Lunchbox Hit: Ham & Cheese Samwich

We take Ria all the way to Italy for a vacation and her favorite food while we are there is a ham and cheese sandwich (ok, so they call it a tramezzino but it is just a triangular sandwich with a simple filling).  I was truly befuddled when she said to me as we are taking in the Roman sights, “Mummy, I love this samwich.  Will you make this for me when we get back home? It’s my favorite food in Rome!” How was it possible (did you miss all the other amazing food kiddo?) and don’t I make her this kind of grilled sandwich at home all the time?  And then it dawned on me – it’s white bread with the sides cut off.  Everyone’s dream come true – the humble sliced white.  It’s amazing how we just don’t buy white bread anymore.  The only sliced bread she knows is wholewheat, multi-grain, oat, nut and seed etc.

One thing to know about Ria.  She’s the world’s slowest eater unless she is starving (which seldom happens).  Her teachers have told us that she eats lunch at a snail’s pace, never finishes her (lovingly prepared) food and is too busy being a chatterbox at lunch time.  You are telling me?  I have spent the past few years coaxing her to eat faster, shouting “EAT” every few minutes, even though it doesn’t help at all.  There was a time when three meals took three hours.  I should have cut her off but which mother has the heart to say – “You can’t eat anymore, time’s up!” – when you know your child is still hungry or worse still will be hungry again within 30 minutes.  For me, this is payback.  I was the world’s slowest eater back in the day.  I gave my mother so much grief and it is all coming round like it usually does.

Anyway, white bread was bought (whole-grain, fortified kind – I cannot bring myself to buy Wonderbread though one day I promise I will), sides were cut off (I ate them with hummus – we don’t waste food around here) and the ultimate lunchbox hit was born.  I used some mayo, cheese (orange cheddar kind – the Italians would not approve) and nitrate-free ham and lightly toasted the sandwich on low heat.  Ria ate more than she has ever eaten of any school lunch I have made her thus far.  Now the dilemma begins….

“Mummy, if I eat my whole samwich today, can I get more white bread samwiches for lunch?”

“No!”

“But we have a whole loaf.  We have to finish it.”

19 thoughts on “Lunchbox Hit: Ham & Cheese Samwich

  1. That sounds familiar! We introduced only healthy meals with lots of lots of veggies to Zara since she started solids 9 months ago.
    However, during one particularly picky dinner at a restaurant a few weeks ago we found out her top fave food – greasy French fries.
    It has since been Plan C when ALL else fails

  2. That story made me crack up. I have the SAME issue with my son. He takes forever to eat. I’ve just had to learn to throw up my hands about lunch since he eats it at school. And this is the first year that they get to choose their lunch in the cafeteria. At least I don’t have the experience of him coming home and me finding half his lunch uneaten because he was too busy talking. I guess it’s kind of like being in denial… But he seems healthy enough. It just drives me crazy sometimes at dinner though! Yes, I do find myself reminding him to EAT! a little too often, so I can relate…. lol

    The ham cheese sandwich sounds so comforting — wow, hope you had a great time in Italy!!!

  3. This is so interesting!!!! may be with this our little Ria will learn to eat fast……and it might turn out to be a “blessing in disguise’!!

  4. Cheddar? No way I’m ever using cheddar in a croque monsieur (because that’s what it is in fact). Don’t let Italians see this 🙂 In France kids like theirs with comte or gruyere, and ham off the bone – whch is a lot more common than here. In SF I would go for a Monterey jack or leerdammer, cheese-wise.

    • I hear you….our cheese choices are usually fancier but sometimes orange cheese is what we end up using. I grew up LOVING kraft cheese slices. It was the best cheese in the world and I don’t even think it is really cheese 🙂

  5. Ham and cheese sandwich is my favorite breakfast ever…It’s a shame here in LA there isn’t even one place that serves a good one. So simple and so delicious. And about giving your mother grief I was the champion. My poor mother had to dance the rain dance for me to eat at least 2 bites. LOL
    Now look at me….life is funny right?

  6. Ria and Leela should eat together in a small room. She is world’s pickiest and slowest eater..now that she is 7, I have indeed said “Be done now” and then cleaned up. If she gets hungry 30 minutes later, she can have fruit or yogurt or something out of the fridge because (and I say this, truly) “The kitchen is not open all night and I am not a short-order cook.”

  7. Haha that is so adorable. I haven’t bought white bread in such a long time either! I think I don’t like it, but I think it’s really just my mind trying to trick me into thinking healthier is yummier. Not the case always!

  8. Why I haven’t thought of making a grilled ham/cheese sandwich for Caleb’s lunch, I don’t know. Thanks for giving me the idea. I often make him grilled cheese with whole-wheat sourdough sliced bread from TJ’s and that seems to be as far as I’m willing to compromise…hey, I’ll take the crusts off…how’s that!? She doesn’t mind it cold, btw? I don’t think Caleb would either.

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