Bento is a lunch concept that originated in Japan and has spilled into my heart with the force of 1 million Pacific Cooler Capri Suns being squeezed at once. Splash! In love. I make a bento just about every day for myself and Husband. I fill them with nutritious, delicious (and sometimes ambitious) ingredients that make for a perfectly filling and healthful meal during our work day. Bento is a feast for the eyes—so much in fact that I take a photo of each bento I make in hopes of recording my journey in bento. One day, I will be able to recreate the Seattle cityscape or Patrick Swayze’s portrait with just a scoop of rice and a little nori. Until then, I will be posting about bentos and maybe my musings will encourage you to view how you feed yourself and your family in a sparkling new light.
On to a few philosophical bean sprouts about Bento:
IT’S HEALTHY AND STUFF AND THINGS. The bento boxes I use feature two tiers that snap or are banded together.
Meet one of my bento boxes:
Hi, bento box! The bottom half is bigger, which I fill with the main attraction of my lunch. The protein and a little carb action (mmmmm…carb action). Usually that tier will need a little microwave come lunchtime. I make sure the top features the other food groups like fruits, vegetables, dairy and treats. (Don’t see “treats” on the food pyramid? Look closer.) In my bento bag (the cloth bag you put the bento in) I also throw a multivitamin and a calcium + D supplement (ooh, and an emergen-c if one of us is feeling under the weather).
BEING BORING IS…BORING. You know how people use the term “milk toast” to describe people who lack luster for life? I would like to add the synonym “brown bag”. As in, don’t be milk toast and pack the same brown bag lunch every day. Bento is about color, texture, aroma and flavor. It’s about giving your lunch life and maybe making it a little quirky. (Add the movie Mermaids starring Cher to your Netflix queue for inspiration.)
WASTE NOT. Don’t be a wastey wasterton. Nix plastic baggies and grocery store packaging. Say a hearty F U to items like Lunchables and Snack Packs (wait, nevermind…I don’t want to hurt the Snack Pack’s feelings…). And because bento sections are tiny, I’ve started buying a wider range of produce in smaller quantities. The smaller quantities inspired me to start buying organic. Going green is hard, so start with a light sea foam green and go from there.
Here’s a photo of me packing a bento*:
USE YOUR LEFTOVERS! Let’s be real like P. Diddy—Leftovers are kind of gross. It’s hard to explain why, they just are. But when you clean up after dinner and go right from the pan to the bento box and b-line it to the fridge, it’s somehow less gross. In fact, it’s kind of delicious. And…AND…guess what? Your lunch? Already packed! Hell yes. Suddenly you’re Martha Stewart but with better hair. That is, until you start the booze-consuming portion of your evening. You’ll start thinking twice about throwing away the heels of your bread or the last two florets of broccoli. The bento box’s tiny sections give these edible misfits a purpose. Using everything in the fridge is kind of like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, except the end result never comes out looking like cute kittens in a basket. Sorry.
HAVE CONTROL. Kind of like Janet Jackson but with food. Packing a bento box forces you to practice portion control without having to actually practice it. And it’s not about the Nicole Richie Factor™. It’s about bidding a bloated adieu to the 2pm office slump. Repeat after me “I’m actually full.” Because you will be. Crazy, I know.
HAPPY FUN TIME WITH BENTO WHEN LUNCHTIME IS. Using bento as a yummy vehicle to get nutritious food into the bellies of the people you love is the biggest reward. And ALWAYS write a tiny love note to your family members. Hell, if you’re having a bad day write one to yourself.
