Weeknight Cooking

Beating School Lunch Monotony: Bresaola Two Ways

March 14, 2013

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. 

The only real, but very serious, challenge with making school lunches is avoiding monotony. I don't know about you, but I have to fight it every morning. That ham sandwich is just so easy, so likable. But just as I wouldn't want our kids' teachers conducting the same math drills every day, I feel it's important to make sure I don't send them to school with the same lunch every morning. Our kids are soaking up the world, and I want them to see and experience as much of it as possible, even if this means just the breadth of foods that can travel well in a lunchbox. 

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To push myself, I try to buy ingredients that are new and interesting and then work with them. This week, I picked up some bresaola. It wasn't great bresaola but at least it was a new flavor, a new cured meat. For one lunch when I was running late, I made a snacky array -- sliced radishes; bresaola rolls; cheese sticks that I'd baked the night before for a co-op board meeting (the recipe is in this book, though I cut back the red pepper flakes by 2/3); shortbread cookies; Speculoos biscuits; and clementines.

The next day, I called the bresaola into service again for a brioche and butter sandwich -- made with this tea and honey butter -- and clementines again. And despite my feelings of triumph and efficiency, my daughter declared the sandwich "eh" and ignored it entirely. 

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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.


Ghost H. March 17, 2013
"Eh"?? That's how it goes with kids a lot of times I hear. Keep trying new stuff! And someday they will realized and appreciate.
lunalovegood March 14, 2013
Mmmm your kids' lunches always look so good! I always get stuck in a sandwich and carrot sticks rut, so I'm thankful for your column to give me some ideas.