Monday, April 20, 2015

The Lunch Box

Most of the posts on this blog will come from Laura.  Occasionally I'll interrupt your enjoyment of her writing with something I feel is worth adding.  This is the first of those.

When I was a kid living in Taiwan, this was THE lunch box, yes Kung Fu the series and I had it.  I loved this lunchbox and the thermos that went with it.  Sadly, I have no idea where this ended up, but I no longer have it.  I also no longer have that super cool shirt.

My sister Chris and I in front of our house at the Grace Compound
with our dog Annie and THE lunchbox

I still have lunch boxes, but the lunch boxes of today are very different in every way, including contents.  First let's take a quick look at the design, not so much about cool, as efficient for mass delivery of some culinary delights at a very low price.  I get one of these everyday, in fact everyone at the office and lab where I work gets one, it's just part of the your employment benefits.  Keep in mind, the closest place to eat is about 20 minutes away, so this is good for business.  Very rarely we will have something delivered from somewhere else, but 95% of the lunches come from Family Fast Food.

Now let's take a look inside.  Aside from non Family Fast Food lunches, every box contains rice.  There are days when this is a lifesaver.  I can eat most things and generally do, but there are days when I just don't have the mental energy or desire to eat something very far outside of my comfort zone.  I know I'll always have a little rice.  In addition to rice, there is at least one protein source, usually meat.  This may be chicken, pork, fish, squid or just about anything else you could imagine.  Sometimes I can tell it is meat, but not really what kind.  There are also vegetables, generally greens and then possibly a desert (taro cake) or a spring roll of some kind, maybe some pork blood cake; all in all, just an average lunch for a Taiwanese worker.

This probably is a good time to mention that I have no choice in what is in the box, it just comes.  I honestly have no idea who chooses what is in the box, but it certainly isn't me.  I also have a couple of other "backups" just in case I need something resembling Taiwanese comfort food.  Instant noodles and Apple Sidra.  The instant noodles are fairly self explanatory, just a local variety, the Apple Sidra is something most folks are probably not familiar with.  Please take my word that it is simply bottled awesomeness in apple flavor.

Let me give you an example of what might drive me to reach for instant noodles.  This particular item still has not been conclusively identified.  I did try to eat it, but just couldn't quite get it done.  It was mainly just a chewy gelatinous mass with some minced pork sauce.

Unknown dish with unexplainable flavor and indeterminate texture
Finally just a sampling of my lunch boxes over a few days.  Some of these were very good, some had some iffy dishes, but mostly they were just decent lunches.

One of my favorite lunches so far.  Tea egg, veggies, bamboo shoots, rice and some pork with sauce.

Good, Bad and Ugly...Pork Cutlet, 2 kinds of veggies, fish, rice and some stuff I'm not sure about...Taiwanese Head Cheese?

Middle Ground - fried chicken, veggies, corn, pork belly, squid, spring roll and rice.
It's anybody's guess what will be in my lunchbox today, but rice and veggies for a few days would probably do me some good.

1 comment:

  1. Ah...the good ole days. You generally ate what you felt like wouldn't eat back. Always those times when you just had to pass. Mostly good but occasionally just a mystery!