As I make my way through the idea of bento, or I should specify "cute bento", I have bought many a item as well as researched different ideas. One thing I came across was onigiri, this is a traditional Japanese bento item, usually sticky rice formed into a triangle -or other shape- and sometimes filled in the center with meat. This is a GREAT way to use leftover rice and whatever you happened to be having with that rice. These have been made more popular in the states with the popularity of Manga, they are often featured in this Japanese graphic novel genre. Now to form the traditional triangle shaped onigiri you can actually use the corner of a plastic bag, pushing the rice into the corner and then twisting to put pressure on it. It is the pressure on the sticky rice that helps make a nice portable package. Back to the items that I have bought for my new obsession with "cute bento" I bought two different sets of onigiri shapers.These ones are cuter, but do not have a mechanism to push the rice together nicely so they don't really hold their shape, I think these will actually work better as sandwich cutters.
Now these, these are the ticket! Notice how this set has an upper and lower piece, you must fit in the top piece, then pile in the rice, and then use the bottom piece as your plunger if you will and push the rice together. It comes out nice and compacted see last picture of this post to see what I mean). I believe I bought both of these sets at Uwajimya. Amazon has basic shapes, and the traditional box or triangle molds
And I love rice so I imagine I will plan on doing these not just for Molly but for Brian and myself as well because they are FANTASTIC. Molly wasn't sure what to make of them at first but then when mom wanted to eat them instead then she of course became interested. Here is a pic of her lunch (orange sections, half a string cheese, a few wheat thins, craisins in the silicone cup, and one bunny shaped onigiri and a bear shaped onigiri) Oh and you will notice that there is some green peeking through the rice, this was leftover rice from a Mexican meal the other night - I forgot to take pics of it... I find that I cook most nights and only about 50% of the time do I remember to take the stupid pictures, plus my camera is going down the crapper... a new one would be nice *wink *wink... but I digress- the rice had some salt, lime juice and cilantro in it. It was very tasty rice.