The word bento box is not as common as the box itself. There are so many version of the bento box that gets people confused most of the time. The bento box, which is origin of the Japanese culture, was first used by warriors to divide their single portion meals. The design has been adopted by many and used all over the word. A good example is the lunch trays that are used in most schools. They have simple dividers that help separate the foods. The lunch trays are Japanese inspired, originally by the bento.
Bento lunch box basics
The bento box lunch box typically has dividers that will allow you to store the different types of food in one container. The dividers in the bento make packaging very easy and also prevent the food from becoming a huge mess in your container. Another benefit of the dividers is that you will be able to manage the portions if your food. The partition ensures that you fill in the correct portions of the vegetable and amount of food without overdoing the cookies.
You have probably heard this a million times, but the bento makes it so much easier to pack your kids lunch. The tedious morning task is no longer strenuous when you have a bento for your kid. Also, they give you the chance to store enough food for the kids in minimal containers. This makes it easier for them to carry their meals to school. These reusable and eco-friendly containers will not only save you the cash needed to buy new ones but also reduce the use of disposable bags.
A brief history on bento boxes
Funny enough, the invention of the bento did not come with the name. In the early lunchbox concepts, the term was not even thought of. During the Kumar period, the Hoshi-ii (also known as the dried meal) was the lunchbox it consisted of dried rice without any packaging. The rice could be boiled in water or heated. Wooden lacquered boxes were created during the Momoyama period. They were considered the first true bento boxes.
In the Edo period, bento boxes became an everyday meal in Japan. The contents being served in the boxes relied on your occupation or social class. Tourists, site seers and travellers carried the Kisho bento which was a small waist bento. It often consisted of small rice balls wrapped well in bamboo leaves. Large bento boxes were made for special occasional like flower viewing parties. Aluminium was introduced into bento around the twentieth century. It was used in simple bento preparation and paved the way for microwavable bento boxes.
Why choose a Bento Lunch box?
There are several reasons why you should purchase a bento box. You cannot go wrong with the type of bento box you choose. They are eco friendly, cost effective, space saving, provide organization, allow portion control and best of all ensure some kind of freshness. They come in a variety of shapes and a size, which means you can choose a selection that fits you or your child’s needs.
Some bento boxes are created with fixed dividers. This is very advantageous for people who do not have the time to calculate the different potion sizes. Other bento have removable dividers that allow
for some customisation. This can help you arrange different portions for different occasions or meals.
Different types of bento lunch boxes
The Makunouchi bento
These are basic two section bento boxes that are found in supermarkets, convenient stores and department stores. They are usually prepared by a caterer. One side of the makunouchi contains a rice side while the other side dishes. This bento was originally served to actors and audience members in kabuki theatres.
They are Japanese picnic lunch boxes. The koraku bento is large and meant to be shared among small groups of people. They are very common during the hanami season. People choose the koraku bento as a symbol. Triangular rice and maki-zushi rolls are commonly served on these bento boxes.
The Hinomaru and shikaeshi bento
Hinomaru means the circle of the sun and found as a symbol on the Japanese flag. It simply means simplicity and elegance. You can store white rice in this bento and top it off with some red plum and a side of fish or meat. The shikaeshi bento is a revenge lunchbox. Most people associate this with unpleasant surprises for spouses. It can go to the extent of raw or embarrassing meals.
This is a bento dish prepared by a loving wife, mother or girlfriend. A special lunch is prepared and packed in the bento as a surprise. The bento may be handmade or store bought.
The shokado bento
It is a simple black lacquered box. The design is very simple but comes out beautiful. It was traditionally used to serve light meals to the guests or during the tea ceremonies. You can find this bento in high quality restaurants around Japan.
The wooden bento boxes
They are authentic boxes made from cypress, pine or Japanese cedar. There materials have been used to make bento boxes for a long period of time. The design is very simple, with two compartments. This is your everyday use bento. With this bento, a little bit more care is needed. You cannot put it in the dishwasher or microwave.
The hangetsu bento boxes
Hangetsu, which means half moon, are bento boxes that are constructed in a half moon like shape. This traditional bento is very popular for traditional meals. The shape is appealing but packing your lunch will be a little challenging.
The aluminium bento box
They are made from high quality anodized aluminium. It is pretty hard to find these types of bento everywhere because most modern ones are made of plastic. Aluminium is easy to clean and maintains and they are stronger than most bento boxes
Here are some fun facts about bento boxes
Your typical bento box should have a balance of 5 dishes. The most common bento box dishes include the meat, fish, meat and finally peaked vegetables. To start with, you can try black cod with Miso, sushi rice and teriyaki salmon
The lunch box has amazing health benefits; it allows you to control your portions and those of your kids. You will know when you are putting too much rice in the bento and not enough vegetable. Also, it prevents your kids from relying on other food sources which might be totally unhealthy. Some places have processed foods which are not healthy at all. You will also save the money needed on buying lunch every school day.
For you it may not seem like a big deal, but bento boxes make life so much easier. Buy a bento box to take away the complications that come with packing your regular lunch. It also eliminates any need for plastic containers and bags that are harmful to the environment. Bento boxes allow you to simply pack all your meals in one organised container.