Packing It In - Chronicling a new era of hurried bentos
Maternity leave is over. My request to work less days/hours = turned down Breaks at work are now non-existent as I spend 15 minutes in the morning and 15 in the afternoon performing the unpleasant and mildly exhausting task of expressing milk with a machine. Things are so busy I never feel able to stop for a cup of tea and my working day has effectively increased by 15 minutes as I need to arrive earlier in order to 'pay' for 50% of the time I spend expressing. For lunch I get half an hour. My working day starts at 8:45am and ends at 5pm (with the option of leaving at 5:30pm if I wanted to have a full lunch hour - but this is less time with my baby, so no thanks). As the nursing mother of an active, demanding and periodically very hungry 10 month old I have to look after myself. Bento have become a vital part of my life. Not so long ago I would have believed it was impossible to prepare appetising obento on a daily basis within my current time constraints. But I've picked up a great deal over the past couple of years on this site from Maki, and in the forums from other members. A lucky break was finding high quality boxes on sale at Muji (just £3 each). I find these particularly easy to wash and have become a recent convert to the two tier style of bento. There's something about dropping food into those long rectangles, everything almost arranges itself and it takes no effort for my lunch to be aesthetically pleasing. Unwrapping a furoshiki onto a desk and revealing two dark boxes on a pretty tablecloth turns lunchtime into a delightful oasis where I can relax and enjoy eating. Having a rice cooker also helps a lot. And it makes short work of the no-need-to-rinse variety of quinoa too. I've started this blog to document a succession of hurried, hastily put together economic bento. I'm afraid it's unlikely there'll be many photos.