⟨ Object ⟩

Comfort Bento

Radiating a sense of warmth.

Words / Phaedrus Lam
Illustration / Furze Chan
Translation / Ian Tsang

生於無炊家庭,一直與便當盒緣份淺薄,平常只有在偷窺同學、同事們的便當菜式時,才會順便欣賞到大家的便當盒款式;而不幸地,我發現它們通常都長得有一點醜。

便當,是東亞民族共同分享著的飲食文化,把紅紅綠綠的飯菜塞滿盒子,打開時像一個濃縮的小世界,洋溢出家庭的幸福味道。前不久我在一家雜貨店裡,發現了這隻Comfort Loft出品的Bento Camping Pot,白鐵的材質而沒有多餘綴飾,極其簡煉,盒頂上牢固的鎖扣,一解開就是一個手把,野外開伙時可直接用作廚具,而當然用作為一般的便當盒也十分合適。

話說不鏽鋼材質的便當盒,其實從20世紀中、下旬已被民間普遍使用,及後大行其道的塑膠材質,因為質感和著色上的拙劣,總是飄散著一種廉價品的不良感覺,飯菜裝在裡面也顯得大為失色。而儘管不鏽鋼不能微波,但它抗蝕性強、衛生易清洗,以及可回收的材質特性,仍然是上佳的食器材料。而且,每次我瞥見這種式樣的不鏽鋼便當盒時,很容易就會聯想起父執輩那一代人,在不怎麼富裕的生活環境下,人人都帶著自家便當上工的印象;那是一個樂天知命中猶帶著拼勁,質感仍然拙樸的年代。

Born to a family that does not cook, all my life l have hardly crossed paths with bento boxes. Normally I get to see different types of bento boxes only when I steal glances at what my classmates or colleagues are having. Unfortunately, I usually find them slightly ugly.

Bento, or home-packed meal, is part of a food culture shared among East Asian people. A bento box is packed with colorful foods, and once opened, is like a miniature version of the world, diffusing the taste of family happiness. Not long before, I stumbled upon this Bento Camping Pot by Comfort Loft in a store selling miscellaneous goods. It is made of stanless steel, being minimalistic without any superfluous decorations. Unlocking the firm lock on top will reveal a handle, and thus the box can directly be used as a cooking tool in the wild while it is also suited to be used as a regular bento box.

It is said that stanless steel bento boxes have commonly been used by the general public since mid- to late 20th century. Plastic products which become wildly popular later on always come across as cheap products because of inferiority in their texture and coloring. This has further rendered what is inside much less appealing. Even though stanless steel is not microwavable, it boasts such qualities as corrosion resistant, hygienic, easy to clean and recyclable. To this day, it remains an excellent material for making food containers. What is more, whenever I spot this kind of stanless steel bento boxes, I tend to associate my thoughts to my father’s generation. Back in a less prosperous age, it would seem everybody would bring their home-prepared bento to work. It was an era when people were content with what they had, without losing their fighting spirit, when things were still simple