Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Home-Made Lunchbox.

Yesterday’s post made me consider the lunch-box – and how much we take it for granted. What did we do before plastic wrap and plastic lunchboxes (i.e before WW II)?

Way back, I guess, we used large leaves and other natural containers (bamboo tubes?) and pieces of linen, perhaps. Then we moved onto paper packets, wicker baskets, or whatever might be the local variation of tiffin-boxes and bento-boxes.

Or, we got creative, and made our own out of whatever was at hand. Here is a nifty idea (although sacrilegious to a bibliophile) from Popular Science, August 1921.

“A lunchbox can be made from an old book of the proper thickness and size. With a straight-edge and an old safet-razor blade, the center of the pages are cut out as shown. When this is done, a thick preparation of glue is smeared around the inside and over this pieces of cardboard, cut to the proper size, are placed. When the glue sets, the book will stiffen up and a very good little lunchbox will result. Some care and patience will have to be taken to see that the cutting is carried on as evently as possible and keeping the pages uniform.”

Capital Luncheon Cake that will keep Six Months and save the trouble of frequent Making.
Take two pounds of flour, one and a half pound of treacle, half an ounce of ground ginger, quarter of a pound of sugar, quarter of an ounce of ground caraway seed, and candied lemon peel, cut very small. Mix all well with the flour; warm the butter [the recipe omits to say how much butter] and mix with the rest, then warm the treacle; dissolve in a little boiling water a large teaspoonful of carbonate of soda, and stir it well into the treacle; add to the other ingredients; work all well together and bake in a buttered tin two hours; in a rather slow oven.
Wives whose husbands are professional men having frequently only time to take a snack and a glass of sherry in the middle of the day will win admiration by making these cakes and sending them to their husbands offices.
[The Family Save-All, A System of Secondary Cookery, 1861]

Quotation for the Day.

When you make his sandwiches, put a sexy or loving note in his lunch box.
Anne Rice.


KT said...

Keep six months, eh? Seems he'd be accusing me of trying to poison him, in the days before deep freezers...

The Old Foodie said...

I dont know if cake would become actually poisonous - mouldy perhaps, and very dry and not very palatable. Not that I'm going to try the experiment of course!

Shay said...

I have run across a couple of ideas for children's lunches in some of my old women's magazines.

1) use a waxed paper box saved from a delicatessen buy

2) sew a luncheon bag from oilcloth

3) use a small basket.

And I've seen several references in old children's books (Lucy Maud Montgormery and her ilk) to lard pails being used to pack lunches in in rural areas in Canada and the U.S.

At least one magazine article recommended that Mother save and wash out her old cold cream containers to hold puddings and moist fruit.

Rochelle R. said...

Altered book artists make niches in books frequently but I am sure they aren't packing their lunch in the finished work :)

Rochelle R. said...

Altered book artists make niches in books frequently but I am sure they aren't packing their lunch in the finished work :)

Unknown said...

I love the idea of the harried businessman with just time for a snack and a glass of sherry at midday. Sherry!