This is the Japanese version of a lunch box. Bento roughly translated means "convenience", and what is more perfect for a picnic than something convenient? Typically Bento Boxes are compartmentalized so that you have several small portions of different types of food. In many Japanese households the homemaker spends time each morning to prepare their spouse and children special Bento lunches.
How does this relate to picnics? Well, Bento boxes were too neat not to mention. Instead of the mason jar mentioned in the first installation, try mixing it up and using a Bento Box. You can use the box, but still stick to American cuisine, or you can use the Box to get inspired. There are plenty of ways to make picnic food in a Bento Box. This is another neat little way to spice up a picnic. If you are feeling especially creative you can try creating little pictures with your food! (Whoever said it is impolite to play with your food was right but, hey! This is a picnic! Have at it!) We are going to share our favorite Japanese inspired picnic item-Sandwich Sushi, followed by some really neat pictures of Bento Boxes whose makers were clearly inspired!
Chicken, Cheese, & Carrot on Wheat
2 Slices Wheat Bread
Thinly Sliced Chicken Lunch Meat
A Few Carrots, Grated
A Pinch of Shredded Cheese
A knife, Cutting board, and Rolling Pin are also helpful to produce optimal results.
1. Take your two slices of bread and cut off the crust (It doesn't flatten out nicely.) Once the crust is cut the lay one end of one of the slices on top of the other end, they should over lap only about 1/2 and inch. With the bread touching, use the rolling pin to roll each piece really flat. The part that was touching should have stuck together leaving you with one long piece of bread.
2. Now layer in your lunch meat and carrots, when you lay them on the bread leave a 1/2 inch border around the perimeter. This will allow the bread to stick when you roll it up.
3. Take your bread, chicken, and carrots and roll it into a cylinder, you should have a long thin roll, pinch the bread together at the seam.
4. Now cut the roll into thirds, you are done! A Japanese cuisine inspired sandwich!
Here are some Bento Boxes for inspiration, these would not only spice up a picnic but also entertain the children and the child in us all!