Archive for the 'thermal lunch jar' Category
There were a whopping 926 entries in the Lunch in a Box giveaway of a Zojirushi Mr. Bento thermal lunch jar (described in detail in my comparative review), so I plugged the numbers into the random integer generator over at Random.org. The lucky winner is reader Becca with comment #454. Becca writes that she would pack Indian food in the Mr. Bento: chicken korma or saucy butter chicken in the soup bowl, aloo gobi with a rice lid in the rice bowl, plus naan and fruit salad in the side dish bowls. Sounds delicious! I’ve e-mailed Becca with the news — enjoy!
If you didn’t win this time around, be sure to check out the lunchbox photo contest I wrote about earlier; they’re giving away twenty-four Ms. Bento thermal lunch jars and a fancy IH rice cooker over an eight-week period (ending Nov. 9, 2008). Good luck!
Published by Biggie on October 5th, 2008 tagged admin, giveaway, thermal lunch jar | 13 Comments »
Want to try your hand at winning a super high-end rice cooker or one of twenty-four free Ms. Bento thermal lunch jars? Here’s your chance. Ajinomoto and Zojirushi are putting on a joint promotion through November 9, 2008 that gives away three two-bowl Ms. Bento thermal lunch jars a week for photos of your best packed lunches, and one very fancy 5.5-cup induction heating (IH) rice cooker to the best of the weekly winners. The Ms. Bentos run around US$40 and the induction rice cookers start around US$300, so this is some nice loot to try for. (Read on for the full details.)
Published by Biggie on October 1st, 2008 tagged equipment, giveaway, thermal lunch jar | 21 Comments »
If you’d like to have warm food at lunch but don’t have access to a microwave oven where you eat, odds are good that you’ve looked into different thermal food jars and thermal lunch jars. Whereas a thermal food jar is typically a small widemouth thermos that you put food directly into, a thermal lunch jar is a vacuum insulated jar that holds a number of smaller microwaveable bowls stacked neatly inside. Preheat (or prechill) by filling the outer jar with hot or cold water for 1-2 minutes, empty and dry the outer jar, pack up your lidded bowls inside, and you’ve got a portable meal that’s not just room temperature food.
Two good-quality large lunch jars are the US$50 Zojirushi Mr. Bento (above left) and the US$38 Thermos Nissan Stainless Steel Lunch Tote (JLN1400P and JLN1200X, above right). There are a number of other thermal lunch jars on the market, including Tiger thermal lunch jars, Sabor Latino thermal food carriers for about $10, cheap Trekker Food on the Go thermal lunch jar, and smaller Zojirushi Ms. Bento thermal lunch jars. Another workaround is provided by thermal bento sets or a thermal food jar with a separate side dish container. I’ll be reviewing these at a later date.
When I was first in the market for a thermal lunch jar a couple of years ago, I went to a store with a variety that I could take out of the box and compare in person. I thought the cheaper Lunch Tote from Thermos Nissan was on par in quality to the more popular Mr. Bento, but was always curious about how the two would fare in a side-by-side comparison against a cheap no-name knockoff I found locally (at left). Zojirushi sent me a Mr. Bento for testing so that I could satisfy my curiosity; I’ll be giving this to a lucky reader in a giveaway now that I’m done (enter by October 5, 2008, see the separate post for details). (NOTE: Comments on this post are not eligible, only comments on the separate giveaway post are eligible to win.)
The Mr. Bento and Thermos Nissan were extremely close in performance and weight, with the Thermos Nissan having better overall heat/cold retention and the Mr. Bento having better separation between the upper and lower sections. The Mr. Bento’s separate bag is convenient for tucking in lunch extras like condiments and utensils, though. The cheap Chinese knockoff jar performed significantly worse in tests, but at US$10 the price was right for a small jar. The Thermos Nissan is usually priced at least US$10 cheaper than the US$50 Mr. Bento, so decide if the bag is worth a little extra money to you. (Read on for the full review and test results…)
Published by Biggie on September 22nd, 2008 tagged equipment, review, thermal lunch jar | 75 Comments »
A lucky reader will win the Zojirushi Mr. Bento thermal lunch jar that I reviewed today; leave a comment below with your favorite dish that can be packed in a thermal lunch jar and I’ll choose one at random on Monday, October 6, 2008 using the random.org random number generator. The Mr. Bento lunch jar (SL-JAE14) will be the same one that I tested by filling it with water (no food has been packed in it). Zojirushi send me one to test out, but my Product Reviews policy prohibits me from keeping anything valued over US$40 so it’s time to pass it on. One comment per person on this post, please. Entries close at midnight Pacific time on Sunday, October 5, 2008. (I reviewed it in depth alongside the Nissan Thermos JLN1200X and a no-name Chinese knockoff; click to read the full lunch jar review…)
UPDATE: Becca, commenter #454, was the winner of the giveaway. Congratulations!
Published by Biggie on September 22nd, 2008 tagged admin, equipment, giveaway, thermal lunch jar | 933 Comments »
At first glance this may not seem like a particularly interesting lunch, but I’ve actually taken a couple of new approaches to packing that can be applied to other dishes. Double-decker heating of multiple dishes in the microwave oven saves time and energy, and I created a do-it-yourself thermal donburi bento box for a child out of an adult-sized thermal lunch jar.
Morning prep time: 6 minutes, using leftover curry and rice. In the morning I microwaved the rice and curry in microwave-safe ceramic bowls while preheating the outer thermal food jar with hot tap water. Preheating the outer thermal jar helps the container retain heat longer, keeping your food nice and warm.
Gear: Although microwave ovens are usually a pretty good size on the inside, the limiting factor on how much food I can warm at once is usually the diameter of the round glass carousel on the bottom. It makes sense to take advantage of the oven’s vertical space to warm multiple dishes at once, though, reducing the time the microwave is running and saving money on electricity.
I’ve found a few different stands and plate covers that let you stack plates and bowls on top of each other in the microwave or refrigerator. I keep them next to the microwave and reach for them every day — the covers are faster than reaching for plastic wrap when nuking even a single plate of food, and the plastic doesn’t touch the food directly. An added benefit is that they’re reusable and reduce kitchen waste. I happened to pick them all up at at the Daiso discount store in Daly City, CA (branches internationally) because at US$1.50 they’re cheap there, but you can also find these sorts of microwave plate covers on Amazon in different designs. (Read on for more microwave covers and lunch packing details.)