Friday, September 11, 2009

Bento Boxes

I always thought the concept of the bento (obento?) box was great, because of its natural portion control and generally speaking healthy items contained within, but when I moved to New York I found that, often, a bento box consisted of rice + greasy teriyaki meat dish + a california roll sometimes + miso soup, etc etc. And they usually weren't that economical in comparison to what I thought was a decent 'deal'--the very common in NYC two rolls of maki + miso for usually around 8 bucks.
Point being, I haven't bentoed it up so much in this city. Well, any city really, but was aware of the potential power of the bento. I unfortunately overlooked home bentoeing! Which is too bad, since my first awareness of the bento was watching The Breakfast Club as a young girl: One of the absolute best scenes in the world, but also super telling because every person in Saturday detention pulls out a befitting lunch to match their personality/high school caste status. The geek has like crustless PB+J, tomato soup. The bag lady has white bread which she sprinkles with pixie stix and crushed Cap'n Crunch cereal (I think also Diet Coke is involved). The jock has a giant bag of potato chips, three sandwiches and like two Cokes. And then we get to the class, preppy homecoming queen Molly Ringwald's character who busts out this totally proper, totally beautiful bento box full of sushis. The rest of the crew then proceeds to ask her what the hell she's eating.

Anyway, the image of that lunch was vivid and, well, who didn't want to be like Molly Ringwald? Too bad I was more into being like her fashion-wise and in the regard of chasing boys who didn't notice me than adopting these interesting eating habits. Sigh.
Thankfully, the New York Times has picked up the ball once again on an interesting trend. Now, as usual also, the New York Times has annoyed me. They wrote an article about the fad of the bento box, but in doing so, assumed that (I guess since we're all foodies these days and don't have jobs?) we all have seven hours a day to make carrot sticks heart-shaped and we know how to make an olive into a flower, blah blah blah.
But let's use this as an opportunity to be inspired by that which was good: The idea of a small plastic box going with us to work or school every day filled with fresh + beautiful + relatively small ingredients.
This is a great idea for schools. This is a great idea for me to bring to work. You get the idea. Please read the full article here.
I'm working on sourcing a really cool and inexpensive bento box to buy. Sayonara.

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