Cardboard lunch boxes UK
Takeaway trends come and go at an alarming pace, reflecting both our ongoing boredom with the humble sandwich and our insatiable desire for lunchtime novelty. A few years back, soup chains provided a fleeting, warming distraction and you get the idea that the gourmet Cornish pasty shops currently doing a swift trade all over the south of England could soon go the same way.
One factor that had not, until recently, driven the takeaway market was the packaging. The Japanese bento box, with its dinky compartments and miniature fish-shaped soy sauce bottles, offered brief respite, but in general the UK spends its lunchtimes negotiating squeaky polystyrene containers, leaky salad tubs and dreary cardboard sandwich boxes.
Enter the tiffin box. The word "tiffin" is taken from the English term for any container for food on the go, but the concept of tiffin box delivery was originally developed in India, where an intricate network of "dabbawallas" has, for over a century, delivered a home-cooked lunch from the kitchens of wives and mothers direct to the city's workers. Deliveries are made on foot and the empty containers collected later, to be used again the next day.
The traditional Indian tiffin box consists of several stacked aluminium boxes with a carry-handle, each box containing individual portions of meat and vegetable curry dishes, bread, rice and, usually, something sweet. In your tiffin box you might find dishes such as daal, roti, paratha, yoghurt and sabji, or takes on the roadside "tiffin" of India, such as aloo papdi chaat - potatoes, chickpeas and onions with yoghurt, tamarind sauce and chutney.
The success of the tiffin box in the west in part hinges on a dramatic rethink of our concept of Indian food; standard curry-house fare has long been seen as too heavy an option for a work-day lunch, when an early-afternoon nap is not an option. However, tiffin boxes give the Indian meal a healthy makeover in a neat package, which can be bought hot to eat immediately, or easily reheated in the office or at home.
HotLogic Mini Personal Portable Oven, Blue
Kitchen (EMG East, Inc. (direct order))
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