I had a HORRID bout of insomnia last night. I wanted to punch the insomnia in it’s face. Also, if insomnia had a face it would look kind of like this:
(shutter) Vile insomnia. Despite the fact I have a brand new bed that rocks my nighttime world. Despite the fact that I have a Valley of the (Over-The-Counter-Sleeping) Dolls medicine cabinet. Despite the cozyness of Husband and the warm snugglyness of Walter. Despite ALL that, I couldn’t sleep and am therefore a tiny cranky monster plaid-skirt-clad with a crooked sidepony. I hate everything. EVERYTHING. You included, probably. At least for today. So, considering that I’m a non-theist pessimist today, I figured I should unleash some words of hope into the electronic eCosmos. I mean, eKarma says it will help me cut my (notorious) overwhelmed feeling and day-to-day worries loose. Right? So, here is something hopeful that Husband sent to me the last time perspective started slipping through my fingers like Nickelodeon slime. Maybe there’s someone reading this who could use some good news.
——————————————————————— TWO GLASSES OF WINE When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 glasses of wine…
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.” The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. "Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full." "The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else; the small stuff." "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you." "Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. Do one more run down the ski slope. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first; the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand." One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend.” ———————————————————————
that Twinkies last longer than most marriages. Which is gross. So, Internets, I would like to raise a tiny cream-filled golden sponge cake to a long shelf life and a Hostess Marriage™ for husband and I. Because I love him sooooo much.
It’s weird but after I watched it, this popped up:
I guess I have to go, like, do something now. I guess I could, um, talk to someone. In person. Like, relate to someone. Have actual relationships with people. Or I could just see if there’s anything new on Pink is the New Blog!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EVIE. I can’t wait to celebrate with you Saturday!
Here’s another life update that will hopefully begin to spackle the gaping hole that exists between you and me.
New rogue adjectives. And some of these are painfully outdated. I suck.
1. Musical Viva Oz Vegas was an insane success. Two sold out shows at the largest and fancy-pantsiest dinner theater in Seattle—on Halloween night no less. The show is going on tour same time this year and you can bet your sweet ass I’ll be on the bus.
2. Wifey Otherwise known as “Happily-ever-aftery”.
3. Employed I did not stutter. Well, maybe a little bit. Last November I took a copywriting position and a gunnysack full of lettuce from one of the world’s most influential and caffeinated brands. I live in Seattle—you figure it out.
4. Tan Thanksgiving was spent in Kona on the big island. And spring break-ish was spent on Maui. Still glowing from that trip. Eye candy can be found on our Flickr. Warning: may cause intense bouts of jealousy and depression about current weather.
5. Jazz-handy The Heavenly Spies produced and pranced through Peep Show from February through April. It was by far our most successful and sparkly run yet. We were also invited to perform at The Moisture Festival, The All-Star Burlesque Revue, Tulalip Casino and many more. Next up? Exotic World stepping down performance!
6. Relieved Uncle Sam came and went like Mr. McFeely, the special delivery guy on Mr. Rogers, and I didn’t have to punch him in the face. In fact, if Uncle Sam wasn’t so tall and creepy, I could have hugged him! Yes, I got a return. No, I didn’t blow it all on snacks. Yet.
7. BFF-y OMG, I love my friends. PDX, SEA, BFE…they are all amazing. And, Internets, you know how I hate that word. We’ve had so many adventures. Might as well face it, I’m addicted to fun. Guitar riff! Oh, and I made a new BFF! Her name is Amanda. Her favorite color right now is yellow. She’s pretty inside and out.
8. Nostalgic Ok, I was born all, like, sappy and “remember that one time….”, but I was feeling really nostalgic when our little Walter turned 3 years old. It seems like just yesterday when, well, you know. We love him so much! Something else I love is husband. We celebrated our 6-year non-wedding anniversary over peanut butter cheeseburgers, beer and a flick. Snacks and a movie…just like April Fools six years ago!
Things to look forward to:
Um, SUMMER. Roller-skating birthday bonanza in pdx. Peep Show touring to Portland this month. Coulter family fun. Pizza on the BBQ anyone? Las! Vegas! Exotic! World! Lounging at Madison Beach with BFF brigade. The Heavenly Spies present: Femme Fatale opening in July. My 1-year wedding anniversary to Mr. Coulter.