You’ve heard of bento boxes, right? Artistic lunch creations made by mothers who love their children more than the rest of us? They are artfully-crafted edible masterpieces usually consisting of an animal-shaped sandwich centerpiece, surrounded by various cut-up fruits and vegetables arranged to look like, for example, the animal-sandwich’s hair, ears, or perhaps its teeny-tiny animal friends. According to my Facebook feed, these things are all the rage.
There’s a LOT of detail/time involved, if you haven’t already inferred that.
I can understand the ‘love’ reasoning behind these things. After all, what half-way decent parent hasn’t ever done anything over-the-top to show their love for their children? I myself have done home-birthday parties on multiple occasions… and I think we all know what a nightmare those are. I even did the scary kind where you invite the whole class. I should get a freaking medal of honor for surviving that mayhem.
And I do make my kid’s lunch every morning. He’s got a touch of ADHD, but if he eats non-organic food, he gets full-blown toss-yourself-out-the-window ADHD. I can only handle ‘a touch’ – so we eat organic – which means I have to make his lunch, because obviously the crap they serve in the cafeteria is not organic.
It takes me about fifteen minutes every morning to put his lunch together. I usually make either a peanut butter & jelly or a turkey sandwich, with a cup of some kind of fruit, another cup of yogurt, and another tiny cup of granola to mix in with the yogurt so he can make a little parfait at the lunch table. He likes that shit. I like doing shit that he likes. So it’s not as if I’m not putting any effort into motherhood, okay?
But really, if I gave my kid half a sandwich in the shape of a pig, he’d be like “Yeah that’s great mom, but where the fuck is the rest of my sammich?”
I mean, if he cussed, that’s what he would say.
He eats every single bite of the sandwich I send to school with him. And quite frankly, if he didn’t, I wouldn’t make him sandwiches anymore. I sure as hell wouldn’t throw away a bunch of food just because “crust is yucky,” or worse, for the sake of “art,” or even love.
But isn’t that what these bento boxes are doing? Because when you use the cookie-cutter on the sandwich, you cut off the crust and corners and all you have left is half a damn sandwich. And it’s the same with some of the other stuff in there. The vegetables are cut into these adorable little shapes, which only makes me wonder where the rest of the vegetable went.
I really want to know, with these bento boxes, what the heck do these artistic food-geniuses do with all that leftover food? I mean, hello, you took the time to make the sandwich… and now you’re going to throw half of it away?
There are starving children all over the world and we’re going to the throw away perfectly good sandwich crusts, bread pieces, turkey? Not to mention the leftover vegetable shavings after we turned a carrot into some whiskers for our sandwich-cat? How rich are we? It makes my brain hurt.
You could theoretically recycle the crust (which is now soiled with bits of PB&J, mustard, or mayo residue). In my research, I didn’t find many examples of what to do with the leftover crusts… but I did find a few. One website I found suggested coating the discarded crusts in melted butter, sprinkling some sugar on them, and then toasting them in the oven for a few minutes.
Why not just sign the kid up for a lifetime supply of Twinkies and call it a day?
Add to that the fact that this website is telling me that although I just spent forty-five minutes making my kid’s lunch, now I have to also do something creative with the crusts. It’s like I died and went to Stepford Hell.
And what about the vegetable scraps? Are you supposed to just gnaw on them throughout the day? Feed ‘em to the pigs out back? (Because maybe if you have time for bento boxes, you also have time to raise pigs in your back yard?)
Which brings me to my next point, and I know I’m not the first person to ask this: Who has this kind of time? If a person has enough extra time to turn their kid’s lunch-time into an edible art-extravaganza, why not find something more productive to do, like volunteer for the local food bank? (You know, as penance for all the wasted food?) Or try an artistic hobby – a normal one – like painting, furniture-refinishing, knitting, or home-decorating. The possibilities are endless, and any one of these hobbies could be geared toward demonstrating love for a child without rubbing sacrificial martyrdom in lesser parents’ faces. And wasting a shit-ton of food.
Sorry to be all Judgy McJudgerpanties, but these bento boxes all say the same thing to me: “I love my child so much that I’m willing to sacrifice my pre-dawn sleep-time to prove to my child, and every person who bears witness to his lunch, that he is worthy of exorbitant food-prep time and wasted food; that I am willing to bend over backwards to create a masterpiece that will only last for a few moments, because after all, he is going to eat it, and then, like everything else he eats, it will end up in the toilet, you know… as poop.”
Really, again, I’m sorry if you make bento boxes; please don’t stop reading my blog just because we disagree on this one trifling subject. You have a right to waste your time however you see fit. (I mean, hello, I BLOG, for Pete’s sake.) Besides, I have to admit, bento boxes are… kind of cute.
But seriously… WTF DID YOU DO WITH THE CRUSTS?