The Tiffin Tin

What\’s in your lunchbox?

Archive for November 2006

A Civilized Lunch for Mom

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There are days — not too often — when a working mother should take herself out to a nice place, and have a beautiful bowl of soup in civilized surroundings.  She should eat slowly, and sip water, and perhaps talk to a companion, or maybe just look out the window and remember to breathe and to pay attention to what’s happening in her life. 

It’s only when you slow down and look around you that you realize how many truly lovely things there are about being alive. 

This, by the way, is something every human being should do every once in a while — all of us:  women who work in their homes, women who work outside their homes, women with children, women without children and men of those same descriptions. 


Written by bloglily

November 30, 2006 at 10:51 am

The Day Nobody Washed Dishes

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Let’s be clear about one thing.  They don’t serve mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving at Caesar’s Italian Restaurant.  They serve pasta.  And sweet potatoes.   I got over that huge disappointment, however, because we were cared for by a waiter so kind, and gracious, and funny, that the absence of potatoes did not linger long enough to cast a pall over anything on Thanksgiving. 

As is often the case on holidays with loved ones, it isn’t really the food we’ll remember. 

 It’s the sign.  And how understanding the entire staff was when Tiniest Tiffin managed to knock over his Shirley Temple and then, not five minutes later, tipped forward on his chair and came crashing to the ground.  Not a single person who worked there made him feel anything other than like a child who’s had a bad moment and needs an ice pack and a big piece of chocolate.  It suddenly seemed churlish to have cared for even a moment about the mashed potatoes in the face of so much kindness. 

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November 29, 2006 at 12:02 pm

Mondays at the Daily Tiffin

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I’ve posted a piece over at the Daily Tiffin this morning, all about making lunch for a bunch of people (three, which is not technically a “bunch,” but when you also have to get yourself dressed and fed, it feels like a crew.)   Tomorrow, I’ve got some photos of Thanksgiving to share.   Have a lovely beginning to your week.

Written by bloglily

November 27, 2006 at 9:17 am

Pain au levain, satsumas and lemon cookies

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Here at the Tiffin household, one of our favorite breads comes from Acme. It’s called pain au levain and it is as delicious as it looks in the picture you see.

My boys have invented a sandwich with this bread — a sandwich that’s sort of a simple pain bagnat. For those who don’t know, pain bagnat is a sandwich. The nicest thing about it is the way the filling you put in it while hot becomes part of the bread, through the simple method of pressing the bread and filling together — sometimes with a brick, sometimes just with a tight wrapping of foil.

The Tiffin Simple Pain Bagnat involves a child taking several slices of the bacon we sometimes have for breakfast and, while it’s still hot, piling it between two pieces of pain au levain, smushing it down and wrapping it in foil. All the lovely bacon juices permeate the bread and the sandwich is a small piece of kid heaven. One piece of bread cut in half, two pieces of bacon, and that about does it.

There were also nice satsumas this morning and organic orange juice, because we’re trying to remember what summer feels like. And the cookies? They’re those tiny Italian bites that have a little kick of citrus to them. Another little outpost of sun for this November day.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I’ll be taking lots of pictures of our family dinner, the one at Caesar’s in San Francisco.

Written by bloglily

November 22, 2006 at 10:21 am

A San Francisco Thanksgiving

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I’ve made Thanksgiving dinner for my family every year since the late 1980s.  So, yes, that means I’ve been making that particular dinner for about twenty years.  I love cooking, and I love my family, and I love the way the table at Thanksgiving looks: bountiful, with a crisp white linen tablecloth, slightly formal dishes, our lovely silver.  Over the years, I’ve added and fiddled with the menu until it’s become exactly what we all like to eat on this day.  And the places at the table are decorated with place cards my children made many years ago, by tracing their hands on paper and drawing turkey beaks and feet on the traced hand pattern.   We’ve saved all the place cards from all the guests we’ve hosted at this dinner and the boys like looking through them and remembering the guest (who may or may not be here this year).

