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Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Let's do lunch

Sue at The Quince Tree posted recently about how she used her freezer. You know when you've reached a certain age when you are fascinated about what other people put in their freezers. When Delia Smith suggested putting fresh ginger in there, I swear, my life completely changed.

My freezer, mostly, looks like this.


You know those chore charts you see drawn up for children? "How your children can help you round the house?" I'd challenge you to find one which suggested chores for children who can't walk unaided or make themselves a sandwich. One of the challenges in bringing up a physically disabled child is trying to encourage an age-appropriate amount of responsibility in a child who needs help with most daily tasks. Other 11-year-olds might make up their own lunchboxes - my solution is to pre-freeze sandwiches, yogurts and bite-sized bits of cake so at least she can easily pack her own box. Also, at 8am, it's just quicker.

(When I was at University I shared a house with a girl who liked to spend her evenings avoiding coursework with 'time-saving' activities such as freezing a whole terms-worth of sandwiches. She is a very glamorous woman now, who would probably not like to be reminded about this - but there is perhaps one reader of this blog who remembers her, and who remembers me complaining about how I found myself stuck, late at night, with a solidly frozen ham sandwich on a broken-down train to visit my boyfriend in Cambridge.  (My children assure me that the sandwiches do manage to defrost by lunchtime.))

My only twinge of guilt about this sandwich and cake freezing is the excess of packaging: but let me tell you yet another traumatic story from my childhood and you might forgive me. My grandmother packed my lunches when I was a child, and taste was not top of her agenda. I have a horribly vivid memory of one particular lunch - potted meat and pickle sandwiches with a handful of Maltesers tossed into the box. Potted meat is bad enough, but anyone who has opened their lunch to find it full of Maltesers coated liberally with Branston pickle will take extra care to ensure that nothing similar ever happens again.

Also, I cut the crusts off my children's frozen sandwiches. I shall just sit here now and wait for you to gasp and mutter about how wasteful and mollycoddling I am. My children don't eat crusts, and to be honest at their age neither did I. Give them a sandwich with crusts on, and they will nibble away at an area iin the centre of the sandwiches, measuring roughly 1cm square, and then throw away the rest. Cutting off a sliver of crust means they actually ingest some food.

See all those little foil packages? They're cake, they are. Come back another day, and I'll tell you all about them. The twin excitements of cake and freezers will surely have you on the edge of your seats.

24 comments:

  1. Your level of organisation is awe-inspiring. Seriously. My freezer looks nothing like that. I have never frozen a sandwich.

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  2. As always you have got me thinking. My freezer is filled with leftovers! Freezer and cake, so not keep me hanging on to long!

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  3. I'm just jealous of anyone with a freezer big enough to hold a serious amount of food - mine is fish fingers, peas and a tub of ice cream territory. Nothing else will fit.

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  4. Don't leave me hanging on that cake thing - okay?

    My freezer often contains: the underbelly of a pig, a zip bag of raw egg whites, the juice of many lemons, that pink stuff you get in a thick slice in udon soup.

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  5. I do exactly the same thing, the bottom drawer of my freezer is full of labelled sandwiches, frubes, fairy cakes, muffins, tray bake all cut and individually wrapped. I find it works for lots of reason, two kids who don't always want the same thing for lunch so I find when I open a tin of tuna/packet of ham etc it goes to waste but now I just make up all their favourites stick them in the freezer and they can make their own decision about lunch. I've converted a few friends as well, although they did laugh as us once when we went on a picnic and I forgot to get the sandwiches out early enough! Glad to know I'm not the only bonkers one although I'm a mean mummy and leave the crusts on......

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    1. You're right about the fillings - though I keep forgetting to make Eldest her favourite filling, tuna, for some reason. (Could be because it's fiddly.)

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  6. my freezer is full of leftovers which I never label, and then am suprised when what I thought was stewed apple turns out to be parsnip soup...... oh and frozen bread, which I freeze before making it into sandwiches so that when the dreaded time of the evening when the ugly question of which child's turn is it to make the sandwiches is raised, neither of them can do it as the bread is still in the freezer and I end up doing it at midnight.... one day I will learn some domestic skills........

