While perusing Kinokuniya Bookstore on my lunch break, I came across the book, Face Food by Christopher D Salyers. Face Food documents very elaborate Bento boxes called Charaben in which food is made to look like anime characters, animals, plants and flowers. Everyone from Piglet to Pikachu is portrayed, with foods such as broccoli, ham, carrot, cheese, egg, imitation crab meat, and more. I’m blown away by the creativity and time (anywhere from thirty minutes to three hours) that mothers — and father, sometimes — dedicate to making these works of art for their children to take to school.
Some of the benefits of making charaben for children include a way to relieve daily stresses, a way to simply please the kids or a way to make children eat more. But Akinoichigo, one of the leading Charaben artists in Japan, sums it up best when she says: ‘It has a magic power to eliminate all of a child’s dislikes’. Face Food is published by Mark Batty Publisher and you can read more about Charaben on the blog. Also check out the follow-up book, Face Food Recipes.