Last week, when all of the writers came together
for a glorious meeting in New York, I found myself in a bodega with Beth and Patrick, looking for bottles of water and nourishing snacks. I grabbed a Lunchable and later, while shoving stacks of too-round turkey slices and processed cheese in my mouth, I thought “why don’t I eat these more often?”
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Honestly, I don’t eat them more often because—unless you are in a certain place, booze-wise—the Lunchables of my youth really don’t taste that good, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad, conceptually speaking. After all, charcuterie boards are just Lunchables for adults, and charcuterie boards are good. But like if the Lunchables intended for actual children taught me anything, it’s that you needn’t stick to the classic meat-cheese-cracker configuration. In fact, the only rules for constructing a Lunchable are:
- The contents within must require no cooking, and must be able to be eaten as-is without further prep, preferably without utensils.
- The various foods within must be able to be combined with every other food contained within the Lunchable in a pleasing way, the only exception being the optional dessert, which should be consumed last. (And should, preferably, be an Oreo cookie or a fun-size Snickers bar.)
- The food stuffs within must be compartmentalized neatly, and in a way that almost whispers to the consumer “Hush now, you are safe. There is order in this world after all.”
Some of my favorite mature, DIY Lunchable combinations contain the following:
- Salami + rounds of crusty bread + shards of Parm + grapes
- Grilled chicken chunks + mini pita + hummus + sliced grape tomatoes
- Fancy crackers + sliced figs + the sharpest of sliced cheddar
- Mortadella (fancy bologna with attitude) + American cheese (yell at me) + Ritz crackers (yeah, yell some more)
- Rice crackers + cooked, cold shrimp (or that fake Krab meat) + cucumber slices + wasabi paste + packets of soy sauce
Once you have settled on a convenient and tasty combination, simply pack it in a bento box
—or a resealable container separated with cupcake liners or something—and pop it in the fridge until you crave it. Adult Lunchables make great, easily pre-batched lunches, but I recommend making one for yourself then next time you’re prepping for a night of drinking. Not only will this ensure you actually eat something before you doze off in an ethanol-drenched slumber, it will keep you away from the stove, which is very important.