(The headline is a nod to The Onion and the days when people actually knew the difference between real and fake news. Headline aside, the following story is real —not even the names have not been changed to protect the innocent, the guilty, or the meat spread.)
I’ve been in a rut lately—the school-lunch-rut. I don’t care for the packaging or ingredients in all the single-serving whatnots marketed to kids. I feel like we do a much healthier and less expensive lunch with the usual sandwich, homemade snacks, and fruit. Sarah is pretty good about changing up the offerings. I’m less creative but stumbled onto to a hit last week.
I make rye bread almost weekly during the winter. Though I started my bread baking years ago with Julia Child—the cookbooks, not the actual person—I drifted away from it after we had kids. I came back to regular bread making after discovering Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. The method gives you fast and simple free-form loaves. No mixing bowl or loaf pans to clean up. The other upshot—our kids love homemade bread. They prefer homemade rye bread for their sandwiches whether it’s PB&J, ham (thick slices from leftovers), or the most recent offering.
I was spreading braunschweiger (a.k.a liverwurst) on rye heals for my own afternoon snack last week when the kids asked for some. That’s nothing new, but then Hazel asked, “Can we take braunschweiger on rye for lunch tomorrow?”
“You sure you want it for lunch?” I asked. Sometimes they make outlandish requests just to test the waters, like “can we have a fireman’s pole in the barn loft?” (For the record, I’m not against it, but suggested that we wait until they are older.)
“Do you want braunschweiger on rye for lunch tomorrow?” I asked Karsten. I don’t like making separate kinds of sandwiches for each of them.
“I’d love some,” he said, totally straight-faced. He can be so serious in his own oddities. Where does he get that?
I made their braunschweiger on rye the next morning, putting the wrapped sandwiches next to ice packs and placing a couple homemade pickle slices in a separate container. Hazel beamed like I’d packed a cupcake.
They didn’t leave any leftovers in their sandwich wrappers.
“What did your friends think?” I asked.
“Jerome was totally grossed out,” Karsten said.
“So were Iris and Evan,” Hazel blurted out. Like they were surprised to get similar reactions. Following her own tastes over peer pressure, Hazel proudly took the same thing the following day. I don’t know if it was the taste, the novelty, or the status, but she keeps asking for braunschweiger on rye. It will remain the rare treat, but I’m glad to have made a lunch that they loved.
I don’t expect anyone else to send liverwurst in their kids’ lunch. Kids don’t have the same palettes as most adults, but if they are exposed to good food, they tend to develop a preference for it over time. My kids can taste the difference between our summer eggs and “store bought”. That’s not data, it’s just an anecdote, but it’s a good one.
Note and Food Tip: We don’t actually eat braunschweiger that often. When I thaw a pound, I cut it in thirds and freeze the other two thirds in separate pyrex containers. Otherwise, a pound can go bad in the fridge before I get to it.
Former Marine Infantry Officer. Iraq Vet. Interested in Regenerative Agriculture at any scale.
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