For the past couple of years, I've been making and writing about the school lunches I make for my twins. About half of the time, I make them sandwiches, everything from ham to cucumber to poached tuna to roasted tomatoes -- you name it, and I've probably made it. And throughout this lunch-packing era, I've been struggling to find a way to wrap the sandwiches that would be less wasteful than wax paper, plastic wrap, or a plastic bag. I've tried the sandwich sacks and other cloth alternatives but none of them satisfy for a sandwich, which wants to be swaddled. Sandwich packaging also needs to be moisture-proof so an extra-juicy tomato doesn't leak all over the lunch box or bag.
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Frustrated, I decided to take matters into my own hands and mock up a solution. I drew out a plan, and my daughter, Addie, and I sewed up a felt prototype one Sunday this summer while watching the PGA on tv (golf is great for multi-tasking!). The wrap would need to be just wide enough to fold in the sides, and just long enough to wrap around both thin and bountiful sandwiches without excess fabric. Velcro seemed to be the right way to secure it closed. And it should be made of a sturdy, washable fabric so you could simply toss it in the laundry at the end of the day.
At Provisions we've been working with a wonderful napkin company in Georgia called Dot & Army. Jennifer Zamudio, the owner of the company, makes terrific seersucker napkins, which have been one of our best sellers. So we thought we'd ask her if she'd be interested in collaborating on the sandwich wrap.
Lucky us, we turned to the right person. One of the reasons Jennifer specializes in napkins is because her family went paper towel-free a few years ago. "I ran out of paper towels and I was like, 'I’m just not going to buy them anymore.' I got so tired of using them," Jennifer said. She began buying napkins at thrift stores and then realized it would be just as easy to make them herself. Soon after, she was sewing them on her Juki sewing machine and selling them on Etsy.
We sent Jennifer my amateur sandwich wrap prototype and drawing, and within two days we had a handful of prototypes, with varying velcro lengths and styles. Jennifer added a layer of nylon to the interior to catch moisture and selected an array of fabrics, which she sources at garage and estate sales. In a single round of revisions, we had our sandwich wrap ready for production. And, today, a month after we began, we present our first line of sandwich wraps at Provisions!
Here's how the wrap works:
And here are our first collection colors (they come in multi-color and single-color sets):
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.