These Zojirushi Bento Stainless Steel Lined Jars are an interesting take on the traditional Japanese Bento Boxes that people take for lunch. Basically, they are lunchboxes. I took many a bento box to work in my college days - saved a ton on buying lunch. What’s cool about these lunch jars is that they all fit together in a vacuum insulated container that sort of looks like a big thermos. You can store either hot or cold food (but not both).
There are four food bowls that stack inside the stainless steel container. I actually had to look at one of the pictures on Amazon to figure out how they accomplish storing the food together. Basically, two of the bowls are meant for room temperature foods and stack on the top. Then there is an insulating lid under that. It’s followed by the larger bowl for your hot main dish, and underneath that you can put a jar that contains soup.
In this way you can have a full course lunch with rice, soup, main dish, and one side dish. Kinda cool. Previously, I would try and “partition” my plastic flat bento box - this works sometimes, but if you want to take something soupy, you have to use another space hogging container - and make sure it’s airtight so it doesn’t leak.
The bowls are all different sizes - they measure 15.2, 10.1, 9.5, 6.8 oz. each. I believe it also comes with a carrying bag.
OK - I know there are some out there who are just going to say - why not use the microwave? Two reasons - the first is that if you have anything with a strong odor and you microwave it, well, that may not make you the most popular person at work or school. At the college I went to, there was a bank of 3 microwaves with posted signs saying “DO NOT microwave cheese, lasagna, fish, shellfish, shrimp, curry, etc.” People would literally scream at you if you heated up your leftovers if they had the slightest smell.
The second reason is that if you have any sort of “delicate” food, it can completely ruin it to put it in the microwave. In addition, if you have foods that take different lengths of time to microwave, you’ll have to keep that in mind. At lunchtime, the commons area in the college I went to had lines 3-4 deep waiting to microwave their goodies. Many a stink-eye was passed my way as I tried to microwave three or four containers of food…