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Christmas Gift Guide
Culture

Bento boxes and gear for geeks with lunch breaks

Until food replicators become a thing, we'll still be bringing lunches from home. So instead of brown-bagging it, pack a Pokemon or put Eggo in Lego.

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Bento&co

Whether you're looking for a last-minute holiday gift or getting ready for a New Year's resolution to pack more lunches, a bento box that proudly proclaims your latest geek-culture obsession could be just the ticket.

And bento boxes -- Japanese lunchboxes -- are usually practical as well as cute; pick one with sturdy plastic and it should last a good while. You don't actually have to make elaborate video-game-inspired lunches or fill them full of Spider-Man crackers and Death Star cookies, though if you do, more power to you.

There are a ton of "geeky" boxes and lunch gear out there. Setting aside the whole genre of technologically fancy heated and cooled containers, you've got your Swan Nebula and steampunk lunchboxes, your organ transplant and periodic table lunchbags, your Death Star and Picard Facepalm and 3D dinosaur food cutters...I haven't found a proper steampunk bento box for sale yet, but I'll keep looking. This must exist. Glue some gears onto a tea box already, someone. With goggles for condiment cups?

But back to our current timestream. Everything in the gallery below was available at the time of posting. Dedicated bento suppliers ship internationally and usually provide exact prices in different currencies; any additional factors should be explained on the website (here in the US I've ordered from Japan and Europe without customs trouble). In addition to the major sites, eBay is a surprisingly reasonable source as long as you compare prices elsewhere before buying.

Finally, if you're giving bento gear as a gift, it never hurts to throw in a copy of "The Just Bento Cookbook" (also available in the UK and several other countries) or point them to the extremely useful Just Bento website. The author provides timelines (appeals to engineers!) and lots of combos of recipes that pack well and are really simple to make. You can work up to a Cthurkey.