The benefits of the packed lunch are huge. It saves us money (most of the time), we can make sure we get a full balanced meal that fits with our dietary requirements. Oh yeah. No more cobbled together meals in the staff canteen of 2 poppadoms, a spoonful of rice and mango chutney.
Admittedly though lunch made by someone else can be exciting, tasty, hot, and - my favorite - cooked by someone else. Which is why I like to pack pretty boxes. Because I have been know to pack lunch, leave it in my back and eat something other than my sad leftovers in a boring box.
Lesson 2: Looking Good
Bento boxes are our friends here. We can pack them up so that we're excited to eat them rather than disappointed that we have to. So how do we make a lunch that looks so good that we're excited to open the box? And how do we keep it looking good until lunch?
Pack It Full
Was that one for the main tips in the least lesson? Yes. Totally. It's an important one. This week we're packing our lunch boxes full because it makes them look vibrant and awsome and fit to burst. A box full of food makes you want to eat it. A box full of air makes you feel deprived.
Packing full, both to the sides of the box and the top, also helps you to keep everything in place and looking perfect come lunchtime. Lean from my mistakes. See how the lunch box above wasn't packed right to the top? Well by lunch I had broccoli bits on my grapes. I picked them out but I got a bit grumpy doing it.
Use All Your Colours
In posh Japanese cooking there's the idea of putting all of the five colours - red, black, green, yellow and white - on a plate. I'm not doing Japanese haute cuisine here but I like to keep that principle. It doesn't happen in every box. I construct them a little after six after all If you look above I have white in the rice, green in the avocado, veg and grapes, black in the grapes and nori, and red carrots and sweet potato. It makes things look considered and delicious.
I'm not into constructing elaborate scenes or putting cute faces on things. Well I am but again 6am. I'm not really away until 10:30, I just have my eyes open. I do like to make things look good though. Edible embellishments like these flower are fabulous. If you don't grow edible flowers think about herbs, a final grind of pepper, some sesame seeds.
You can, of course, always but things. Bento picks, little sauce bottles, mini cases. If you can't find things sold specifically for bento then look at cupcake accessories. Silicone cups and pics are common in the cucupcakes world too. And the little fish bottle that comes with sushi? Pocket it when you are done. Of course don't forget to check out things like tupperware and lunch boxes. The above salad box, with it's sauce bottle, was bought in Torquay. Not all the pretty things are imported from Japan.
So we've gone over picking our box and ways to stuff it full of food to keep us full and happy. Now we've learned a little about making that food look good. Next Friday we're going to talk about keeping it all fresh. Until then MoFo continues as usual. If you're interested in the food in this week's boxes I'll be reviewing the recipe books I nabbed them from.