Bento Boxes: Five Creative Examples of Food as Art

Categories: Food Art
bento box 2.jpg
Courtesy of Amorette Dye
Made with lunch meats, cheese, cucumbers, and mayonnaise.
Amorette Dye is a mom and ex-medical student who maintains a transparently honest blog about living with cancer, losing a child, and navigating the labyrinths of health insurance and long-term care. But under her artist name of Sakurako Kitsa, she's also a crafty edible-art creator who fashions bento boxes (compartmentalized lunch boxes that are a staple of Japanese food culture) into portraits of people, animals, and even posters for the deceased writer, Ken Kesey. Her work appears in a trailer for bestselling author Sarah Vowell's Unfamiliar Fishes and in two books on food art.

Check out five more creations entirely made out of rice, cold cuts, vegetables, eggs, and other lunchtime media after the cut.

Dye practices a form of bento box art known as oekakiben, in which original images are created, as opposed to kyaraben, which features anime characters. "I originally made bentos to take to work, and it was just something I did to amuse myself," she says. "I saw curves and textures in food that reminded me of other things, the same way you'd sort of see a face in a linoleum pattern or something."

Though some of her designs use food coloring, Dye tries to use vegetable-based colorants over synthetic dyes as much as possible. And yes, she eats her creations once done.

5. Frappucino

bento box.jpg
Courtesy of Amorette Dye
Chicken salad with toasted almonds, wheat crackers, tangerine wedges, cucumbers, cauliflower, rice, bits of Fruit Roll-Ups, and fondant over Okinawa sweet potato (naturally that purple!)

4. Canadian Geese

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Courtesy of Amorette Dye
Yellow pear tomato, rice, portobello mushrooms, sesame seeds (as eyes), couscous, pear puree, green beans, and soba noodles.


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