A while back I posted about the lunch box club that my daughter and her friends wanted to start doing. Since then I have made a few charabens, which usually always went uneaten as my daughter is a picky eater.
For those who don't know, a charaben is a lunch box meal prepared to look like a character from a popular t.v. show, movie, comic, etc. You can search charabens on Google or Youtube and find some amazing works of art. However, most of those use ingredients that my daughter won't touch, let alone eat. So the question came up, how do I make cute bentos or charabens with ingredients that she will eat?
Here is a Totoro themed charaben I did last week. A few things to note:
The brown rice on Totoro is colored with soy sauce and not fish flakes. This means that the rice isn't very sticky and doesn't hold its shape very well. I left the Totoro pieces in the fridge for 30 minutes. However they still fell apart when I tried to piece him together in the lunchbox.
The flowers are made out of salami. To make the flowers, simply cut a piece of salami at one end, continuing in a circle motion, until you get a really long piece. Then roll it up from the center out. It's the same technique for making fabric flowers.
The Soot Sprites are made with nori wrapped around rice balls.Then I sprinkled with white shredded cheese to give the sooty, fuzzy feeling. The eyes are American cheese.
I cut all my pieces by hand as I don't have any shape punches, but I can see how those would be really handy. It would cut the process time down by quite a bit. So if you are interested in making Charaben regularly, I would suggest looking into and getting some tools of the trade, so to speak.
A few other Charabens I have made with picky eater approved ingredients:
The Little Mermaid
This is basically spaghetti with green beans, olives, shredded cheese and bologna.
Beauty is made with bread, olives, bologna, Pepperoni and American cheese. She is resting on white rice.
If you can get your little one to eat nori, it is much easier than cutting olives for facial features.
Have you made a charaben before? Perhaps a bento for a picky eater? I would love to see it. You can add a picture to the comments below. :)