Recently I posted my interview with J.M. Hirsch, Associated Press Food Editor and author of High Flavor, Low Labor, a cookbook full of flavorful weeknight meals. But I didn’t realize then that J.M. also has a blog called “Lunch Box Blues” in which he documents with text and photos the creative school lunches he packs for his impossibly adorable six-year-old son, Parker.
J.M. makes no bones about the fact that packing a daily lunch can be a real trial, and he approaches the task with a refreshing, lets-get-it-done sort of attitude. An excerpt from an introductory section of his blog says it all:
If you are one of those parents who somehow finds the time to craft your kid’s lunch into cutesy animals and characters from their favorite movies, good for you. And good luck with your therapy.
J.M. is constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s “normal” to pack for lunch. For example, this past week he decided that leftover breakfast pancakes were a perfectly suitable vehicle for a sandwich, with great success. And in the past he’s given Parker everything from leftover spaghetti carbonara to a spelt tortilla filled with pepper-garlic jelly, cream cheese and leftover roast chicken. Clearly, he’s not your basic PBJ sort of guy.
Reading Lunch Box Blues is like giving myself a much needed wake up call. Although the TLT household also favors rather unconventional lunches (today’s entree for both kids was a Thermos full of steamed chicken and cilantro won-tons), we still get stuck in terrible ruts and J.M.’s out-of-the-box thinking opens up new lunch horizons.
One thing about Lunch Box Blues makes me laugh, however, and that’s the sheer quantity of food that little Parker is apparently putting away each day. For example, on the day when the aforementioned spelt tortilla sandwich was served, J.M. also packed salami slices slathered with hummus, some hunks of pork sausage, pretzels, strawberries, apple sauce and a drink. [Ed. Update: NOT a drink! Squeezable fruit! See my comment below.]
I’m pretty sure my kids, aged 8 and 10, wouldn’t come close to being able to finish that lunch. Maybe J.M. will stop by and shed some light on this mystery.