Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bento love

This is the first post in my lunch series, which I've fondly titled: How a geek likes to eat. Future posts will discuss the process by which I put together lunches. This first post is going to focus on the most important ingredient: inspiration :)

I just love the idea of bento lunches. The idea is to take small amounts of a variety of foods, pack them in a pleasing way, and then have a wonderful meal to go. Bento lunch packing theory discusses everything from nutritional choices, to creative packing, to the pleasure of opening a beautiful bento at lunchtime. If I had someone to do the hard work for me, I would like nothing better to open a one of these artfully made bentos every day. Or at least something with a geek flair such as Darth Vader bento. While I might enjoy eating them, I'm not willing to take too much time away from my other geeky pursuits. I need an everyday lunch solution that I can get together with a minimum amount of prep work.

My inspiration for the speed bento is Lunch in a Box, a blog written by a mom who prepares bentos for her son each morning. Her goal is pack great lunches for her son, while utilizing left overs, quick food fixes, and other speedy techniques. Her lunches still end up looking better than the average sandwich, and yet it seems like something I could emulate.

I also find inspiration in the foods I like to eat. One of my lunch packing goals is to have a lunch I'll enjoy every day. If not, why go through all the trouble? I could could buy lunch, we have a cafeteria at work. Much of the time they offer something suitably healthy. But work lunches have their way of becoming rather mundane after a while. It seems like the same foods were showing up over and over. I really like a handful of things that they serve (love the cabbage rolls!), but much of the rest of the time I was just eating work food because it was there and I was hungry. That does not please my geeky sensibilities. I want to enjoy every bite of food that I put into my mouth. That means bringing my own food, and not relying on the luck of the lunch gods.

So at the beginning of this year (The beginning of the year being the end of August, did I ever mention that I teach at a university?), I embarked on my new lunch journey. My inspiration being the bento, and my desire to feed myself well. And my goals being to accomplish that ... at least most of the time :)