Food Friday: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

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It’s time for all the kiddos to go back to school. Everyone gets back into the comforting routine of an academic year, and the frightening reality of daily lunch obligations and responsibilities. Lunch is my favorite meal to have in a restaurant; I love a good turkey sandwich and please can I have some crispy, hot French fries? But that is my fantasy life – the one where I also live in a cozy little pied-à-terre in London, and get invited to paint watercolors with Prince Charles a couple of times a year. But I digress. Lunch.

Lunch can be a wonderful treat, or the slough of despair. You can take all sorts of time and imagination stuffing little bento boxes with cleverly crafted Where the Wild Things Are broccoli-based creatures, or you can assemble lunches using the items from Columns A through F. These are practical, nutritious and will make you life easier. Because then you can spend more time reading with your own Wild Things, and less time in the kitchen. Print this list and keep it handy whenever you troll the grocery store.

This is the time-honored Spy Test Kitchens Back to School Sandwich Ingredients List. Enjoy!

It is just as timely today:

Column A
Let’s start with bread:
Ciabatta bread
Rye bread
Whole grain breads
Hard rolls
Portuguese rolls
French baguette
Italian bread
Brioche
Flour tortillas
Croissants
Bagels
Challah bread
Crostini
Cornbread
Naan bread
Focaccia bread
Pita bread
(If storing overnight, top bread with lettuce first, then the spreads, to keep sandwich from getting soggy.)

Column B
Next, the spread:
Mayo
Sriracha
Ketchup
Dijon mustard
Honey mustard
Italian dressing
Russian dressing
Cranberry sauce
Pesto sauce
Hummus
Tapenade
Sour cream
Mango chutney
Butter
Hot sauce
Salsa

Column C
Cheeses:
Swiss cheese
American cheese
Mozzarella
Blue cheese
Cream cheese
Havarti cheese
Ricotta cheese
Cheddar cheese
Provolone cheese
Brie cheese
Cottage cheese
Goat cheese

Column D
The main ingredient:
Meatloaf
Turkey
Chicken
Corned beef
Bacon
Crumbled hard boiled eggs
Scrambled eggs
Corned beef
Salami
Italian sausage
Ham
Roast beef
Egg salad
Tuna salad
Ham salad
Crab salad
Chicken salad
Turkey salad
Lobster salad
Tofu

Column E
The decorative (and tasty) elements:
Tomatoes
Lettuce
Basil
Onion
Avocado
Cucumber
Cilantro
Shredded carrots
Jalapenos
Cole slaw
Sliced apples
Sliced red peppers
Arugula
Sprouts
Radicchio
Watercress
Sliced pears
Apricots
Pickles
Spinach
Artichoke hearts
Grapes
Strawberries
Figs

Column F
Finger foods:
Cherries
Carrots
Strawberries
Green Beans
Broccoli
Celery
Edemame
Granola
Rice cakes
Apples
Bananas
Oranges
Melon balls
Raisins
Broccoli

Be sure to check with your school about peanut policies.

Nobody will ever complain about lunch again if you can remember to jazz it up a little. My son, who lived for at least an entire year on (requested) white bread, bologna and yellow mustard sandwiches, is now a strapping 6 feet 4 inches tall. Imagine how far into the clouds he would stretch if we had thought to make him fig, goat cheese and caramelized onion sandwiches.

From the people who have time to recreate literary masterpieces: https://www.chron.com/living/article/TK-amazing-lunch-box-ideas-for-back-to-school-11947764.php#photo-10833935

And don’t forget dessert!

“A party without cake is just a meeting”
― Julia Child

About Jean Sanders

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