Why Week: Why Pack Bento Lunch Boxes?

"Why Week" - the week where I rationalize all my crazy behavior.

Some days (more than others) I feel I should have been a Japanese housewife. I think I would thrive on the competition. After all, I am able to find a great deal of satisfaction in cooking a meal from scratch and I believe the kind of writing utensil you use says a lot about you as a person.

My newest housewife obsession? Bento box lunches! These culinary darlings are Asias adorable answer to "brown baggin it" and here are 10 reasons why you also might want to consider the switch.

  1. Bento are healthy. Any way we pack a lunch for our kids, it all boils down to the nutritional content of the food. Bentos are arranged with dietary needs in mind - 3 parts carbs, 2 parts veggies and 1 part protein. Because everything has to exist harmoniously in one box, candy, treats and snacks are going to get the boot first!
  2. Bento are fun to eat. Even the pickiest eaters will eat vegetables if they look like a robot! Although complex and highly artistic (re: time consuming) kyaraben style bento are popular - even the simplest bento can be made fun with a few quick tricks. A humble octo-sausage or rabbit apple can really spice up an otherwise ordinary lunch.
  3. Bento are convenient (to use). Bento are compact, easy to use and easy to clean. All you need, including utensils, are wrapped up in your furoshiki of choice.
  4. Bento are convenient (to make). That Japanese housewife slaving away at 5am making intricate 3-D edible sculpture need not be you! Modern conveniences like the freezer and the microwave mean you can prepare a delicious bento with a variety of foods in about 15 minutes. Its usually a matter of learning how to stuff the box properly.
  5. Bento are green. Almost every part of the bento is reusable. Because there are no plastic baggies or wrappers to throw away, the chances of accidentally losing a lid or a fork in the rubbish bin are small. Less waste = happy planet!
  6. Bento are tasty. Oishii!!!
  7. Bento are compatible with your eating habits. You dont need to eat rice everyday to have delicious bento box lunches. Western lunch favorites - including sandwiches, spaghetti, salad and chips - are all perfectly suited for the box lunch. Sometimes its a matter of preparing your leftovers in a way that makes them easier to box up, but in the end you can eat what you like and still experience the benefit of...
  8. Bento are ideal for portion control. There is only so much you can fit into a box. Japanese theory is that the amount of milliliters your bento box holds is about the same as the amount of calories. Fill your 600ml bento to the brim and you've got yourself a 600 calorie meal without the guess work. Considering how shockingly out of whack restaurant portions are nowadays, this fact alone makes it worth 15 minutes of your time.
  9. Bento are available in a wide variety of styles. Thomas the Train to Hello Kitty and back, there is something for everyone in the world of bento. Newer products like the Laptop Lunchbox take the bento concept of compartmentalized food and make it more user friendly for those of us who might be scared off by the teeny tininess of the Japanese bento box.
  10. Bento are cute. And isnt that the most important part?

so classic - reminds me of Kyoto!

This is ideal for Mr A because he eats a lot of sandwiches. But I cant figure out where to order this model - it seems like the sandwich thing is always separate.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that was the best post yet!! I really really liked it. Mr. Kim and I have been packing our "bento" for the past 3 months. We use these clear tupperware that have 2 compartments for our bento purchased at the dollar store. Although I would love to use the beautiful laquered bento box, unfortunately you can't microwave it, limiting what you can put in it. The tupperware version is fast and easy because we make it right after dinner is over by placing our leftovers in it. And it's microwave safe. Add the rice, if needed, in the morning and ouila!