Archive for September, 2010

containers

September 27, 2010

As mentioned thoughts about lunch weigh heavy on my mind these days. It is not that there is nothing else going on. Work life is busy, home life is busy, scrabbling to find time for personal fun and projects is a constant. Certain that I am not alone in these feelings I wanted to share a personal finding. No job is important enough to cause you to forego a decent lunch and lunch is a point in the day when it is critical to stop, reflect, eat and enjoy.

An important piece of this equation is the container in which you are packing your food stuffs. Nothing is more of a bummer than opening your pack, laptop case, brief case, lunch bag and finding your ipod  coated in a thick coating of minestrone or discovering a stray piece of cheese weeks later in a dark corner of your away bag. Choose well, choose size appropriate, choose well sealed and well fabricated. Do not save money here. Spend money on your tools and they will serve you well.

Considerations:

Do you have access to a fridge?

What do you most often bring for lunch?

How much do you need to be sated and how much space will you need to be placated?

How easy is the container to clean?

How easy is it to assemble and pack?

How light and easy to carry is your lunch setup?

I am sure I have missed some details, but this gave me the fundamentals for making good choices which have served me well and saved me a ton of cash.

My top picks for non refrigerator scenarios are as follows listed from most costly to least.

Modern Bento boxes like Zojirushi’s Mr. and Ms. Bento line or Tiger’s thermal are great. They keep food cool or hot or both for around 6 hours and require a little planning. If you are waiting more than 6 hours you need to establish a stealth snacking strategy at work or call the labor board.

A great site to get stoked:

http://justbento.com/

Stanley and Thermos are making some great new containers which are reasonable, functional and well made.

The soft pack insulated lunch bag is the new stand in for the lunch box of yesteryear, but keep it clean. Just because it starts out the year clean, shiny and sterile looking does not mean that after a few weeks it will remain so. Take a peek into any kids lunch bag by the end of September and behold the corners and crevices; remember it wasn’t so long ago that the eating process for the little ones was a full contact sport. In short, buy well made and easy to clean. Additionally, get containers which fit in the bag you chose. The plastic type with a gasket work well and will save you a ton on plastic bags.

For those of us with a provided workplace refrigerator the container possibilities are virtually endless. I personally do not like microwaving food in plastic containers so I love the glass containers with a good solid lid. I also like a container that is not so cramped that you feel like a dog while you are sitting down to lunch. If you can; bring a plate and some cutlery, heat your food, and plate your lunch. I have found that it is almost a foreign concept to sit down with a plate and cutlery and eat a proper meal. I guarantee that your day will change if you sit down and eat a semi civilized meal at lunch instead of gulping down food and pretending to work in front of your computer. Honestly, no one is impressed at your diligence, work ethic or productivity. On the other hand, sitting down calmly and eating a nice hand-made meal on a plate will make you calmer, more productive and at least give the appearance that you are not a ulcer candidate.

http://www.pyrexware.com/index.asp?pageId=14

Go out and have some lunch. Stay in and have some lunch. Just get up and stroll away from your cube, office or workspace and stretch your legs.

back to school; lunch and a full blown rant

September 7, 2010

I remember the excitement and terror as a young boy heading out into the crisp New England air on the first day of school. My family at my side; we would head for the bus stop, and I would prepare myself for the raucous ride of a few towns to the regional middle school. The bus would stop at each of the town centers and a load of kids would pile on both friends and rivals. I would check to make sure I had pencils, notebooks, erasers, hole punches, rulers and lunch.

Many of the kids would have no lunch pail; they were the lucky ones who would be grabbing the school provided salisbury steak, butterscotch pudding and deep fried tater tots. I had a home made lunch with pumpernickel or whole wheat bread, meatloaf & fresh tomato sandwiches, home baked cookies, fresh fruits and vegetables. I was so envious and knew I would be teased; many of the kids would never have seen or heard of pumpernickel bread. Some of them used racial slurs to describe my sandwiches. Lunch time was the period which separated the predators from the prey and I thank my lucky stars that I was always to stupid to be afraid of anyone or anything. I would fight at the drop of a dime to defend the honor of my home made meals. I often got to spend my lunch at the supervised table with rougher crowd. By the end of each year the crew was trading pudding for home baked cookies and pizza for fresh ground cashew butter on rice cakes.

So what does this have to do with anything? I have found that I get totally stoked about lunch. I have been making some pretty elaborate and easy to put together little dittys and I think I want to share my crazy. I hope to sustain this for a bit or at least until I run out of things to cook and jam into a lunch container. So look out for future posts with pictures, ingredients, recipes and rants.

Cheers.