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  7. Having just spent the morning eating defrosted banana cake and drinking coffee, yes: Cake and freezer, what a great combination!
    planetcoops (blogger just does not like wordpress people's comments at the moment)

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    1. I love banana cake. Does it have chocolate chips in it?

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  8. See that inspirational woman over there? That's you, that is.

    My girls do not have the same reasons for their inability to pack their lunch as your daughter does, and they still don't do it. Mind you, I have seen the state of the cheese and butter after they have "made sandwiches" and I never quite fancy it afterwards.

    My freezer style is "bung it all in unlabelled and then lose the bottle to eat it when it finally resurfaces". I read somewhere or other that what I need is a freezer pen. We Shall See.

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  9. Not only edge of seat but seat of pants too! I don;t have a freezer though...

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  10. My daughter won't eat the crusts either, but since she makes her own sandwiches you'd think she'd cut them off wouldn't you?

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  11. At least you know what they are. I found stuff in mine I couldn't recognise...and some I'd forgotten including coconut milk...and ginger.

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  12. My Mum organised my sister and me to pre-pack 5 sandwiches and 5 slices of cake into the freezer every Sunday night, so that our school lunches were sorted. We were usually in charge of whipping up the cake too. The sandwiches were always thawed by lunchtime, and I have no memory of their being soggy either. I don't cut the crusts off because I can't be bothered, you'd think it was labour saving except for the time I spend every afternoon emptying the younger child's crusts into the compost each night. Every so often I put my foot down and insist he eat 2 crusts. He will if I remind him (note to self!)

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  13. I like that, lunchbox stuff in the freezer at the ready. Never thought of that. I'm obviously a bit dim.
    My children are in training - step 1 towards making their own sandwiches: slice the bread without spilling any blood. I can't see us getting to step 2 (choosing the filling: cheese (mild), or cheese (mature)) any time soon.

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    1. I like your wide range of sandwich choices - cheese, or cheese. We have ham, or soft cheese (nobody likes soft cheese, but we have it anyway).

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  14. my kids have hot school lunches. Which is lucky for them... because I make terrible sandwiches and I would never be or organised enough to have a freezer like yours.

    Gold star.

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  15. I am fascinated by the lady who has "the underbelly of a pig, a zip bag of raw egg whites, the juice of many lemons, that pink stuff you get in a thick slice in udon soup".I will never have any of that. (What in the world is udon soup?)

    I have frozen veg, some meat and things and quite a lot of preprepared (by me) casseroles and cakes and so on - I make double the quantity and freeze half. Also leftovers, which I eventually do use, though I don't label them so it's sometimes a bit of a surprise.

    (Not Anon but Isabelle)

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    1. I had to ask about the udon soup thing, too...! It's a Japanese soup, apparently.

      I'm not very good at batch cooking. Sometimes, chopping an extra onion seems like very hard work.

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  16. Don't beat yourself. Here in Italy Mulino Bianco (majoy bread/cookie/sweets compnay) has put a new packaging of bread on the market ... without crust. This means a lot of people cut the crust, not just you. There surely must be in the UK too ...

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  17. What a good idea! I either make sandwiches late at night (cursing) or in a panic five minutes before leaving to get the school bus. I love looking in other peoples houses/cupboards/trolleys/freezers. I have lots of loose peas and raspberries in my freezer.

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    1. Oh, I love you with your loose peas and raspberries - we could become firm friends.

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  18. That's so resourceful! I love the idea of a mix and match lunch ready to pack in the morning before school. I do not have an organised freezer. Nothing is labelled, which has led to me feeding weaning babies on lovely combinations like cod and sweet potato mixed with bolognese (strangely they didn't mind my accidental 'fusion' meals).

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  19. And frozen yoghurts? Do they really defrost ok? YOu are very organised :)

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