Cook books are like candy to me. They’re meant to be consumed, enticing and satisfy a desire. With the start of school in our area we don’t really think about LUNCHES much until the Saturday or Sunday before school starts. Well the ladies at good ‘ol Williams Sonoma did think about luches and they caught my eye with a new book “the lunch box”.
My children are adults now but I just had to buy this book. We have twelve little people in my neighborhood that range from pre-school to high school – ok, not all little people. Making lunches for my kids was a daily routine but sometimes my brain just wasn’t working well, or ran out of time or nothing to make for them. We would have to result to purchasing lunch which they DREADED.
When my kids were growing up Lunchables came out. They loved them. You could pick your own as they had several different kinds. I think they’d last through a nuclear blast along with a Twinkie.
This new cook book is adorable. It uses such trendy ideas as “an interactive element like a dip to keep them engaged” in describing the anatomy of a lunch box. The artistry of the food stylist is really good because you know it will not get to school looking this good. I love the glass containers but I doubt you’ll be sending them with your first through fifth grader any time soon.
The elements that I do like are the “stocking your kitchen” with staples for your pantry, fridge and freezer and packing supplies. SO CLEVER. For busy mom’s, give me a list that I don’t have to think of myself that’s relevant and you are my new best friend. Menus are appreciated in this book as well – not kidding.
I like the creative side in this book. Sometimes moms have moments where they think of something special to put in the lunch bag. The authors Kate McMillan & Sarah Putman Clegg help you there too. Such as “good luck on your quiz”, “Happy Birthday”, “Happy 100 days in school” or “keep up the good work”. A cute idea is the new cookie cutter shapes that you can use on your kids sandwiches such as dinosaurs, star war cutouts, princess cutouts, a Christmas tree cutout or my new favorite an owl cutout (use raisins for the eyes and a cutout carrot for the beak – LOVE IT).
Recently with the onset of mini burgers in restaurants we’re seeing mini buns in the grocery stores. HOW perfect is THAT. Even mini pita pockets are available now!
The book really stresses three things you must have in a lunch: protein, vegetables and fruit. There are carbohydrates but they’re the good carbs such as fruit, whole grain products, popcorn and/or whole grain crackers.
Here’s a really fun item – Fruitwiches! (I wanna be a kid!). Wraps in all shapes and sizes – pizza wrap, salad wrap, hummus and veggie or a BLT (BACON)! How about pinwheels or sushi? Add a side salad of celery, tangerine, and white-wine vinaigrette topped with chopped fresh parsley – I wonder if that would go over well – I’d like it, not so sure the little guys would.
The book then ventures off into the warm and hearty meals. Soups, chili, OMG Wagon wheel pasta!, frittatas and little quiches (can you say COSTCO). There are items you can purchase at the local stores to store warm items so they’ll be warm by the time they sit down to eat. If not Pottery Barn for Kids came out with a line this year or check out Zip Loc for their products or this Thermos Hello Kitty.
Keeping it fun the authors suggest skewer mania – pineapple and ham slices or salami, olive and string cheese with a little dipping sauce which they give you several options for the sauce.
The recipes of what to do with leftovers are helpful.
There are plenty of recipes in the book along with a banana bread recipe. My kids always loved when I’d send them with my Banana Choc-chip Muffins. PS – It’s easy to freeze too.
The one thing that I wish they would have added, which doesn’t take away from the book, was to provide a guide on where to purchase lunch box items for keeping things cold, hot, or just for storage. They use really cute stuff to send to school.
For the families that send kiddies to school with their lunches, this is the one book you’ll love especially when your brain fails in the morning. And for you grandmas that want to give your adult kids with kids a gift – GREAT IDEA!