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Join me as we journey to the Upside Down — in a lunch box! Oooooooh!
It’s not often that my 12-year-old is interested in fun bentos anymore — and it’s even more unusual when he wants to help me design one — so I felt like I’d been invited to Steve Harrington’s super-exclusive get-together when he sat down with me to brainstorm for a Stranger Things bento box. His dad and I watched the entire first season of the show in about three days last summer and then when we turned our middle schooler onto it he steadily made his way through it too. We all loved the show and joke about it pretty frequently, so making a Stranger Things lunch was pretty much inevitable.
Here’s how I did it:
Start off by choosing a lunch box. I went with the PlanetBox Rover because I wanted a nice spot for the sandwich, which is kind of the star of the show here. (Sorry Eleven!)
The starring sandwich is cream cheese and ham on pita bread.
To make it, I trimmed the pita to fit in that big section of the PlanetBox. I did this by eyeballing it, checking the fit and then trimming a little extra off where necessary.
Next, I spread cream cheese on the pita and trimmed the ham to fit inside the bread without showing (the scraps also went inside).
Once the sandwich was assembled, I decorated it. First step: roughly write out “STRANGER THINGS” with food markers like Joyce did with the alphabet on her living room wall. Then draw a cord for the Christmas tree lights above each word, leaving a bit of space between the cord and the words for the “lights”.
Next, put a tiny dab of cream cheese on the back of each “light” to glue it onto the pita bread.
The candies I used were part of a gingerbread house decorating kit that I got a while back, but it appears that this set is no longer being made. I found a different set on Amazon that would work too (though the lights aren’t as colorful). Another idea would be to use candy covered sunflower seeds. The shape is just about perfect and I think they’re probably the easiest of these options to find.
Once you’ve got all the candies glued on, put the sandwich in the lunch box. Looking good, right??
And before you ask, no — I don’t think a kid would like a ham, cheese and candy sandwich! In my experience, kids always eat the candy in their lunch box first thing so I don’t think it’s much of an issue, but if you’re really worried, make the sandwich with peanut butter and jelly.
Next, make a couple of demogorgons out of a kiwi. I didn’t take photos of this part — and frankly it turned out a little messier than I was hoping — but here’s the gist of what I did: Cut the kiwi in half, leaving the skin on. Carefully cut the tough stem out of the rounded end of the fruit. Make five cuts in the kiwi, starting where the stem was and stopping about halfway down the side of the kiwi. It should look kind of like this:
Then, carefully cut down into the kiwi for each of the five sections and peel them back so they make a star shape. Repeat for the other half and add the demogorgons to the lunch box.
I had to include Eggo waffles in the lunch too, right? To do this, I toasted a mini Eggo, separated it into four little waffles and then made sunbutter and banana sandwiches with them.
Finally, I added a handful of grape tomatoes (no symbolism — I just wanted to get a veggie in there) and added a couple of picks to say “11”. Technically those are capital I’s, but we are not nit-pickers, are we? And I had to get Dustin’s baseball cap in there too, right?
All right then! Let’s go get Will!