Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Food, Food, Glorious Food! Sept 2009

When I was 11, and living in Hawaii, we had a Japanese woman, by the name of Toki Yamaguchi, who came on Wednesdays to clean and do the washing and ironing for my mother. When Toki took her lunch break she would sit down at our 1954 chrome and swirly gray Formica kitchen table with her Bento Box and chopsticks. I was fascinated.

I peeked over her shoulder while she poked around in her mysterious meal. Soon she was bringing extras and offering me tastes from her exotic looking lacquer and mother-of-pearl lunch box on the days she knew I would not be in school. I got to try rice balls with ume (pickled plum) tucked inside, various kinds of sushi, steamed fish, pickled vegetables, toasted seaweed, sashimi, teriyaki beef and chicken, Udon noodles and so many other assorted goodies that I've been hooked on Japanese food ever since.

Imagine my surprise last week when surfing the internet, I ran across an article in the NY Times on Bento Boxes! What a huge craze they have become. Admittedly, this interest has been mostly spawned by mothers trying to pack healthy and affordable lunches for their kids so they don't have to participate in the school lunch programs. . .where catsup is considered a vegetable. . . but the whole concept of multiple small portions of many different colorful fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds and proteins makes sense for everyone who is looking to eat a healthy diet.

The more I clicked, the more inspired I became.

The concept of smaller portions of fresh foods, creatively prepared, and utilizing a greater variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins happens to be directly up my alley. I am a foodie, and am most happy eating a fresh, primarily vegetarian, diet which I've seemed to veer away from since moving to Mexico.

But it was this site Laptop Lunches and their Photo Gallery that sent me rushing down to the Joco mercado. I bought blackberries, peaches, papaya, apples, carrots, zukes, lettuce, cukes, radishes, mushrooms, avocados, spinach, celery, chopped mixed veges, bagels, whole grain rice and tortillas, multi-grain crackers, tostadas, nuts, raisins, yogurt, cottage cheese - both non-fat and non-sugared, and fresh fish.

That night I made my first 'Bento Plate' and have been eating like this ever since. I feel better, am more satisfied after meals, am having more fun making meals, and am throwing away way less leftovers - since a tiny bit of leftover can be a portion for the next Bento Plate.

Last night I made these vege patties from a package of fresh chopped assorted vegetables that we can buy at the tianguis here in Mexico, and they were delicious.

Next up will be this zucchini saute and whatever else is lying around.


Every one of these pictures are from the Laptop Lunch Photo Gallery site

and all the recipes are available on their Menu Library.

-A very special thank you to the ladies from Laptop Lunch
and their inspirational concept of healthy eating-


  1. I recently read an article about Laptop Lunches, and immediately fell in love. I haven't actually bought a box yet, but my kids' lunches are looking much nicer!

  2. Hi Leslie, I fell in love with it too! Your daughter is lucky. I added you to the blog roll, good post on last night.

  3. I assume the same thing .... but when in Japan in the early '60's we took a train trip from Tokyo to a mountain ski resort on the west side. At each of the train stations along the way vendors sold these box lunches very much like TV dinners but the box was of Bamboo and paper covered. Glad I tried one

  4. They ARE like TV dinners or like airline meals - well, kinda, sorta. In this case they are made with REAL food, but compartmentalized like Bento boxes.

  5. Yes I love Laptop Lunches and find their photos to be so inspiring. There is a flickr group as well. I don't even have kids, but I use the boxes for my own lunch and my husband's. It is so fun to pack lunches in these boxes. I've given them as birthday gifts which might sound funny, but I always get comments on my lunches when people see me eat from them- so I figure it's a pretty safe bet! hope you enjoy!

  6. Hola Celina,

    Thanks for reminding me of the flickr site! forgot to add it to the post, but will now.

    Check here for more ideas: http://www.flickr.com/groups/bentoboxes/pool/ Sorry I can't link it so just cut and paste.

    I feel much better eating like this again. Amazing. Food really is fuel.


  7. Yay!!! Woo-hoo! Don't know if you know, but Laptop Lunches published part of this post on their blog! How cool! Check it out on http://laptoplunch.blogspot.com/2009/09/food-food-glorious-food.html

  8. Cool, huh? Got a nice email from them too. Woohoo for sure!!!
    Thanks, girl.

  9. Awesome post! Thank you for sharing that sweet story about Toki! You painted such a lovely picture for me!

    I am a huge fan of Laptop Lunchboxes and I have 2 - one original and one of their new 2.0 versions! They have helped changed how I eat in a wonderful way! :)

  10. Thanks, Avie. Your blog is adorable, you clearly are a fan of LL too. It is an excellent way to live and eat.
    The most prominent thing I've discovered since I started eating good again is a lack of the craving for something sweet after a meal.