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Lunch in a Box: Building a Better Bento

ATTN! The new Lunch in a Box website is at http://www.lunchinabox.net

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This is the former LiveJournal location of Lunch in a Box. I use it only to post summaries of my blog posts, which are featured in full at www.lunchinabox.net. Please visit Lunch in a Box. for full information, an organized Top Speed Tips page, expandable archives, full search and shopping links. I'll continue to keep this LiveJournal site for past entries, but you'll want to update your links to point to the new site for my new blog entries and full resources. I'll post regular summaries to this LJ blog with links back to lunchinabox.net, but LJ users can also keep up with my entries via your Friends Page by friending my syndicated feed here: [info]lunch_in_a_box 

Lunch in a Box: Building a Better Bento

I'm a work-at-home mom of a preschooler (called "Bug" online for privacy reasons), obsessed with cooking and building a faster, better packed lunch. I lived in Japan for nine years and am fluent in Japanese, but am into all cuisines. I've noticed loads of time-saving packed lunch tips in my Japanese-language magazines and bento cookbooks, so I've started trying these out, tweaking them for a non-Japanese kitchen and world food. My goal is tasty, attractive lunches with a minimum of morning prep. Comments in Japanese are welcome too: コメントは日本語でもどうぞ。

I also started a couple of Flickr photo groups: Kid Eats about children's lunches and Lunchbox Recipes for food recipes that are particularly well suited to packed lunches. If these are up your alley, please stop by!

LJ-users: I'm flattered if you'd like to friend this LJ journal, so please go ahead -- no need to ask me. I friend back people who have lunch blogs (any kind -- bento, Mr. Bento, Laptop Lunches, Tupperware, etc.) so that only packed lunches show up on my Friends Page. If you'd like to be included, please let me know and I'll add you back.

Lunch in a Box is an affiliate of both Amazon.com and J-List, an online store that sells Japan-related gear including bento boxes. If you're going to be buying from these stores anyway, using the links below will support Lunch in a Box (I get pennies on the dollar when an order is placed through the links). Thank you!

My back story:
A reader asked what got me into packing lunches like this. I'd lived in Japan for my 20's but didn't pack lunch often until my husband was misdiagnosed with celiac disease at the beginning of 2005. Celiac disease is an intolerance to gluten found in wheat, barley and rye.

After the diagnosis, I didn't want my husband to feel deprived or depressed about his dietary restrictions. I decided to start sending along delicious lunches that would make him feel like he was eating better food than his colleagues who went out for lunch. A trip to the local Japanese-language bookstore turned up bento cookbooks that I started studying, specifically the creative packing tips and techniques that could be adapted to our normal diet.

Nine months later, the doctors at a new celiac clinic figured out that my husband didn't have celiac disease after all (!), and we were able to reintroduce gluten to the kitchen. I lapsed with packing lunches after the "undiagnosis" until our son was about one, when I found myself carting around a diaper bag stuffed full of little Tupperware containers, or leaving the playground early to go get lunch. Time to pull out those bento boxes again so we can spend more fun time out and about!

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