Inspired by something I found on Pinterest (as so many of my projects are these days) I have discovered the Japanese art of decorative 'bento boxes' or more specifically 'Kyaraben' (character bento). If you haven't heard of them before Bento are individual portions of a meal presented in stacking boxes or compartments. Presentation of food is very important in Japanese cuisine, and 'packed lunches' are no exception - sometimes the layout and design of the food is very elaborate. In modern culture many of the bento designs are being crafted to look like movie or video game characters - often sculpting with sushi rice. What I found quite interesting was the way that some western mother's are now discovering bento techniques as a form of food art and a way to encourage fussy eaters to try new foods. Lunchboxawesome is a fantastic source of inspiration and is well worth a visit.
So I decided to give it a go myself. My son is rather a fussy eater, and currently asking for a Toy Story party next birthday so what else could I start with? I found this simple cucumber alien idea at Disney family and it set the creative wheels in motion. The 'spaceship' is red pepper, cheese and apple. with a grape and raisin space background, cheese stars with a cheesey puff planet and the aliens are made with cucumber, eyes cut from apple slices and halved peas. I admit I've cheated a bit by presented mine on a plate with sides as neither child needs packed lunches yet.
And as you can see he was really pleased with it, and ate every last bit even the red pepper! My daughter demolished all of hers and shouting 'a-len' through all of lunch :D