Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Literary Lunches: A Girl of the Limberlost

For some reason this post took me FOREVER to prep for! Usually I plan out one bento a week, and the rest are leftovers from dinner. This one I had to try to make FOUR and try to integrate the food into other meals... I think I like being more spontaneous because trying to follow someone else's menu for too many wasn't great! And apparently I'm super lazy. Who knew ;)

If I do any more books (and I really want to!) I will only do ONE bento per book! At least now I know what works and doesn't work for me. You would think it would be so easy! So as much as I wanted to be completely true to the food mentioned in the book, I may have "cheated" a little bit :) See if you can spot the cheats. Hint: turkey doe NOT look like ham ;)

So onward to the book!

I still enjoy reading this book even though the first half is less enjoyable than the second. I don't care for the mother and her selfishness (they do go into her motives, but I still don't have any empathy for her) and I really don't care for Billy (and not just because he ate the main character's lunches ☺). You can read the book for free here
I really like reading period pieces because it's so interesting to see what was thought of normal then (such as washing your hair every two weeks) and what everyday life was like. 

I also find it interesting that a few of my favorite books take place about the same time period: early 1900's (The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, Like Water for Chocolate, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: also any one can correct me if I have the time periods wrong on those!).

So onward to the food! 

Despite all the lovely lunches described in the book, poor Elnora didn't get to eat the first three! On her way to school she came across a hungry little boy that she gave her lunch to three times until her schoolmates intervened. 

Girl of the Limberlost
"Wesley opened the package and laid a brown leather lunch box on the table. "Might be a couple of books, or drawing tools, or most anything that's neat and genteel You see, it opens this way."

It did open, and inside was a space for sandwiches, a little porcelain box for cold meat or fried chicken, another for salad, a glass with a lid which screwed on, held by a ring in a corner, for custard or jelly, a flask for tea or milk, a beautiful little knife, fork, and spoon fastened in holders, and a place for a napkin."

I did not find anything online that would even come close to such a lunch set, so I settled on purchasing a lunchbot cinco which has been on my list for awhile. Figured this would suit the lunches since most of them seem to consist of five items. It is a pretty big bento. You may not think it can hold a lot of food until you start to fill it! I recommend this bento if all the items you are going to eat are going to be cold/room temperature.
 Lunch #1
"I had milk in that bottle, see! And custard in the cup. There was salad in the little box, fried chicken in the large one, and nut sandwiches in the tray."
Lunch #2
"Half the bread compartment was filled with dainty sandwiches of bread and butter sprinkled with the yolk of egg and the remainder with three large slices of the most fragrant spice cake imaginable. The meat dish contained shaved cold ham, of which she knew the quality, the salad was tomatoes and celery, and the cup held preserved pear, clear as amber. There was milk in the bottle, two tissue wrapped cucumber pickles in the folding drinking cup, and a fresh napkin in the ring."
Lunch #3 (Technically her fourth lunch, but lunch her #3 is almost the exact same as #2)
"We got to refill this box first!...Who's got the butter?"...A loaf of bread was produced and... filled the sandwich box... A bottle of olives was unwrapped... and filled the salad dish... A bag of macaroons was produced and the cake compartment filled...a bag of sliced ham filled the meat dish...A box of candy was handed to her and she stuffed every corner of the lunch box with chocolates and nougat."
Lunch #4 (The first dinner they make for their visitor)
"She broiled ham of her own sugar-curing, creamed potatoes, served asparagus on toast, and made a delicious strawberry shortcake...cooked dandelions...blanched some, and made a salad."

There is a lot of ham, which if I have come to understand correctly, was more popular than chicken because they thought chicken was fairly bland and ham had more flavor. Beef was fairly expensive compared to pork, so that also explains the lack of cow. Weird how tastes and prices change!

So this is also the "big reveal" of my bento site! I actually made the site a few months ago, but I was waiting on finishing the limberlost bentos before I introduced it to this blog. Who knew I would be so lazy on that project!

So go ahead and clickity-clack the new link and let me know what you think! If you follow me on instagram, it isn't really anything new, just might have more description.


  1. Wow! I admire your intense commitment to the literary bento project. I'd be like...eh, screw it, I'll just buy a chicken salad. :( LOL...lunch...not my strongest meal of the day. But I like yours.

    1. Making my lunch is so much easier when its just dinner leftovers and a few extra things! This was hard. And took so long. Ha. Most of these lunches were from... march and april I think?

  2. This really makes me want to bento....and read that book, lol! I love your new site, too! Terrific lunch ideas abound :D

    1. Thank you so much! The warmer weather has put a bit of a damper on my blogging and bento energy but I hope to get back to it :) I have so many more ideas that I need to implement!