On the weekend, I attempted something quite ambitious - making 7 bento for some friends at a small gathering. I had several things working against me - I was cooking in a strange kitchen (which I'm not used to), I was feeling under the weather (so I couldn't taste-test the food that well), I was cooking in much larger proportions than I'm used to (hence everything takes that much longer to prepare), and I only had 3.5 hours to prepare everything! Yes, all the excuses are rolling out!
It was around 1:30pm, and everyone was getting hungry and angsty, and I was still hastily trying to pack the food in a semi-respectable manner. I guess my strategy to "make 'em so hungry they will eat anything" sort of worked..? It came to my mind very strongly that this is why building a bento stash (even if it's for the week ahead) is so important - there really isn't time to prepare everything from scratch, especially if you are packing 3 or more varieties of food.
The menu in the end (minus the cherry tomato flowers I had no time to prepare):
Flower-shaped onigiri filled with preserved baby anchovy
Spicy carrot kinpira
Stir-fried Haricot Beans
Onion & Sweet Peppers
Yam Somen noodles with salmon flakes
Skewers of Edamame and Glazed Fried Luncheon Meat flowers
Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs
Slices of Baby Corn
Blanched Snow Peas
Everyone got to take home their bento box, furoshiki and chopsticks, which was my small gift to them. To my delight, one friend has said she may start packing bento for her boyfriend using the boxes they received. Looking back, it was a little stressful, but fun. I think I was too ambitious with the menu and should have kept it simpler, but oh well! Something to keep in mind for the next time.. :)