Lunch hour or recess is every child’s favorite period in school. Most of my school life’s fondest memories date back to the sumptuous lunch breaks. From sharing food to sparking new friendships to the worry of the pickle oil staining books to gobbling up the tiffin during a boring class well before lunch time, the stories are endless for everyone who has been to school.
The one complaint I forever had about my school tiffin was, the food was never warm like it was in the case of my best friend who lived at a stone throwing distance from the school. She was privileged to have a house help deliver hot food exactly when the recess bell rang.
When Pari started school, lunch box wasn’t quite a worry because her school serves hot lunch and snacks in the school mess. But the monthly educational tours called for packing a tasty, heartwarming home-cooked meal which my daughter never seemed to enjoy. Her frequent complaint was she disliked eating cold food and preferred staying hungry over eating it.
This was when I discovered the Vaya Tyffyn.
The website claimed that the stylish, stainless steel lunchbox kept the food warm, fresh and unspilled several hours after packing it and most importantly the lunch box was light to carry and came with a 1-year warranty.
These vacuum insulated lunchboxes are available in two sizes: Tyffyn 1000 and Tyffyn 600. I opted for the 600 ml variant.
This is the inside story:
My other prime concern was whether this lunchbox was convenient to carry for a child as young as mine. Surely, the designers at Vaya had thought this through because the tiffin comes with a slick and spacious BagMat that has enough room for the tiffin, water bottle, whole fruits, yogurt (Pari is keen on it), has a pocket for cutlery (that is so easy to misplace for children and often adults too) and best of all doubles up as a table mat while eating.
If you’re a parent of a strong-willed child who loves making independent choices, like me, you’d be in habit of letting your child decide before buying anything new for them. That’s exactly what I did.
While I was keen on picking the Maple variant (for my love for a wood finish) Pari was charmed by the Wool variant. Her logic being, since we were selecting the new lunch box cause it kept the food warm, it was doing exactly what sweaters did for her in the winters. Then why not choose the lunch box that looked like wearing a sweater? Err…..right.
The real enticer for my little fashionista was the accompanying BagMat in mauve.
My tiffin arrived in 5 days, just in time for Pari’s next educational tour-cum-picnic.
In peak winters, it was the perfect time to put the new tiffin to test. I prepared Pari’s two hot favorites, Toor dal and Sem phali aloo (String beans with potato) served with rice and roti. A wholesome home-cooked lunch that Pari loves when served hot.
That afternoon, when it was time to pick her from the bus-stop, I could see a smile on Pari’s face as she got down swinging her shoulder bag (the bagmat) with pride.
The first thing she said was “Mumma, aaj lunch bahut tasty tha, sabko naya tiffin bahut pasand aaya.” (Mom, the lunch was very tasty, everyone loved my new tiffin)
And thus began the happy banter on how the food was still warm when she opened the tiffin, how her friends were in awe with the BagMat, how cute the tiffin looked and there was no spillage of the runny dal”
“But were you able to open the lids easily?”
“I didn’t have to, Ma’am helped me do it without me asking.”
A knowing smile rose to my lips, I knew, the garma-garam khana and the stylish carry bag had delivered on its promise.
Since then, Pari’s class teacher and moms of four of her friends have enquired and gone ahead to buy their own Vaya Tyffyn.
While the tiffin comes with instructions for the best performance, here’s what I learnt from regular use:
- To keep food warm for longer I place the empty containers in a tray of hot water for 10 minutes instead of just rinsing them with hot water, before filling the food in them. While filling food, I place the containers on my wooden chopping board that avoids loss of heat.
- When packing rice and roti, prepare them with extra moisture to avoid them getting dried in the hot containers. Make sure you fill containers to the capacity with piping hot food, much hotter than serving temperature.
- Place the food you’d like to keep hottest in the top container. Do not mix hot and cold food in the same lunchbox. I give yogurt in a separate container that can be conveniently placed in the BagMat.
- The tiffin is best placed immediately in the BagMat that acts like an added insulating layer. Ensure that the tiffin and the BagMat stay vertical at all times to avoid any spilling of food.
- Steam trapped inside the containers can make opening the lids, despite the fantastic finger grooves, difficult. In the case of young children, advise them to seek help from an adult.
- My initial concern was that the tiffin’s bright colour might fade with repeated usage. I’m glad to report that I’ve been proved wrong.
- While the tiffin is great to carry to work and picnics, I think it is best suited for older children (say, grade 5 upwards) and college students.
Since my daughter has to carry it only once a month and has easy access to helpers in school who help her open the lids and lay out hot food, I am fine with Pari taking it to school. The tiffin came in handy in the past month when Pari wasn’t too well and I needed a lunchbox to pack home-cooked food for her during our outings.
If you’re a parent looking for a tiffin that can serve the hot, fresh, nutritious ghar-ka-khana to your child, in style, this is just the tiffin for you.
It also makes for a fantastic gift for those who carry lunch to work and definitely for everyone who loves to eat hot food without losing its nutritional value by reheating it in the microwave.