Bento Collection in Action: Lock & Lock Bento Double Decker

An Intro

I’ve decided to show off my bento collection. In use. There’ll be links so you can buy to your heart’s content if you so desire.

Why am I doing this? Pretty much just because.

Also, since I’m gluten-free, wheat-free, and dairy-free, this may help spur ideas for similar allergen-free lunches. I’m not allergic to corn, peanuts, soy, or nuts in general, but I’ll note when they exist.

Note: these aren’t necessary healthy lunches. Make and eat at your own risk.

Bento in Action!

On the left, you can see the undivided container. That’s half a cup of cooked white rice, with a simple slow cooker chicken recipe on top (recipe: chicken pieces in slow cooker, dump good jar of spaghetti sauce over chicken pieces. Make sure cooker is half-full; I like a small 2.5 to 3 qt cooker for this dish).

On the right is the divided container. Unlike many other divided bento containers, there are actually little slots in the top lock-down lid (not pictured) that actually keep food separate. That’s ~20g of apple cubes ((Arkansas Black, if you must know.)), grapes ((Red flame grapes.)), wonderfully addictive almond thin crackers with the most unbelievable non-dairy home-made cheez ever. Without casein, this cheez still melts while being solid at room temperature.

Here’s a block of it. ((Yes, that’s a “Kiss of Fire” lyric in the description.)) It’s basically 32 calories per 2 tablespoon slice. It’s strangely mild and yet cheesy, and definitely reminiscent of a real Colby cheese. If you’re worried about agar agar being made of seaweed, the agar agar product itself has little to no taste; it’s just there to gel, kind of like plain gelatin (note: I have no idea if gelatin will work in this recipe).

You can find the recipe in The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. The agar agar can be a bit difficult to find in the west (ultimately I bought agar agar from Amazon), but it’s the magic ingredient here (along with the nutritional yeast and other ingredients for flavor and, oddly enough, a radioactive orange color).

Let me tell you, crackers and cheez, as do crackers and real cheese, don’t meet well together in the enclosed space of a bento. I’ll keep them separate next time, because it’s quite worth it.

There’s also a little sin included in this bento (alongside a mandarin/satsuma, not that it really balances it all out): dairy-free carob fudge. Oh my gods, it tastes wonderful and acts just like fudge (thick when cold, a bit sweaty when room-temperature yet still thick and solid). It’s… slightly healthier than most chocolate dairy fudge recipes but, um, kinda only just. Almond butter isn’t exactly low on calories; that little piece has 180 calories in it still.

The little box isn’t actually included in the bento box package, it’s simply something I managed to pick up from somewhere that was the perfect, perfect size.

The Bento Box Review

This is a double-decker bento box from Lock & Lock, who make wonderful, wonderful water-tight sealing food boxes. They created a bento set as well, complete with insulating bag. It’s quite utilitarian, but very serviceable.

I have the double-decker version that adds an additional PETE water bottle on top, which I never use, because I have a rather trusty stainless steel Klean Kanteen I rather like better. ((Not for any particular evangelical health-related reason, I just like it and it looks pretty. And you can buy it in decent capacities as well.)) This costs more than the shorter version, but it means I’ve room for a utensil ((Believe it or not, a spork is quite handy. I feel crazy for saying that.)) and/or an ice pack. More often I use it for fruit or… well…

Snack Bento

Admit it. We all love a naughty dessert from time to time (or more often) in a lunch. I often use a rather small container as a “snack bento”, and rather tiny ones will fit handily into the roomier bag. I can’t find any Amazon links, but they tend to be maybe 2.5 to 3 inches long. Just enough for something a bit high calorie, but not for too too much of it.

On Double-Deckerness

An additional pro about the bag—it easily fits many other double-decker style bento boxes, including more traditional Japanese designs. Thus, I’ve got an insulated lunchbox with style.

Why a double-decker? Well, I put it in my laptop bag, and its upright shape keeps lunch—generally—from tipping over, which is a problem in my other favorite bento-style box, the Laptop Lunch, but that’s a discussion for another day.