I’ve begun a new culinary endeavor this week.
I’ve decided to start packing my husband a lunch for work.
As a quick disclaimer, let me just say I don’t know if this will be an every day thing, an every other day thing, or a just when I feel like/have time thing. My husband only works Mon, Tues, Wed this week, so I’m trying it out this week to see how it goes. It’s a sort of trial week as it were.
Now, I’ve been cooking/baking in some capacity since I was a little kid, but packing a lunch is a new thing for me. I’ve never packed a lunch every day. When I was working in Yokohama, I sometimes packed a lunch, but it was always the same thing, and I didn’t take my lunch every day. So packing a different lunch each day, and making sure it’s interesting, healthy, and tastes good is something completely new to me.
My husband asked me what made me decide to start making him a lunch. His work place has a cafeteria, so eats lunch there every day. It’s not really expensive, but the food is infamously mediocre. I know my husband got tired of the food there a long long time ago, and although he’s never pushed me about making him lunch (he said he doesn’t want me to feel pressured into doing it, and he doesn’t mind if I don’t make him lunch. Isn’t he sweet?!), I honestly just thought it would be something nice I could do for him. Plus it’s an interesting new endeavor for me.
So after I decided to give packing lunches a go, I started doing some research for recipe ideas. Even though it’s a packed lunch, I still want it to be healthy, so I don’t want to buy a bunch of pre-packaged processed foods to throw in a lunch box. It’s quite a bit harder though, finding ideas for foods that can handle the lunch box treatment, and be eaten cold or at room temperature. I did find a bunch of good ideas though for healthy homemade lunch foods. [Note: Although we live in Japan and my husband is Japanese, I'm not making a Japanese style bento lunch. Although they're good, and look amazing, I'm not willing to spend two hours every morning to make a lunch that is a work of art. I think the people that do this are amazing and I admire them, but that's not me. That's not to say I won't include Japanese food in his lunch, it just won't be the elaborate Japanese bento style. End of note]
After I gathered a bunch of food ideas, I got a container and stuff for a lunch box. I really wanted to get one of the Laptop Lunches bento boxes, because I think they’re awesome, but they’re not available in Japan, Amazon won’t ship them to Japan, and other online stores charge a lot for shipping. Sooooo, I decided to get something cheap and temporary that we can just throw away when we leave Japan this winter. I ended up getting a plastic container (of a similar size to the laptop lunches boxes I think) and a bunch of smaller little plastic containers that can fit inside it. I also got some bento chopsticks and a gel pack to freeze and pack with the lunch when it needs to be cold. Total price? Five dollars. Go me. The one thing I splurged on (and it really wasn’t much of a splurge to be honest) was a nice thermos. It’s shorter and fatter than a typical thermos, because it’s meant to hold food (soups, stews, etc.) instead of drinks. I can’t wait to try it out!
By the time I’d gathered plenty of ideas and the necessary supplies, I’d gotten quite excited about the whole thing. What can I say? I’m easily excited. This morning I made my husband’s first packed lunch, and despite being sleepy (my husband teases me about how I’m ALWAYS sleepy in the morning and walk around like a zombie), I assembled his lunch quite quickly. The only mishap was I cut my finger open while slicing cheese… but that’s I story for another day!! *cough*
Ham, cheese, and veggie sandwich (lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, cucumber, and green pepper) on my homemade whole wheat bread; a small container of vinaigrette dressing for the sandwich, a bunch of mini grapes, and a homemade granola bar.
Hopefully I’ll be bringing you more lunch pictures from now on, so for those who pack lunches (whether their own, their significant other’s, or their kid’s) I hope you’ll enjoy these lunch ideas!