Bento 101: Assignment 2a

Packed into a Rubbermaid LunchBlox sandwich kit (with a dressing hanger-on from the salad kit). The beef 'n beer with noodles are a leftover from Sunday's dinner. Baby kale greens were a substitute for the original salad, and the little dressing cup just has some Italian dressing. But I didn't know what to pack in the other two wee cups. I finally went with yogurt (a standby) and a half serving of Green & Black 85% dark chocolate (which left most of the cup empty, boo).

While the yogurt was tasty and provided me with a good serving of dairy that I would otherwise probably neglect, I really would have rather had more baby kale salad. I packed that salad as tight as I thought wise, but still wanted more in the end. And the yogurt felt like a kind of non sequitur to the meal. It was only there because I had two empty containers to fill. The chocolate was a delicous treat*… but I would have been as happy, or happier, with some fruit.

I like the idea of these LunchBlox. The set of four boxes seems to hold about the right amount of food – it is a lot of food, but I need those calories – however the four container paradigm is just reinforcing the basic block I have against packing bento lunches in the first place. All the little boxes are fun and appealing, but I feel intensely pressured to fill each one with something different. And then I end up with lunches that aren't coherent meals so much as semi-random collections of food. It seems like all the larger volume bentos are similarly composed. For example, the Mr. Bento lunch jars hold a similar amount and have three or four separate containers. And the less compartmentalized boxes just don't hold enough to keep me going.

The goal of this assignment was to learn about fitting the contents of my plate into a three dimensional container. I don't feel I did this very well. The food all fit easily enough… The problem is it wasn't distributed in the same proportion. I had less salad, extraneous yogurt (replacing the frozen shoepeg corn I am apparently incapable of cooking) and a lot of wasted space in the box with the chocolate.

Yet, writing this all out has helped. I think I will obtain a second large square container to use instead of the side and snack containers. This, hopefully, will solve my “four box constraint” issues, and force me to pack with some attention to vertical space.

Lent begins Wednesday. Between the fasting and the abstinence from meat, it should add an interesting twist to the rest of this week's bento making exercises.

* A whole snack container was overkill for the chocolate too, and it rattled around in there dreadfully. It would have done much better in a second dressing tub, if I had one. I wish Rubbermaid sold those little tubs separately, they are amazingly useful.

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8 responses to “Bento 101: Assignment 2a

  • Mad Auntie Mo

    Silly Rabbit–don’t you know that rattly chocolate is to be cushioned with CAKE?!
    Love the idea of bento but hate to wash all the containers!!!

    • GeekLady

      Well, we had cake, but I felt wedging a tiny sliver of cake in the wee box was silly. I’d much rather have had strawberries, but our last four were inedible.
      These Rubbermaid things are supposed to be dishwasher safe, but since I’m using them most days at the moment, I just hand wash them.

    • GeekLady

      Oh, and I’m sure, Mo, that you’ve had baby kale before, but oh it’s so unbelievably yummy. It’s even better than regular kale!

  • Melanie B

    i’ve been doing some bento experimenting with Dom’s lunches. I know what you mean about feeling the need to fill them with random foods. It wasn’t so hard in the farmer’s market season to just put lots of various vegetable leftovers in them. Now I’m not making lots and lots of vegetable sides and it’s more of a strain. I like those Rubbermaid boxes and need to look into them to have a different option than the Mr. Bento.

  • veggiebentolove

    I remember looking at this on Flickr, and I thought that the lunch would have been the entrée, salad, and dressing with chocolate for dessert, and the yogurt would have been a snack. I’m all about the snacks. I’ve seen the lunch blox but I think I would struggle with what to put in each one, too.

    Tasty bento though :)

    • GeekLady

      Thank you! But I spend so much of my time at work in the lab where we shouldn’t have food or drinks that I seldom unearth myself for a snack. It’ll just make me hungrier.
      The LunchBlox are a better experience with two big boxes though. I got some cheap silicone cups from World Market to use for dividing stuff.

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