Dear Bento box lunch-making mamas,

You crazy crafty bitches who set unrealistic expectations by waking up at 5 a.m. every damn day to sculpt gluten-free rice balls into cute little edible koala bears and carve cucamelons into tiny watermelon baskets—I’m talking to you.

Not only have you set the bar way too high with your hard-boiled eggs molded into Pokémon characters but your fantastical refreshments are handicapping our children. They don’t even have to imagine shit anymore. We need them to grow up to be innovative forward-thinking leaders who are going to save our planet—not a bunch of pansy eaters with minds as limp as jellyfish. Global Warming, “The Big One,” and Donald Trump (who would make a spectacular Bento character chiseled out of a carrot, by the way)—this shit is real! You’re setting up the next generation for life being one big fat disappointment if they’re expecting a curated array of art every time their bellies rumble. You don’t get this many options in the real world. Take a number, tiny shithead, and step in line.

Speaking of taking a number, how in the holy hell is your kid going to be able to survive the DMV if he hasn’t suffered through a cafeteria lunch line? Spoiled rotten humans don’t have a tremendous amount of patience; it’s scientifically proven. All those hours spent spearing fruit kabobs, carving cheddar cheese blocks into ladybugs, transforming bananas into dolphins, and whittling away Ballpark franks into “octodogs” are damaging your kiddo’s character.

Whatever happened to “you get what you get and you don’t get upset”? Sometimes life hands you a smashed-up peanut butter and jelly sandwich on Wonder Bread and you have to swallow it. Wash it down with some room-temperature milk; that’s what I did and I’m still alive.

I understand this Bento shit is an art form, and a good housewife doesn’t want her MFA to go to waste (especially when her husband is paying off the student loans and wants to see some work produced). But maybe if you invested your energies in a piece of art that you can hang on your wall instead of on creations that will literally get flushed down the toilet in a few days (three, on average), you would get a better return for your time and money. Just a thought.

Life rarely hands you a $100 designer monogrammed Bento box filled with organic, non-GMO food sculptures. So, unless you were a Japanese trust fund baby, put down the paring knife, get a life, and give your kid a fucking Lunchable.

Sincerely,

Brown Bag Lunch Mom

Jennifer Scharf
Author

Jennifer Scharf is a freelance writer with essays featured in McSweeney’s, Scary Mommy, Mamalode, The Mid, BLUNTmoms and more. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

4 Comments

  1. Why are you talking down on Japanese culture? You should not write about something that you do not understand. Please post a study between bento box lunches and the damage they have on children’s character and their ability to become innovative thinkers. As far as I know, the Japanese are crushing it.

  2. I hope it is ironic.
    I really hope. If not, you are incredibly frustrated and jealous. And it is particularly pathetic. I have never made a bento and I think I ‘m not talented enough to make one, but I really admire the patience and the creativity of bento makers. It is a way to say to a child that you love him and your behavior shows that you actually doubt about the love you received in your childhood. You should not show this on the internet. It is quite a shame.
    You say that children who eat bentos will be dumb ? Are you serious ?
    How can you make such shortcuts ? I really hope this letter is ironic.
    Bentos come from Japan. Japan is one of the most creative place in the world, and is 2nd in the ranking of the best performant countries in school.
    If this letter is a parody, then you failed too. A parody is suppose to make people laugh not to make people cringe.

  3. (Sorry for my bad english, it’s not my native language). What with that misogynistic rant in the last lines? Do you assume a person who’s into crafting is always a lifeless and dependant woman with too much free time? I have a full time job (I’m a computer scientist working in video games development), and I still have enough time to both take care of my family and myself, bento included. It’s just a question of discipline, practice, a bit of investment in proper tools, and how you manage your time. But a lot of lazy asses prefer to act like we were wrong for doing an additional effort, maybe to cope with the vague idea that they’re the ones who aren’t doing their best. Don’t misunderstand me, I won’t judge you for using your free time in whatever you like to do. As long as your kids are healthy and happy, it doesn’t matter if their lunch came from a cute box or a brown bag. But if you have all this resentment against bento crafters (when our meals aren’t related with you or your kids), just like the resentful fat people that judge the ones who make efforts to keep themselves in shape, or mediocre people who is resentful with the people who’s always improving themselves, you’re revealing a lot about your inner insecurities and lacks, and that’s pathetic.

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