If anyone has the market cornered today for the most innovate and creative take to school lunches and wow factor after you open the lid, I give my vote to the Japanese mothers and their bento box creations! Oh. My. Word. Major lunch goals right here! All the cute little bits and pieces thrill my child’s heart!
Taking a lunch to school (or work!) has always been one of the cheapest and healthiest ways to eat. But bringing your own lunch use to be the only way that you would eat. Unless your house happened to be within walking distance of the school. Or you lived over the shop or store that you worked in.
And what we carry our lunches in has changed just as much as the school lunch menus have! Before the eco-friendly snack bags and washable and reusable lunch bags of today, we had cute plastic snap lid lunch boxes (Before I was home schooled, I attended kindergarten and first grade in a regular classroom setting. My lunch box was pink with Disney’s Cinderella on it, if my foggy grade school memories serve me right).
Going further back, we find the wonderful metal lunch boxes of the fifties and sixties which sometimes came with a vacuum sealed thermos. Often they had TV show or film characters splashed all over the sides. They remind me of the recycled lard, molasses or cane syrup pails that were carried even earlier.
Even earlier at the turn of the 20th century, you used an actual pasteboard or cardboard box to carry your lunch time foodstuffs around. Or maybe a woven basket. Sandwiches and other items were generally wrapped in wax paper and then after World War II, aluminum foil and plastic sandwich bags were introduced to the mass market. The classic brown paper bag was invented in 1852 by Francis Wolle, who was, quite fittingly, a schoolteacher.