Tag Archives: creative lunches

Bag It: Mascarpone Polenta with Olive Oil Fried Eggs, Parmesan Tuiles & Soba Tofu Salad

7 Mar

How long has it been since you ran down the hall, fist pumping in the air, hollering and yodeling, hopping from one foot to the other, in a veritable quivering ecstasy of anticipation for what you’d find in your crinkled brown paper lunch bag?

My mother has always been a big believer in seeking out joy in the prosaic ho-hum tasks of every day life, often making Mary Poppins seem like a depressive slouch by comparison. While I’ve never been one to whistle while I work, or rise at the butt-crack of dawn with a maniacal grin on my face, as her daughter, I’ve enjoyed the windfall of her (sometimes annoyingly) rah rah sis boom bah ‘tude.

She took packing lunches for me as a child very seriously. Having a balanced lunch — a veg, a fruit, a hearty protein-based main dish, a delicious-but-not-wildly-sugary treat — was naturally de rigueur, as essential to life as breathing. She liked to mix it up; peanut butter sandwiches were my go-to fave, but she tried to expand my culinary horizons just a smidge. I never knew what else I’d find nestled up with the peanut butter — whipped butter, caramel chips, bacon, cream cheese, chocolate shavings, carrot rounds. Cholesterol, happily, clearly wasn’t a concern. But in addition to being delish it also had to be fun — a concept that not all of the other mothers (judging from my peers’ sad brown bags) seemed to totally grasp.

From weird notes tucked in the bag, slapstick jokes written on my napkin, teeny little stuffed animals on special occasions, Cracker Jack treats, or random items that made her giggle (a wadded up ball of foil was one of her trademark oddball additions, a pair of dice once), or something useful but cool, like a few hot pink  paper clips, she always found a way to make lunch an event.

It’s been a long time since I shrieked with joy over the contents I find in my brown paper lunch bag — and since my husband isn’t the type to goose my meals with glow-in-the-dark sparkle bouncy balls, I had to spice up the food. Below, check out my latest favorite lunch-y go-tos: Mascarpone Polenta with Olive Oil Fried Eggs and Parmesan Tuiles (I eat the fried eggs the first time I make it and then bring the leftovers for lunch, sans eggs) & Soba Tofu Salad with a karate kick of spice. Click below for more pictures and recipes!

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