The old aphorism that we tend to eat with our eyes is apparently the culinary standard in Japan, where kids compare their bento boxes for cuteness, writes Audrey Carlsen on The Salt. Japanese school lunches are judged on their aesthetic qualities as much as anything else. 

My Japanese Table author Debra Samuels witnessed this for herself when her son complained of the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It was then she learned just “how tightly everyday life revolved around visuals, especially when it came to food.” 

And with that, she tapped into a school lunch tradition that can make kids “traumatized because their lunches are not as cute as their neighbor’s.” She explains to NPR’s All Things Considered host Audie Cornish that kids have a habit of looking at their food first. 

[via The Salt]