By Lauren Bravo
The great Italian packed lunch, and the great French packed lunch too, for that matter. Not to mention the great Japanese packed lunch – the precisely compartmentalised wonder that is the bento box – or the Indian tiffin tin, stuffed with rice, curry and chapattis to see you through the day.
In fact, compared to the rest of the world’s midday eating habits, British lunch boxes can look pretty lacklustre – a bit of limp lettuce here, a packet of crisps and a wrinkled apple there. But they don’t have to be.
When thoughts of lunch are sometimes (or always) the driving force behind your morning, it deserves to be a really good one; and that’s as true in a day of grown-up meetings as it is after PE and double geography.
Bready to go
Naturally at The Flour Station our lunches revolve around great bread, but that doesn’t have to mean the same old sandwiches.
You could try English muffin pizzas – perfect lunchbox proportions, and quick to prepare the evening before. Slice open a muffin, top with tomato, peppers, chorizo and mozzarella then pop under the grill for a few minutes till golden.
If you’re looking for more low-maintenance lunches, take a tip from the hipster restaurant scene and try “deconstructing” your sandwich by boxing up half a crusty English stick, a hunk of good Cheddar, ham and some onion chutney… otherwise known as a ploughman’s. You’d be surprised how kids will relish the chance to put their own combinations together (no pun intended).
For fans of dippy egg and soldiers, try taking the troops on the road by packing sourdough toast fingers and mini pots of hummus or salsa. You can keep the toast crunchy by letting it cool in a rack after grilling, while those teeny hotel jam jars are great for carrying dips – so all the more excuse to slip them in your suitcase.
Or how about two-tone sandwiches to brighten up a dreary day? Use a cookie cutter to cut a shape from the centre of a slice of wholemeal bloomer and a slice of white bloomer, then swap the cutouts over and slot them into the gaps for a patterned effect that will make even the biggest kid coo.
Now then, what’s for dinner?