3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Nobody wants a lunch cookbook, especially not a lunch box cookbook is the bold claim given at the start of the marketing materials for... a lunch cookbook. Yet it makes a lot of sense, with us being time and idea poor early in the morning when we should be making our lunch before heading off to work. Making it the night before isn't always the best option either.
Of course, perhaps we could slip out to a store and pay for the privilege, standing in line and using up much of our lunchtime in the process. Wouldn't it be better, cheaper and healthier to do it at home before we go out? This book thinks so and gives nearly 200 ideas for lunch items that are not just variations on a theme - far from it.
Starting with an introduction and many tips, you might be forgiven for thinking that the author is stating the obvious ONCE you've read tips such as use leftovers as part of next day's lunch, yet until you've thought it through it isn't necessarily as clear as you might imagine. Sure, you can take a plastic box of something and hope to find a fridge and a microwave at your work or school, yet the thought process is more involved. Extra pasta can make a great salad the following day, extra pancakes or waffles can be "bread" for sandwiches. Not everything that was hot for dinner need be hot for lunch. Breaking conventions can be a great thing and not all convenience foods need be bad. It is a question of balance.
The recipes are featured in many chapters and in some ways the organisation seems a bit haphazard and disjointed yet when you look at it there is just a feeling that it doesn't matter at all. It is one of those books you probably should read sequentially at least once to get a deep overview about what can be achieved and then, of course, you dip in and out as required. This book is a lot more than just recipes and ideas for packed lunches - either that or the author has some rather elaborate lunches reminiscent of a Victorian middle class family's picnic (!). Many recipes would be eminently suitable for an evening meal, such as Thai Curry Barbecue Chicken Thighs or Sweet-and-Sour Chicken and here the intention is to make enough for "now" and "later" at the same time.
This does feel like one of those books that could be easily overlooked yet overlook it at your peril. The more one looked at this book the greater one seemed to get out of it, yet at a distance it might have seemed a fairly unremarkable book. There are a few niggles, such as the use of sole U.S. imperial units and a few strange colour combinations in the list of ingredients that might be described as "design differences" but in the grand scheme of things the niggles are just blown away. The book has carefully mixed humour, knowledge, education and a degree of realism together to great effect. Some stunning matter-of-fact food photography also draws you in. You need to believe in yourself that you CAN and WILL make great looking, tasty meals whilst being pressed for time.
To be fair, when one saw the title of this book it was imagined that it would have been a lot of variations on a sandwich theme with maybe a few salads and biscuits for good measure. One could not have imagined the sheer variety of food that could be lunch box-friendly. With a small degree of planning and integration into your existing kitchen schedule, you could be eating like a king at lunchtime too and probably will be healthier and richer in the process. About the only missing thing is advice about how to protect your lunchbox from envious, marauding coworkers. Possibly you will not look at the lunch counter with the same wide eyes ever again.
on 27 August 2015
This is just about my favourite cookbook. I found it whilst searching for bento ideas and it's an absolute gem.
It's filled with big colour photos showing lovely lunch ideas and recipes with ideas for how to pack that food attractively into a lunch box, tips for lifting it out of the ordinary; ideas to ring the changes, how to season it, how to make it more fun for the diner...just really, really good. It's also good for non-cooks as well as it shows how you can use ready-prepped food from the supermarket to get the same effect.
Whether you're prepping lunch for yourself, your partner or your kids, this book shows how to really step it up and great lunches you can't wait to open.