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Beating the Lunch Box Blues: Fresh Ideas for Lunches on the Go! (Rachael Ray Books) Paperback – September 3, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"You'll wish your mama had packed you these lunches. Fast, easy, healthy and delicious!" (Bobby Deen, host of Cooking Channel's "Not My Mama's Meals")

"This is not your average “been there, done that” lunch-packing idea book. This is revolutionary. This will change lives of many a parent (starting with me)." (Melissa d'Arabian, host of Food Network's Ten Dollar Dinners)

“J.M. Hirsch gets you thinking out of the (lunch) box by inventing alternative ways to prepare and package the usual suspects, introducing completely new ideas (pizza sushi anyone?) and offering terrific strategies that makes it seem so do-able. Heck, he makes lunch box cuisine fun!!” (Sara Moulton, host of public television's Sara's Weeknight Meals)

"Balanced, clever lunch-time fodder – just the recipe for happy kids, every day of the week." (Jamie Oliver)

About the Author

J.M. Hirsch is the national food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs about the trials and tribulations of his son’s lunches at LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets as @JM_Hirsch. His previous books include High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking and Venturesome Vegan Cooking. He lives in New Hampshire with his son, wife, and too many cats.

Rachael Ray is a New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty cookbooks, including Week in a Day, My Year in Meals, and The Book of Burger. She is the host of the Food Network’s 30 Minute Meals and Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, and the Cooking Channel’s Week in a Day. She is also the star of the syndicated talk show Rachael Ray; founder and editorial director of her own lifestyle magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray; and founder of the Yum-o! organization, a nonprofit that empowers kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking by teaching families to cook, feeding hungry kids, and funding cooking education and scholarships.
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Product Details

  • Series: Rachael Ray Books
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Original edition (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476726728
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476726724
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

If you are one of those parents who somehow finds the time to craft your kid's lunch into cutesy animals and characters from their favorite movies, good for you. And good luck with your therapy.

I'm a working dad who can't dedicate quite that much energy to my 8-year-old's lunch box. I'm pretty sure that doesn't make me a bad dad. I still want him to eat healthy and to be excited for lunchtime. I just can't get all OCD about it.

And for the record, at the start of a crazy day being the national food editor for The Associated Press and a cookbook author doesn't buy me any extra time or inspiration for packing a lunch. And it certainly doesn't earn me any bonus points when it comes to planning dinner.

By necessity, I've become an expert at fast and easy dinners, as well as equally speedy and delicious packed lunches.

My last book, "High Flavor, Low Labor," was all about getting great dinners on the table fast. My approach is simple -- use high flavor ingredients to do the work for you. Because if foods taste great before they go in the pot, you don't have to work as hard for them to taste great when they come out.

My new cookbook, "Beating the Lunch Box Blues," was inspired by my blog -- LunchBoxBlues.com. The blog is a simple chronicle of the crazy, creative things I pack in my son's lunch box. It's about my daily struggle to feed my son lunches he'll be excited about and I'll feel good about.

"Beating the Lunch Box Blues" pulls together the lessons I've learned serving five years (and counting) in the lunch box trenches. Whether you're packing lunch for your kid or yourself, this book has you covered with delicious, easy-to-pack, easy-to-make lunch ideas that will move you way beyond the same old day-after-day PB&J.

And all of my cooking comes down to one thing -- real food for real people grappling with real life.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By W. Copley on September 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is not a traditional cookbook. Though it does have some recipes in it, most of the book is made up of gorgeous photos and clever ideas. As Hirsch notes, most people don't want to cook elaborate recipes in the mornings to take or send in a lunch box. Instead people assemble lunches. This book is packed with novel, clever, fun ideas that can be combined in endless combinations to make a delicious lunch.

The book is divided into a dozen or so sections. There are the expected lists of packing tips, suggested lunch gear, and pantry staples along with ideas for basics like chicken, seafood, and beef. But there are also whole categories that are terrifically creative and fresh. Breakfast for lunch? He suggests 14 different ideas -- most of which I've never seen before. In a salad rut? There are a dozen ideas for turning your favorite deli sandwiches into a creative salad. He also includes 30 easy dinner recipes and accompanies each with two ideas for turning the leftovers into a new lunch the next day. Killing two birds with one stone is A-OK with me.

If you're a parent looking to make the morning lunch packing routine go a little faster you should note that this is not a book filled entirely with "kid food". My boys are fairly adventurous eaters, but a lot of the recipes in this book would be a really tough sell with them. I would eat most of them happily. My kids? Not so much. Still, there are plenty of ideas for food that I think they would like, including: pizza sushi, peanut butter and pretzel sandwiches, and apples sauteed with brown sugar and butter and packed into a thermos to be eaten with freezer waffles. Yum!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Heather Lewis on September 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had to put the book down after one third of it because my brain was going a mile minute with the insane amount of inspiration that was crammed on every page!

This is everything I have been looking for to make non-fussy adult lunches. I already take my own lunches to work at least three days out of the week, and I'm super excited to apply all the fantastic ideas that I've gleaned from this book.

I just can't put into words how gorgeous the photos are, how inventive the flavor combos are, or how absolutely SIMPLE it all is to put together! I just wish there were little notes on where to get all the little containers, like the ones uses for salad dressings, but that is more of a personal fixation with cute vessels and not a real complaint :)
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Books and Chocolate TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a fun book of ideas and a few recipes for getting out of the lunch box rut. With suggestions that adults and kids alike will enjoy, it is filled with beautiful color photographs which is always a plus for a book about food.

What I like about this little book is the focus on fresh ingredients and the inspiration for creating unique lunches I might not have thought about beyond last night's leftovers or throwing together a sandwich. Those make fine lunches but sometimes those who pack one every day want something different. It isn't that we really need a book to get us to think of new ideas on our own, but the sugggestions in this one can lead to even more as we work with what is in the fridge or pantry.

The book includes suggestions for making things like yogurt and even oatmeal a main meal with nutritious additions, ideas for sandwich wraps and salads, turning the convenience of already prepared food from the deli or a restaurant into balanced lunches, making kids' meals more appealing so they actually eat them, and suggestions for the types of portable containers that are best for keeping lunches fresh and mess-free.

One section of the book has recipes for family dinners that can become the foundation for a packed lunch the next day with a few additions, as well as recipes that can be made ahead and frozen for quick lunches. I also liked the suggestion to consider having certain foods cold that we would normally have heated such as an an English muffin pizza with a little sauce and slices of Canadian bacon and cheese.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mom in DC on January 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was not really what I was expecting - less of a cookbook and more of suggestions. While the photos are gorgeous, but I found the layout confusing and overwhelming at times (so much to see, not really sure where to look).

I liked the idea of cooking dinner and using leftovers for lunch the next day - so practical and helpful. However, even after reading through the book several times, I am still not really clear what to make or where to start.

Many of the suggestions made are for much older kids (perhaps even adults taking a lunch to work?). My kids are in elementary school and would definitely turn their noses up at "sourdough smeared with Brie and topped with a drippy hunk of honeycomb" or a "baguette + fresh goat cheese + prosciutto + a drizzle of honey."

I also wonder about the packability about some of the suggestions - for example: waffle open-faced sandwich (which is a waffle with ricotta cheese topped with fresh fruit). I would imagine the waffle would be pretty soggy and I doubt the fruit would stay in place until lunch.

A lot of the suggestions required multiple containers - like DIY nachos or crostini (toasted bread topped with cherry tomatoes) - and assembling at lunch. I know my kids have a fairly short lunch period, and not sure assembly is really feasible.
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