A Little Lunchtime Rivalry

August 14, 2014

Every week we take a peek inside the lunches of the luckiest kids in Brooklyn. Read on, suppress your jealousy, and get a little brown bag inspiration.

A couple of weeks ago, my kids started talking up the excellent lunches brought by one of their fellow musical theatre campers -- let's call her "Josie." This caught my attention but I played it cool. Then, more recently, Walker added, "She gets sushi every day! It's so great, I wish we could have sushi." Yes, your frittatas and poached salmon are so bo-ring, I thought! 

Shop the Story

Not one to be shown up by musical theatre Josie, I tried to up my game for the last week of camp. I bought beautiful squid at the Greenmarket and made a salad with roasted spring onions, baby red potatoes, and whole parsley leaves (a variation on this one, dressed with lime juice, Piment d'Espelette, and olive oil). A lone salad would not do; with the squid, I served Merrill's tomato salad with corn, summer squash, and roasted onions. For dessert, I packed their leftover birthday cake, my mom's Chocolate Dump-It Cake -- a family favorite. So far, I haven't heard about any layer cakes from Josie's camp...

What's in your lunch today? See some of the twins' past lunches

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • natascha
  • Mrs Beryl Patmore
    Mrs Beryl Patmore
  • Practically Eating
    Practically Eating
  • Amanda Hesser
    Amanda Hesser
Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


natascha October 23, 2014
Dear Amanda, I love your column but am faced with a lots of school lunch questions since my son started Kindergarten this year… first of all: we spend five years teaching them how to enjoy food and they come to school and they only have 25 minutes to eat, almost unsupervised… when I send in a sandwich or a pasta and strawberries he will only eat the strawberries, so all he has from 8:40-3 is 5 strawberries. And how do you keep sandwiches from getting soggy? What do you recommend wrapping stuff in? Also, he loves salad and veggies at home but won't touch them at school.. what's that about??!?!! Any advice?
Amanda H. October 24, 2014
Great questions -- our kids get about the same amount of time (agree that it's not enough) and sometimes they don't finish in time. I've found that their habits ebb and flow so, for instance, in first grade, my son was self-conscious about his lunches, and now he's much more confident about them. It could have been a social issue, I'm not sure, but I just kept at it and weathered the storm -- eventually he began eating more of his lunch. My kids also went through a phase of eating dessert first; that was easily solved by letting them know they wouldn't get dessert in their lunch box if they didn't finish the savory part first. #oldschoolparent Regarding sandwich sogginess, I make sure there's nothing too wet in the sandwich (I rarely add tomato) and to deal with the packing issue -- I was bothered by the waste of plastic and wax paper -- we designed washable sandwich wraps: Hope this is helpful -- hang in there!
Mrs B. August 14, 2014
We'd have taken a different tack here -- my kids would have started making their own lunches (they did at about that age anyway). The confidence/pride/"don't care what others think or are doing" approach can be tremendously effective. At least in my experience as a parent, it always worked. ;o)
Practically E. August 14, 2014
Who says cooking isn't competitive?