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Gadgets: The Box Appetit by Black + Blum

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[Photograph: Black + Blum]

The last time I covered a lunchbox, you all chimed in with your requests for a suitable adult version. I'm digging the design of this new product by Black + Blum, the Box Appetit ($22). It's extremely clever: Not only does the box have compartments for your miscellaneous lunch needs, but everything wraps up in a Velcro-sealed tote ($7) that completely unfolds to become a picnic-like mat. Conveniently, it's sold with a cookbook that provides lunch-appropriate recipes that easily package away in the Box Appetit, but this is just one of a few clues that adults in the UK (where Black + Blum is based) have somewhat different eating habits than we do stateside.

The book provides recipes that are just as suitable for dinner as they are for lunch, whereas many of us here might associate "cold meals" like sandwiches, salads, and parfaits with lunch and hot ones for dinner. If you happen to eat like the Brits, the Box Appetit is a virtually flawless tool. But if your habits align with the cold meal line of thinking, it may be more challenging to use the Box Appetit to a point of maximum efficiency.

Here's the thing: the compartments on the Box Appetit are a little small. The triangular one, which begs for a sandwich, only holds half of one that's normal-sized (maybe filled with a quarter pound of turkey and some tomato). The smaller one meant for sauces can only hold precisely that: an attempt to fill it with dried fruit or nuts failed given the fact that the container's closure takes up some of the internal space. But there's good news: all of those containers pull right out so that the box can be better customized for what you're eating that day. It's these clever considerations that make me love the thought process behind the product.

At the end of the day, the Box Appetit easily houses a healthy portion of a hot meal—rice and a protein, perhaps, or pasta and some vegetables—but the conveniences of our usual lunches might have to be rethought. Neither yogurt nor a banana fit, and sometimes you'll still feel compelled to use foil or a Ziploc bag, which is a con for people concerned about their carbon footprint.

Will you use it every single day? Maybe. Will it encourage you to eat your leftovers for lunch? Totally. And will you feel super cool when your tote bag turns into a picnic mat? No question about it. It's not a perfect product, but it's one of the better options for lunchbox lovers, if not the most aesthetic one on the market.

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