Lunch boxes go global & mock sushi peanut butter recipe
Introduce your child to a world of possibilities—through her lunch box! In the United States, it seems the quintessential lunchbox has to be the paper brown bag. In fact, the term “brownbagging it” in America means that you’ve brought your own lunch.
In other parts of the world, lunch boxes are far more intricate than the humble brown bag. Take India, where the tiffin box allows food to be packed in different containers that fit neatly together, often secured with a clip on the sides. Typical tiffin boxes, also called a dabba, usually come with two or more tiers. In Mumbai, tiffin boxes are a part of the culture. Dabbawallas have been delivering homecooked meals in tiffin boxes for more than 125 years. To find out more about the thriving industry read through this New York Times piece about dabbawallas, then watch this video with your kids about a day in the life of a dabbawalla. And if you can’t find tiffin boxes at local retailers (they made a fleeting appearance at Target awhile back), they’re easy to order online. You can pack your child’s regular lunch fixings in the tiffin box. Or encourage him to try some Indian tastes by starting with something fun like naan (a tasty, puffy Asian flatbread) that he can tear apart and dip into hummus tucked into one of the tiffin box layers.
Beyond India, for some truly creative lunch offerings, introduce your child to Japanese bento boxes. These boxes can be anything from Tupperware-like (that’s what I have) to elaborate wooden varieties that fit together almost like puzzle pieces (korin.com). When I was part of a Japanese-American cooking group a few years ago in Michigan, the women from Japan had books and catalogues devoted to constructing beautiful, ingenious creations that were more art than food. For fun, you might Google “bento images” with your child and check out some of the ideas. Perhaps your picky eater might be willing to try something new.
This week, I packed mock sushi in my teen’s bento box. Here’s how to put it together:
Mock Sushi Peanut Butter Swirls
2 flour tortillas
1/3 cup peanut butter, divided (almond and sunflower butters work too)
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, divided
2 tablespoons golden raisins, divided
¼ teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (optional), divided
With a kitchen knife, evenly divide and spread the peanut butter onto the flour tortillas working as close to the edges as possible.
Sprinkle each with sunflower seeds, raisins, cinnamon, and nutmeg (if using).
Roll the tortilla up, end to end.
Cut the rolled tortillas into 1” pieces using a sharp knife.
Place into the bento box with the pieces showing the swirl packed close together. (I used smoked almonds to fill in extra spaces.)
Kristen J. Gough is the Global Cuisines & Kids Editor for Wandering
Educators. She shares her family's adventurous food experiences--and recipes--at MyKidsEatSquid.com.
All photos courtesy and copyright Kristen J. Gough
This is part of Wanderfood Wednesday over at Wanderlust & Lipstick. Head over to see great food from around the world!