Saturday, November 04, 2006

bento boxes and tiffins

Ah, the lunchbox. Re-use, no waste.. not exactly a novel concept considering the history of the Japanese bento box and the Indian tiffin. The earliest records of packed lunches in Japan date back to around the fifth century. People going out to hunt, farm, or battle took food with them, ususally in the form of dried rice or rice balls. The practice continued and evolved until it became more sophisticated with several side dishes and divided spaces within the actual bento box.

The tiffin or dabbas on the other hand is a much newer Indian occurence, having begun just over a century ago and is now a full fledged business serving over 100,000 lunches daily. It is said the tiffin was started at the demand of a hungry Englishman, but now has much Indian participants. Try them, they're cute.

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