I eat food I didn’t cook more often than I’d like to admit. I try to make good choices on these occasions, but sometimes the heart/mouth/belly/mind wants what it wants. On any given day I could “have a taste for something” that isn’t in my house or that I am just too darn lazy to buy ingredients for and then make. Regardless, when I buy prepared food and bring it home, I am usually disappointed. This disappointment can sprout from a number of seeds: cost, satisfaction, service, time, my ability to do better, etc. What I have realized after a recent consumption from one of my favorite “grab and go” shops, is that while I am eating food I did not prepare, I am also scrutinizing it very closely. For instance, take my Cobb Salad Wrap Sandwich of late.
I was trying to convince my kid that their bagged school lunch could consist of more than just PB&J four days a week with “pizza day” to break up the monotony on Wednesdays. He, like his father and his father before him, is a creature of habit. He likes PB&J and is perfectly fine to eat it every…single…day. Now, one would think I’d be fine with this. It is an affordable, accessible, easy to make lunch. Heck, I’d let him make it himself if he didn’t put half a jar of jelly on his sandwiches. So to lessen the amount of sugar he consumes in a day, I proposed we vary his lunches. I suggested he might like to try a number of different things and we landed on wrap sandwiches. He was intrigued by the idea as was I. The options there seemed limitless. Although, now that I think about it, all sandwiches offer innumerable options. Now which wrap? Because I wasn’t going to waste money and effort buying ingredients for this experiment, I decided to let him choose from the options available at our go-to deli. Even then, I had to narrow the list down to three (paradox of choice and all). He decided upon one with a whimsical name consisting of smoked turkey, white American cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and thousand island dressing in a sun-dried tomato tortilla wrap. It was a big sandwich for a third grader who has a nibbler’s appetite and eats at a slow pace (both traits he gets from his mother), so we packed half. This also insured that if the experiment was not successful, there was still a perfectly good half left to be consumed by one of the parents. Loe and behold he liked it. So much so, that he wanted to take the other half to school the following day, but that was “pizza day”, so it was going to chill until the day after that. (I know some of you are thinking “Ewww…now it is three days old!” Shut it. Many people eat sandwiches days after they are made and live to tell the tale. I do it often. Kept well wrapped and cold, some are even better after a sit in the fridge. If you’ve ever eaten a sandwich from a vending machine or grabbed one from a convenience store stack…spoiler alert…there aren’t people behind those machines making fresh sandwiches every day. That is why they have freshness dates on them.) Anywho…what about my Cobb Salad Wrap? Hold on, I’m getting to that.
I lead by example when it comes to food. This usually works with my kid. (Though he’s still not down with the roasted Brussels Sprouts…even with bacon.) I knew to get him on board with the wrap sandwich idea, I too should have one. No problem…I wanted one anyway. I chose the Cobb Salad Wrap: turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado and blue cheese spread (extra requested), in a spinach tortilla wrap. It was DELICIOUS. I was a little disappointed that the “blue cheese spread” appeared to be blue cheese dressing. It was thinner than mayo with tiny chunks of blue cheese…not a “spread” at all. Other than that is was a darn good lunch. I too only ate half and then half the next day. As I sat eating the first half, slowly remember, I thought about what a brilliant concept this was and how easy it would be to make wraps for me and the kid. (I know…wraps are not new. I’ve had them before. But we like bread over tortillas for sandwiches so we as a family are late to the wrap party.) I recently saw a TV chef make a wrap sandwich for a kid’s lunch and she sliced it into small 1″ spirals. Meh…if mine were a toddler maybe, but any kid who can consume a Chick fil a sandwich in five bites can handle a wrap cut in two large halves. Kid was happy, mom was happy…win/win (which also means Dad is happy by default). As I finished the first half I came to the conclusion that I could make this myself…with “spread”. But should I? When I calculate the cost of the ingredients, It is probably less expensive to order from my deli than make my own unless I want to eat them every day for a week. Have you noticed the price of good bacon lately?!
Here is a link to my favorite wrap. I make this one at home. It is a hearty, meatless option when I want something tasty:
This wrap is worth making because I can cross use the ingredients for other meals or snacks.
So, for me, eating food I did not prepare is, in part, Research and Development. I learn a lot when I eat other people’s creations. Usually that I am capable of the same or better. Generally, I refuse to pay for a meal out unless I know it will exceed what I can or am willing to do at home. And that is a tall order. Going forward, I am happy to order a wrap sandwich for the boy (that will after all cover two days of lunches…next time two consecutive days) OR we can shop for ingredients and DIY. I’m just happy there is now an option that isn’t loaded with sugar that he will enjoy.