But this past year has been more stressful than usual in our lives:  I’ve dealt with a bout of breast cancer (from which I am recovering beautifully with a very good prognosis), my house is messier than it generally is because the three boys are in three different schools and well, it’s Tuesday and I feel myself wilting when I contemplate brining the turkey.  That’s not my usual self, I know.  And it’s not who I’m always going to be.

Still, one thing I’ve been trying to do is have more fun, and do new things with my family.  So if turkey’s going to do me in, then something new will have to be tried. 

Here’s what I did:  I called our favorite old-time San Francisco restaurant this afternoon (Sam’s —  courteous waiters, and wooden booths, and great grilled fish) and was directed to Caesar’s Italian Restaurant.  It’s near Fisherman’s Wharf, a place the boys love, and a place we never go to because it’s always so crowded and noisy and flashy and it makes us feel like strangers in our own city.  I’m guessing that on a holiday like Thanksgiving it’ll be empty and quiet and maybe the bay and the ocean will be more present than usual. 

Caesar’s is big and friendly and open and they like children.  The man who took my reservation was full of life and had an Italian accent.  And it’s a real San Francisco institution.  Not stuffy.  The turkey’s likely to be just the way you’d want it to be:  not gourmet, solid, satisfying, with a lot of mashed potatoes.

So there you have it:  happiness does not always mean making the meal yourself.  Sometimes it is okay to let other people do it for you.

Tomorrow, back to lunches.

Written by bloglily

November 21, 2006 at 2:27 pm

Monday Tiffin

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Even on the coldest of Monday mornings, it’s possible to make a lunch to remind your loved ones that summer still lives somewhere, and that it’ll be around again. And that’s what I’ve posted about over at the Daily Tiffin, in the first of what I hope are many regular Monday posts.

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November 20, 2006 at 10:37 am

Tiffin Obsessives of the World Unite!

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Would it surprise you to learn that there aren’t that many blogs out there that’re all about packing lunch for your children? In fact, I know of two: the Vegan Lunchbox and the Daily Tiffin. I like them both.

So, when I heard that Meeta, who writes the Daily Tiffin, was looking for contributors, I thought, how fun: I can hang out with another tiffin tin obsessive and not feel weird when I want to talk, say, juice boxes versus water.

And that’s just what I’ll be doing, on Mondays, at the Daily Tiffin, where I’ll be contributing a weekly post. The other women who’ll be contributing are an interesting, smart, wonderful group. Here they are, courtesy of the Daily Tiffin — and be sure and check them all out!

About Meeta – Administrator
I am a working mum and have a 4 year old son, Soeren. When I am not busy with family and making lunches, you’ll find me working for a software development firm in Germany. I am passionate about living a fun and good life, which mainly revolves around my family, work and hobbies. Offering Soeren good values and setting a healthy base in life is very important to me. You might see me jetting off with my camera in my hands and lost in some photo shot – you see I am an amateur photographer and am always looking for the perfect picture.
I also write What’s For Lunch, Honey?

About Nandita – Co-Adminstrator
I’m a medical doctor but I pursue my passion for writing. I write on health and food for several publications including Men’s Health – India and Complete Wellbeing. Life with my husband in Mumbai is fast paced. Striving to maintain a balance between work and pleasure, fast food and healthy home cooked food, heavy metal and the blues, that is I guess is the fun of life. You can read about my kitchen exploits in Saffron Trail.

About Shaheen – Co-Administrator
I am a part time working and full time
mom to a 6 yr old son. He started public school now
and packing his lunch is what led me to the Daily Tiffin. I
work as an architect in New Jersey, now part time so
rest of the time is being devoted to my wonderful
family. I love cooking, find it relaxing and creative
most of the time. Other interests are mostly books and
movies now.
I also write: Malabar Spices

Contributors to The Daily Tiffin:
Asha of Foodies Hope

Written by bloglily

November 17, 2006 at 8:29 pm