Dear my bento friends,
I recently realized this.
When I spend some time to take a look at a new bento box, I realize that I am paying most of my attention to one particular part of it, the lid. To be exact, it is the outer lid I am most interested in. As you know well my friends, a bento box consists of a container box and a lid. In my mind there is an analogy; the container part is the Moon and the lid is the Sun. The container part quietly holds the food in it while the lid boasts its pretty design and color on them to brighten up the whole box like the Sun. Not only that, the lid moves, opens and seals to accomplish the job. Yes, I like bento box lids!
In my blog post No.35 “New Arrival, New Project” I wrote that I was going to make a lid for a bento box which was released by Bento & co as an incomplete box without its outer lid. It has been 5 months since I started to work on the project, but now I have decided to put an end on it. Although after a long search I did find an interesting material to use, it is called “shrink plastic” made of polystyrene, and found out the method to color it and draw some pretty designed patterns on and all, it was too difficult for me to form a proper and stable bento box lid that works like the Sun. Honestly speaking I am a bit disappointed and I really hate to say it but here I officially announce that my lid project and efforts end in vain. It ends in vain but there was something to gain. Through these last 5 months of studying many lids of food containers, I think I realized there are some clear differences between lids for bento boxes and other food containers and it really lead me back to the basic point of bento boxes.
There is nothing wrong with the lid of a food container, many of my food containers have good lid that is solid and grips and seals very well. I think it is the most important function of food containers that it can keep the food inside well and safe. Solid lids are helpful as you can stack another container on top of it and we can be space-effective in our kitchen. Most of my food containers are transparent in color, and I like it that way as it is easy for me to see what is kept inside. I also have some lids that can be shared by several food containers. It is very convenient as you do not have to spend time going through your entire collection until you find one particular lid to save your food. My food containers are multi purpose box. the one same box can keep so different types of food so perfectly!
I found so many good points about the lid of my food container but I was not able to apply my analogy of the Moon and the Sun to these food containers. Something was completely different here and I was wondering why for sometime. To find the answer, I had to go back to the bento box. I had to think and compare the differences between these boxes. And one day I found that the answer was lying in the fact that our bento box is a very personal thing.
It has a lot to do with the history and the food culture in Japan too. In the Japanese household each family member has her/his own bowl for rice and own set of chopsticks. We do not share them with others. This also applies to bento boxes, your bento box is only your box and you enjoy your personal touch by choosing your own favorite colors and designs. Probably that is why I was so disappointed in ending my lid project. I had prepared my own personal touch to the handmade lid but it could not go so far. To me food containers seem to excel in the view of food storage and practicality but it is inferior to bento boxes as a personal kitchen ware that we can add our own preference and enjoyment to. In other words, food containers are to serve you and others but bento boxes are more suitable if you are trying to create your own personal style for your good lunch time.
If my lid project had gone well, I was to draw many red stars on my handmade lid. Baking the shrink plastic in my oven briefly should have printed the stars on the lid and the red color could have shined like the Sun. It could have joined in these red lids of my bento boxes. Instead, I realized another important fact about bento box. And that is a good lesson for me and to share with you.
Thanks for reading!