It seems that a lot of people are enamored with bento these days, and for good reason. It's practical, convenient, aesthetic, and it sure is a big help with portion control! However, we've been kicking it old school recently with our old-fashioned wooden bento box.
Before plastic bento were the rage, bento boxes were made of wood, often lacquered wood. The boxes often had only four sections, and a lid. Sometimes they were only one level, but they could be several levels for special occasions, such as a family picnic.
Traditionally, bento boxes were wrapped with a square piece of fabric called furoshiki that was knotted and used as a carrying bag; it also doubles as a placemat. Furoshiki are also used in Japan for rapping gifts and carrying groceries. Furoshiki are not only functional, but also sustainable; it can be reused many times, thus cutting down the need for paper or plastic bags.
(Images: Kathryn Hill)