Lunch Week Begins with a Bento!

Starry Night Bento

Photo courtesy of Champuro

So there’s shark week (on Discovery), pork week (on Salon.com), and now there’s Lunch Week! If you’re like me, you’re still indignant about the fact that school now starts in the dead of summer. I read in Florida Table today that “school starts” in fall. School starts in AUGUST and it is 90 plus degrees. Well, we move on and pack lunch. Do I hear groans? Well, this week Miami Dish hopes to inspire you with sensible but not ascetic money-saving lunch tips, silly lunchbox pictures, completely over-achieving lunch ideas, and some cool links.

Now that bento boxes have crossed the Pacific from Japan and firmly situated themselves in suburban households, several American blogs offer daily tips on ways to liven up your kid’s lunch. Not just the kids! I would love it if someone packed me the “Starry Night” lunch pictured above!

Biggie, who used to live in Japan and now resides in San Francisco, writes Lunch in a Box. So, her lunches have a decidedly Asian uh, bent. Biggie quotes Annabel Karmel: “We condition our children to like stereotyped children’s food but, left to their own devices, children like things like curries.”

Biggie declares her creed in her “Mommy’s Lunch Manifesto:” she wants nutrition and speed. Thus, speed bentos! Her tutorials and tips page gives step by step advice and photos on how to pack your own cute lunches. You can also get ingredient ideas if you are stuck in a lunch rut, but aren’t necessarily up to the full presentation.

Jennifer McCann’s Vegan Lunchbox is so successful that she just got a book deal! I love her “Summer Veg Out” dips and just look at those little hands grabbin’ for the veggies! There are lots of great ideas for adults, kids, vegans or omnivores. She’s a crafty lady—she even crochets fruit cozies! Vegan Lunchbox has lots of pictures of all kinds of bento boxes and reviews several, in case you are interested in getting one yourself.

I think that these ladies may spend more time than the average joe on packing lunch (more than the 2 minutes it takes to buy nitrate-soaked Lunchables or salt-encrusted Hot Pockets) but I think that they both invest more in the presentation. You don’t necessarily have to make lunch look like a masterpiece every day.

These bloggers are creative, but they like to save time too. For example, if you look at Biggie’s manifesto page, the spaghetti looks lovely in cupcake holders. However, all she did was cook a big batch of spaghetti  and freeze it in smaller groups. It’s just as easy to place the spaghetti in a cupcake holder as it is in any other container. A nice presentation for your own lunch once in a while can be a nice treat for yourself.

Tomorrow, forget saving time–Miami Dish does bento boxes for overachievers. It’s charaben!

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