N's school has a good rule. No chips, biscuits, cookies in the tiffin box, except on Friday, which is 'favourite food day'. To N, it's 'junk food day' and she loves planning what will go into her dabba. I have slimily convinced her that nuts, banana chips and nankhatais are junk food, which they are of course, but compared to the Bytes and the Kellogg's Chocos and Lays chips, almost perhaps of a lesser sort. Every once in a long while, she gets a few monstrously sweet treats like Chocos and Lays. So if she grows up into a snack-guzzling, cola-swigging teen, we know who to blame for having let her have a deprived childhood, right?
Packing the daily tiffin-box - how to make it fun and healthy and mess-free; how to fit it all into a small oval steel dabba; how to whip it up toot sweet - these are Big Issues that trouble me. I do my darndest, but this, I thought, was bordering on the surreal - Japanese style. The Bento box is, according to wiki, 'a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables as a side dish. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquerware.'
I'm cracked alright, but not as touched, thank god, as the moms who go to these seemingly endless lengths. Fun to see but must be such a pressure to pack the frickin' thing and then take photo, cries of jaldi, jaldi, school bus chali jayegi ringing out (in Jaapani bhasha, of course) in the background. Nice, but I cannot see it happening in the Nair-Vachharajani household.
Meanwhile, I religiously - and shamelessly - go to the Bento Anarchy (hahahaha!) page every few days. Worry about the food colours they seem to use so merrily, and the plastic dabbas; and ogle at the impossibly clever cookie cutters they seem to have. Food porn for me.