With the economy in the state it's in, we're all trying to find ways to make ends meet. Even little things, like packing our lunches for work and school, can help us save money. Luckily a packed lunch doesn't have to be a sandwich and chips. It can be a fun, beautiful, edible work of art!
I've always been fascinated by the Japanese lunch box tradition known as bento. The word bento translates as "lunch box," but the tradition is much more than merely packing a lunch. Japanese mothers shape foods into animal shapes and decorate them, cut vegetables into flowers, hot dogs into sea creatures, and often create themes with their children's lunch foods. These creative meals are then packed into clever, multi-compartmented boxes with logos or other art on them. Such a fun and exciting meal definitely beats a brown bag lunch!
Bentos often contain small, cute containers, themed plastic toothpicks, and tiny little condiment bottles. A well-made bento is both nutritious and visually appealing. Even if you don't bother with the complicated bento boxes, just taking some of bento's sensibilities and applying them to our own lunches can go a long way toward making saving money much more fun.