Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Posted by Petra Hildebrandt
Whenever I have to explain the concept of bento boxes to people who have never heard of them, the obvious explanation is: it is a Japanese lunchbox. And the next question, inevitably, is: isn't Japanese cuisine terribly complicated for Westerners? Well, not quite... and most of my lunchboxes are anything but filled with Japanese foods. However, I adapted a few (easy) Japanese ideas for this lunch:
As Biggie pointed out last week, a lunch box doesn't have to be filled with the equivalent of a buffet-style meal to be satisfying, but nonetheless some variety adds to the fun as much as to the nutritional value. So let me delve a little into bento philosophy.
In an ideal world, a bento should employ the principle of goshiki (five colors - typically red/orange, black/purple/brown, white, yellow and green), and even better, goho, or five cooking methods - such as grilling, frying, simmering, steaming, pickling and boiling (I've added "raw" to my personal list of choices). By doing this, you will vary the textures throughout your meal, too. You don't have to pack Japanese foods to do this, though.
So in my not quite Japanese lunch above, I packed
To add a little crunch and freshness (and color), I packed a few (organic) cucumber strips to munch on. Cutting the scallions and cucumber (and removing the stone from the red plums in the second tier) takes about 2 minutes, if you did the cooking the night before, so this is done and packed easily even in a hurry.
The "snack" tier features an instant coffee drink (I never buy these, they somehow appear in my life via promotion teams strolling the city, or via mail) and an organic chocolate biscuit bar, plus a handful of almonds as a quick protein-and-fat snack, two red plums and a few mini chocolates. Apple optional :-)
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This Post was written by Petra from Foodfreak