Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Beating the Lunch Box Blues: Fresh Ideas for Lunches on the Go! by J. M. Hirsch (Introduction and Notes by Rachel Ray)

Beating the Lunch Box Blues: 
Fresh Ideas for Lunches on the Go!

Author: J. M. Hirsch

(Introduction and Notes by Rachel Ray)

Publisher: Atria
Publication Date: September 3, 2013 
J.M. Hirsch is the foodie for the rest of us. In an age in which the Food Network convinces us all we could be chefs if only we knew how to make things into foam, and Pinterest brags about all the things we should be making in mason jars (Hint: It's everything. Pinterest thinks we should be making everything in mason jars.), it's enough to make the average mom throw in the towel and buy some lunchables and call it a day. But J.M. Hirsch assures us there's a better way and it doesn't have to be hard.

In our household, lunch is that oft-neglected "freebie" meal that doesn't get much thought. Our three-year-old has peanut butter sandwiches and raw veggies more often than not, her dad grabs some pizza pockets to take to work, and I usually heat up some canned soup for myself. No one photographs anything and nothing is presented in mason jars (sorry, Pinterest). The Hirsch household is different. J.M. Hirsch is a bona fide foodie and his son Parker gets sent to school with lunches that are not only photographed and blogged, but are genuinely interesting (not so for every plate that gets photographed these days). 

While I'm not sure I could get most adults to be as food-venturous as Hirsch's son is (he once sent him to school with kangaroo steak and elk sausage, for goodness sake), I was inspired by the ideas in the book. I particularly liked the simple ideas, like making a "mini" lunch with baby cucumbers, baby bell peppers, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, sliced baguette bread and small cheese. It's great for portion control for adults, as the author points out, and kids love the novelty of it. But it's still all healthy stuff. So simple and easy, but so clever. Another so-simple-it's-obvious-but-still-clever tip is to separate components bento-box-style so kids (or adults) can assemble it themselves. It saves breads from getting soggy and meatballs from getting cold (for meatball subs, for instance) and it also gives kids a sense of DIY, which they love.

One of my favourite features of the book is the "One Dinner, Two Lunches" idea. Hirsch presents a dinner menu idea, then shows you exactly (with gorgeous photos) how you would translate the leftovers into two different killer lunch ideas. Again, so simple but SO helpful.

I received a digital review copy of this book but I can't wait to buy the final edition (just in time for the new school year!). I love cookbooks because I just do, but I think this is one I would actually use. And don't worry. He's not trying to get anyone to send their kids to school with kangaroo steak leftovers.

Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book free from Net Galley and also Edelweiss (Above the Tree Line). I was asked to write an honest review, though not necessarily a favourable one. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.


The World in Your Lunch Box
Strange Foods
Mac and Cheese, Please!
The Looneyspoons Collection

Eat Your Vegetables
Simply Grilling

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