I told my son I was going to make him a very special lunch tomorrow with Cat in the Hat. “I want a train,” he said. I should have expected that because a) trains are his favorite and b) he had a train sandwich today.
I hope this will change his mind. Of course, if he asks for Cat in the Hat on Thursday, I’ll have to propose he have a train. Those are much easier.
Most of my bentos rely on cookie cutters. It’s an easy way to make things look quite polished, much like buying lush yarn can make a beautiful scarf, even if it’s all straight knit.
I wanted to make him something unique. He loves the show “Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That.” So, I started with the idea of doing just the hat. I glanced at the original Cat and the Hat book and decided I could make the rest of the face too, plus the fish. The key for me was keeping it simple and recognizable.
To make the face:
1) I sketched an outline of the face based on the book.
2) I cut sandwich bread based on my sketch. This part made me feel like some sort of woodworker carving a sculpture out of a big hunk of tree. The bread didn’t cut very smoothly.
3) I cut the head again to make it smaller. The original size wouldn’t leave room for the hat and fish too.
4) I cut cheese to match the bread. It was much easier to shape the cheese than the bread. I’ll have to think about ways to use cheese on top of bread to do designs in the future.
5) I cut small pieces of turkey slices to fit on the sandwich, but wasn’t concerned that it wasn’t the exact shape of the bread.
6) I added the mouth and nose with a food decorating pen.
7) I added candy eyes and attached them with a touch of cream cheese. Jessica Brunk Hylander turned me on to the candy eyes — you can get them at Michael’s.
To make the hat and bow-tie:
1) I sliced a chunk from the flattest side of the red pepper and then cut the shapes.
2) I added stripes of cream cheese on the hat.
To make the fish bowl:
1) I halved an orange and then hallowed one piece of it.
2) I filled it with blueberries.
3) I topped it with a goldfish cracker.
1) I placed the Cat and the fish bowl in the lunchbox.
2) I placed the hat and bow-tie and propped up the hat with leftover bread chunks.
3) I filled in gaps with lettuce leaves and parsley. My son won’t eat this, but I had a ton of this in the refrigerator and it really helps to pack everything tightly so it stays in place.
2) I used cookie cutters and the food decorating pen to caption “Cat in the Hat.”