One of the things I’ve noticed as I try to eat a lower carb diet is the change in how I eat. Not just what but actually how I think about assembling a meal. Before, I usually ate something served over a starchy base or I might incorporate the base in the dish itself. Maybe Sweet and Sour Tempeh over rice or Red Beans and Rice. Good food and there are certainly a number of ways to still eat that way but now I find myself eating in courses. Maybe a bit of salad, an entree and some sort of dessert.
That presents a little bit of a challenge when it comes to carrying my lunch. It’s pretty easy to just throw everything in a container and take that in with me. When I have a number of items and I don’t want them to mix (if not wanting salad dressing dressing on my omelet marks me as neurotic, so be it); well, that’s harder. I still have bad memories of squashed PBJ sandwiches and potato dust instead of chips appearing from my lunch box in elementary school.Someone, somewhere must have solved this. I’m certain a lot of folks have but the Japanese have a particularly elegant solution to the problem: the bento box. Bento boxes in Japan take many forms, from disposable ones sold in the equivelent of 7-11’s to hand lacquered works of art.
In its most basic form, a bento is just a compartmented box that holds food. As with so much from Japan, it has evolved well past that most basic form. I really am not sure how important making your food look like kitties or bunnies is but making food look appealing is a good thing.The pattern I see with bentos is about four different courses of food. Perhaps a salad, some fruit as a dessert, a few veggies as finger food and an entree. I could see some shredded lettuce, cucumber and tomato with a bit of dressing filling in for the first course and perhaps some grapes would be a good choice as a finger food dessert. Veggies? Well, cauliflower could be dipped in the dressing or perhaps some carrots. And the entree? Well that’s where my interest at the moment is falling. A vegan omelet? Bean balls? A number of possibilities spring to mind and we’ll just have to see where we end up.
Oh, did I forget to mention the most important fact? My folks got me a Mr. Bento for my birthday last week. Let the good times roll!
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