Friday, September 3, 2010

Oh, Bento, You are So Adorable

I've been fairly obsessed lately with bento-style lunches and snacks.  I don't go full-on Japanese with the food (though I'm partial to cold tofu with soy sauce, ginger, & green onions), but I think it's really cute to see the little compartments filled with fun and tasty eats.  I particularly like it when I take the time to make an artful arrangement of the bento.  My son gleefully dances around with his "snack tray" so I think he likes bento as well.

By far, the bento lunchbox that I covet the most is from PlanetBox.  Why do I like PlanetBox the best of all the bento lunchboxes on the market?  I love that it is constructed of stainless steel, it can be put in the dishwasher, it doesn't have a bunch of pieces that will inevitably get lost, and it appears to open very easily.  Based on the construction material alone, this lunchbox will easily last for the rest of my life.

The only problem that I can see with it is the price.  Spending $35 for something in which to tote my lunch is a little too rich for my blood.  But let's face it, I'd want the PlanetBox Complete which includes the bento box, the carrier case, a lil' dipper, a big dipper, and a set of magnets to decorate the box.  That option comes in at a cool $60.  I'm just not willing to spend that kind of money on what is essentially a freaking lunchbox.  Does that make me cheap?

Thanks to the wonder that is the internet, I found a couple of PlanetBox giveaways that I entered.  I don't know why I bothered because it's not like I win contests, but I figured that it couldn't hurt to try.  Yes, I guess I officially have Giveaway Fever.

Assuming that I don't win a PlanetBox (and I sure as heck won't buy one), I've been looking for less expensive bento box options.  Amazon offers a few pages worth of items that are suitable, but I don't think I'll make any of those purchases.  Why?  Well, because I feel that if I'm willing to spend $20 for a bento lunchbox, I might as well pony up an extra $15 and get the one that I really, really, really want and like.

I've discovered a somewhat workable option that I can start to use right now.  Costco has a 20-container (BPA free) package of Ziploc-brand plastic containers for $10.  Included in this variety pack (which includes lids for all 20 containers) are two containers that have three divided sections.  It isn't an ideal bento lunchbox, I prefer five-section bento, but it certainly is better than nothing.

I've been pondering how I'll use my new "bento boxes."  Cold soba noodles, the aforementioned cold tofu, orange slices.  Sandwich, veggie sticks, dip.  Celery sticks, apple slices, peanut butter.  Crackers, meats, cheeses.  Pasta, olives, tomatoes.  Salad, apple slices, dressing. 

Really, the possibilities are endless (even with only three sections to work with) and I look forward to creating wonderfully pleasing bento lunches to enjoy.

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