Bentō (弁当 or べんとう, Bentō?) is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables as a side dish. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquerware. Although bento are easily available in many places throughout Japan, including convenience stores, bento shops (弁当屋, bentō-ya?), train stations, and department stores, it is still common for Japanese homemakers to spend considerable time and energy producing an appealing boxed lunch.
Bento can be very elaborate, aesthetically pleasing cuisine arrangements. Often the food is arranged in such a way as to resemble other objects: dolls, flowers, leaves, and so forth.
Basically, it a Japanese lunch box. I first read about bento boxes online at a community I am active in called Two Peas in a Bucket. It is a scrapbooking website and I frequent the NSBR (not scrapbook related) forums. Ironically enough, I rarely have time to scrapbook anymore! But I love visiting the NSBR most everyday to participate in various discussions. I have found more information from the ladies there!
So after researching bento boxes online and asking a few questions of the NSBR bento box experts I settled on purchasing The Laptop Lunch Box. Here is a sample of the Laptop Lunch box system:
Doesn't it look so neat and tidy? I hate to clean, but I am a completely OCD about it. I hate it because I can't just "pick up" like normal people do. When I clean, I clean. When I organize, I organize. I like things in a certain way. The perfectionism can become quite annoying sometimes. For example, when I unload the dishwasher all my plates, bowls and other things have to be put away a certain way. The bowls have to be lined up perfectly. When the hubby cleans the kitchen I will inevitably go behind him and get my things just so.
That is why the bento box appeals to my OCDishness. Plus, we are on a complete food makeover in this house. We are all healthy, all the time. We are weaning ourselves off processed food, trans fat and HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). We are slowing transitioning into the organic/green lifestyle. We've got a loooooong way to go, but it's all about baby steps. A bento box reduces the waste that a child creates when taking his lunch to school. Plastic bags, food wrappers, napkins, plastic utensils, paper bags, juice boxes, etc. Over the course of 1 year a child can create over 65 pounds of waste per year. That is over 18,000 pounds per year for the average elementary school. Think of it, I will never have to buy another Ziploc bag again!
So, here are a few pictures of The Halfling's bento box lunch for tomorrow:
and I apologize for the crappy lighting. My camera was acting all wonky tonight.
A close up of the individual containers. There are 5 containers.
1 Large with cover
1 Large uncovered
2 Mediums uncovered
1 Small covered
(It also comes with a spoon and fork)
When you close the box, it seals the entire box so it doesn't leak or drain.
For lunch tomorrow The Halfling is having leftover pizza I made for dinner. It is incredibly yummy and very good for you. It is made from organic whole wheat pita pockets, spread with spinach puree, then tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese. Quick, easy, delicious and healthy! I cut the leftover pieces up small enough to fit in the closed container.
That is what is in the bottom left box. Next to that is cut up string cheese. The top left is cut up celery (after I took the picture I added some carrots), and the top right is a small container of peanut butter (all natural) with yogurt covered raisins. The Halfling loves to eat celery with peanut butter and raisins. We call them ants on a log.
I plan on posting some cute lunch ideas and pictures soon so stay tuned!
Here is a link to bento box infomation:
Lunch in a Box