Jana Al Ghuneim… When motherhood incites art!
Perhaps she’s the most creative mother ever when it comes to the food she offers to her children. Instead of putting ordinary plates on the table in front of them, this mom offers her kids small pieces of art made out of their daily meals. As for what happens in school, that is something else! Whenever Jana Al Ghuneim’s sons open their lunch box at school, children and teachers gather around them to see what the creative mommy had prepared.
Jana told us that what pushed her at first to create designs out of food was her determination to help her children eat healthy ingredients that are beneficial to their physical and mental development without obliging them to eat! In fact, children are naturally grouchy and very selective in what they want to eat as they don’t care about food facts as much as the taste and the shape. So she decided to make their meals irresistible by transforming them into pieces of art representing their favorite cartoon characters while at the same time including different types of vegetables, fruits and ingredients that usually children refuse to eat. This method is very well known in Japan, and is called “Bento”.
Jana explained to us: “Bento” is a Japanese word that means “lunch box” in which mothers in Japan pack food in a beautiful and artistic way.
Geometric shapes, animals and cartoon characters are often used to design children’s dishes called “Carbento” or “Carben.”
When my children were about to join the nursery, I began to search on the Internet for innovative ideas on how to prepare their lunch box, and one day I discovered this kind of serving food. My first artistic attempts were with the nursery lunch boxes more than 7 years ago and sometimes with the main dishes I prepare at home. I always aim at encouraging my babies to try new ingredients without dictatorship or distress to me and to them.
Jana doesn’t mind at all spending hours in the kitchen in order to prepare those cute boxes for her children. For her, the task requires having in mind an initial idea of the form to be executed, then selecting the ingredients with the appropriate texture and color for the execution of the shape. She starts with cutting the components, pasting and assembling them in order to form the final shape as beautiful as the idea.
Quote: We always see great deal of artistic effort put into desserts and cakes, so why not put as much creativity and effort into making our main meals which is our primary source of nutrition!?
Jana does not consider herself a professional artist, she just appreciates beautiful things. A dedicated mother with an instinct that basically pushed her to adopt a way that could help her feed her children healthily, naturally and happily. For example, Jana’s children never accepted to eat olives, but now they gladly eat them when they see that they are the “eyes” on Mickey Mouse’s face.
Quote: My kids appreciate their food, it makes them happy. They understand the message behind every Bento Box I make. There is always a story from me to them in every meal.
Jana with her simple art of great influence, inspired thousands of mothers who follow her account @bento_mommy. Mothers from Kuwait or elsewhere in the Arab world have now learned how to transform their children’s food into a unique and useful experience beyond the concept of only feeding. What she’s doing is not that difficult or impossible; all what a mother should do is to sacrifice some time out of her day to watch “bento” videos on YouTube, and then try to practice alone until she succeeds. Jana says: “I guess I was able to reach such a large number of people because I am a Kuwaiti mother who borrowed an art from a completely different culture and turned it into a beautiful family tradition. And I have demonstrated that the execution is not difficult. I feel really surprised and pleased when mothers share their “bento” experiences and dishes with me, and tell me that I was the one who inspired them and helped them provide a better nutritional system for their children”.
Jana constantly gets in contact with her followers through her own social network accounts, like snapchat – janalovebones – and always responds to all their questions and gives them the necessary advice in order to prepare healthy and beautiful meals. As well, her small business was launched out of this passion, whereas she currently provides tools, such as cutters for sandwiches, vegetables and fruits that facilitate in fact the process of decorating food easily and with less time, especially for working mothers. Jana also hosts a YouTube Tutorials channel called Bento Mommy that has recently started to broadcast videos that help mothers acquiring the specific techniques for such art.