work appears frequently in the Seattle Times and Seattle magazine. He also maintains the blog Roots and Grubs. His favorite food is pad Thai.

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