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Bento Boxes: Five Creative Examples of Food as Art

Made with lunch meats, cheese, cucumbers, and mayonnaise.
Made with lunch meats, cheese, cucumbers, and mayonnaise.
Courtesy of Amorette Dye

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 "I originally made bentos to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 Boxes: Five Creative Examples of Food as Art
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

Bento Boxes: Five Creative Examples of Food as Art
Courtesy of Amorette Dye

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

3. Acid Test

Bento Boxes: Five Creative Examples of Food as Art
Courtesy of Amorette Dye

Modeled after the famous '60s poster inspired by Ken Kesey and made with fruit, cheese, crackers, hard-boiled egg whites, and rice.

2. Lobster

Bento Boxes: Five Creative Examples of Food as Art
Courtesy of Amorette Dye

Rice, cilantro, skins of yellow pear tomatoes, roma tomatoes, whole cloves (as eyes), and egg yolk and mustard-based sauce.

1. Eiffel Tower

Bento Boxes: Five Creative Examples of Food as Art
Courtesy of Amorette Dye

Rice, kumquat, white cheddar, colby-jack cheese, broccoli, and grape-nuts.

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