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School lunches

March 17, 2010

Over the last couple of years I have somehow managed to shift the school lunch making responsibility over to Andrew. I am not sure how I did it and I am always a little worried that this carefully constructed scenario might collapse at any time. I hate making school lunches. Never a big fan of sandwiches myself, I can’t make them and I hate the boring monotony of it all. I tended to put too much effort into making different things each day, making them presentable, etc….only for them to come home untouched. I think Sam probably ate about 10% of his lunches in his first two years of school. Now his much improved rate hovers around the 60% mark. Tara is a bit better with her lunches, mostly because she has very little breakfast. It used to make me really annoyed to see the lunches come back intact, confirming a total waste of the effort I had put in that morning. Ofcourse Sam would then try to hide his lunchboxes and they would get really disgusting. We make him hose out his own school bag every school holidays – he has to put his hand in there and extract anything still lingering in zip lock bags or boxes. By the end of term his school bag is pretty heavy with all the hidden bits of food in there!

Andrew makes pretty predictable lunches. Often the exact same thing day after day. There are almost no variations based on each child’s preference (he just can’t remember – or can’t be bothered). I bite my tongue and never comment. I don’t want to tempt fate and find that task fall back on me. The kids seem to cope with it just fine and it does not seem to make any differece to the ‘success’ rate. When Andrew has an interstate trip planned, my first thought is “who will make the lunches?!”. I have been known to ask if he could get up a little earlier (4.30 instead of 5am) and make the lunches before he goes to the airport.

Lunch making fell to me the other day. And rather than face making  sandwiches, I decided to shape up some of the dough I was about to bake as a loaf into ham and cheese rolls instead. I flattened out some of my usual sourdough dough into a rectangle. Scattered some ham I diced up and some grated cheese, and rolled it up. Cut it into thick slices and baked them for 20 minutes. As soon as they cooled slightly (so they would not ‘cook’ the fruit in the lunchbox) I popped them into the lunchboxes. Easy. And they were hugely popular too. The kids demolished them and asked for more. Even Sam the “vegetarian” was happy to have meat in his lunchbox that day! Next time I am going to make a double batch and freeze some for those emergency days when I am forced to make school lunches.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2010 10:02 AM

    This is a good thing. Small Man takes homemade Kalamata olive and cheese rolls to school every day – straight out of the freezer, perfectly defrosted by lunch time. I’m going to tell Andrew you’ve got them hiding in the freezer.. 😀

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      March 17, 2010 12:44 PM

      I like the sound of kalamata olive and cheese….might have to try that next time (I hate ham, and we all love olives!)

      • March 17, 2010 3:25 PM

        I’m not a big fan of using ham in rolls either – but it works well if you have some pancetta or proscuitto…

      • spiceandmore permalink*
        March 17, 2010 3:31 PM

        I don’t often have those fancy things in my fridge, seeing how I don’t live down the road from a rather fabulous shop and deli like you do! 🙂 I do have some end pieces of my home made bacon though, and I think they are going to make some pretty sensational rolls…. Might have to get really fancy and do two varieties tomorrow – bacon and cheese and olive and cheese. Mmmm….

  2. Claire permalink
    March 17, 2010 12:35 PM

    That sounds like a great idea – I’m sick of making sandwiches (NO CARROT MUM) that return half eaten.. I will try these for next week!

    A random question, on the Stonesoup blog you mentioned in kitchen time savers that you have golden fried onions in the fridge. How long do they keep? It sounds like a great idea!


    • spiceandmore permalink*
      March 17, 2010 12:43 PM

      It is quite an insult when the lunches come back uneaten, isnt it? I am glad I am not the only one!
      The fried onions seem to keep pretty much indefinitely. The onions are fried really well (deep golden) and then air dried for an hour or so (to crisp them up). Since they are fried in oil, they are in effect ‘preserved’. I know that asian shops sell them in bottles that they store on the shelves – that is a much drier version and probably with totally dodgy oil and additives, but I am guessing that means a pretty good shelf life. I store mine in the fridge just to be sure. Mine don’t last that long – a few months at the most, and I have never noticed any deterioration. They are so handy to have. Taste delicious too…I have to stop myself eating some plain when I open up that jar!

  3. March 17, 2010 12:45 PM

    I prepared lunch boxes for everyone, including the husband, my highschool sister and myself. We are all grown up so it’s a bit easier… Still, I find it a challenging task to keep things interesting.

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      March 17, 2010 2:30 PM

      Gosh you are good making lunch for everyone!

  4. March 17, 2010 6:53 PM

    Getting food back from home used to be my Mom’s headache too. I remember we used to make sure that our lunch boxes were empty – by hook or by crook – before we returned home.

    Now lose sleep trying to figure out what to have at lunch at work

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      March 19, 2010 8:06 AM

      Luckily my kids have not as yet worked out that they can just ditch their lunches in the bins at school. I keep thinking that they will figure that out any day now, but not yet! Fingers crossed that we get a few more years of innocence!

  5. March 17, 2010 7:28 PM

    They look so tasty. I think when I die I would like to be wrapped in sourdough, its just so darn good.
    I have just started the pre-school lunch boxes this year and already am thinking what the hell do I feed them for the next 13+ years?

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      March 19, 2010 8:05 AM

      Don’t count the number of years (or we will really be scared),,,just one week at a time. If I knew exactly how I managed to get my husband to take on this lovely task I would tell you. That is the best survival strategy of all!

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