A few months ago, I watched a Gordon Ramsay episode (I forget which show–it was either his “Kitchen Nightmares” or the UK original–I watch ALL of his shows they are TERRIFIC) during which he initiated a tiffin delivery service at lunchtime. There he was, showing the staff (and by proxy, we the viewers) an entire box of these really awesome stackable, portable tins. Lunch would be delivered in those shiny tins.
My reaction: Cuuuute. I had to have them. IMMEDIATELY!!!!
I grew up in the tradition of “bento boxes.” My mother didn’t call lunch “brown bag lunches,” she called them “bentos.” When we went on a picnic she said, “I’ll prepare a bento box.” And when I was on a school field trip, “bento” it was, again. In 1970s America, that meant I got a lot of weird stares and finger pointing. All because I didn’t bring lunch in a lunch box with Daffy Duck on it or in a small paper brown bag. Or the requisite bologna sandwich with potato chips.
I didn’t understand how awesome my bento box was at the time–which for me was stackable plastic boxes filled with leftovers from dinner (in hindsight, waaay better than an Oscar Mayer bologna sandwich). But eventually, my mother gave in and started packing lunch for me in a plastic Bugs Bunny lunch box.
Of course, the transition was not seamless–at first, she packed my lunches in a REGULAR sized paper bag (the kind that could hold at least four cantaloupes) to my great dismay. Where did white people buy these tiny brown lunch bags?! We eventually found them, but not before procuring a very cute plastic lunch box at the local Zody’s.
I admit, the sandwiches paled in comparison to the tasty Korean food she used to pack for me, but escaping the teasing of classmates was worth the trade off
Now I’m going back to my roots. I’ve fallen in love with bento boxes..and tiffin tins.
I found my tiffin tins at AngelinHome. I bought the mini tiffin tins–and they are a bit small, so unless you’re a super light eater, get the regular sized ones.
I find them entrancing. The biggest drawback is the obvious: tiffins are made of metal. And metal cannot be microwaved. So they are a bit of a bummer when you drag them to work and realize you have to take them OUT of the tin to heat up. So I’ve been packing fruit salads and such in them. Delish.