Lunch Box Heroes

Pro tips for making sandwiches your kids will actually eat.

September 2006

It's one month into the school year, and your kids are already sick to death of PB&J, tuna salad, and bologna. To ease such moments of creative drought, we asked premier Denver sandwich makers to develop the Ultimate Lunch Box sandwich. The rules? No. 1: The sandwich couldn't call for rare ingredients or laborious steps. No. 2: It had to appeal to kids and parents alike. No. 3: The sandwich had to be inventive.

For the budding football star
The Classic Italian Sub (for two) by Jerry Spinelli, Spinelli's Market
Split one baguette lengthwise. Cover bread with red or green leaf lettuce, sprinkle with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, and then layer five slices of Genoa salami, five slices of smoked ham, five slices of capicola, two slices of provolone, one roasted red pepper sliced, and a few slices of tomato. Optional: marinated or raw red onion.

For the wholesome kid
Pesto Turkey by Jay Solomon, Jay's Patio Café and Eat Street
Spread a dab of Hellman's mayo and a bit of pesto over two slices of Milton's whole grain bread. Over one slice of bread, arrange two to three ounces of sliced turkey breast, one slice of provolone cheese, one leaf of romaine lettuce, and one slice of tomato.

For the Maine summer camper
Shrimp Salad by Pedro Flores, The Market
Mix together a quarter-pound of small broiled shrimp, one-eighth teaspoon fresh minced dill, one-eighth teaspoon lemon juice, one teaspoon minced red onion, one teaspoon minced celery, one teaspoon thinly sliced green onion, one-eighth teaspoon minced garlic, and heavy-duty mayo to taste. Serve on a croissant with green leaf lettuce and tomato.

For the kid with the I love NY T-shirt
Rare Roast Beef by Jason Rudofsky, Zaidy's Deli Downtown
Coat two slices of lightly toasted wheat bread with Gulden's Spicy Brown mustard and a dollop of mayo. Layer the bread with eight ounces rare of roast beef, one leaf of romaine lettuce, four slices of vine-ripened tomato, two slices of Muenster cheese, and a dash of salt and pepper.

For the sweet tooth
PBJBF by Cliff Trubowitz, Bump & Grind Cafe
Use a large, heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut hearts out of four slices of bread. Layer two hearts with peanut butter, one with jam and banana slices, and one with marshmallow fluff and apple slices. Start with a peanut butter layer, and stack the hearts. The jam heart should follow peanut butter; the fluff heart should follow jam; and finally, with the bread side facing up, the last peanut butter heart should close the sandwich. Decorate with colored sugar and sprinkles.

For the kid whose parents are aspiring chefs
Lamb and Mint Sandwiches by Gerald Shorey, Devil's Food Bakery
Purée one cup of fresh, boiled English peas in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cut one six-inch baguette lengthwise, and spread with pea purée. Top with whole, boiled English peas. Next, layer slices of boiled yellow potato. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Finally, layer with a quarter-pound of roasted and shaved lamb leg and eight fresh mint leaves.