Sunday, August 7, 2011

Stanley ka dabba....Happy Friendship Day!

  • The movie, " Stanley ka dabba", is on showcase and I am hoping to watch it this evening. Anyone who has seen the movie tells me that it took them back to school and they thought of all their classmates with whom they had shared their lunch boxes.

Talking about school, I too have some very fond lunchtime memories. There were about 10 of us who assembled around a makeshift lunch table( one of the spare tables in the class) every afternoon during the break. We would all place our dabbas on the table(very plain, basic plastic/steel ones). One lunchbox would be opened at a time and the entire pack would attack the contents. Funny but even after years I remember what each one of them usually got( yes, there wasn't too much variety but we loved each other's dabbas nevertheless). N always got apples( yes, all through the ten years we studied together she got sliced apples and never did she get to eat more than a slice), S got curd rice with manga( small mangoes soaked in brine with a slight bitter after taste) or Parota kurma, P and Sa often got gongura rice ( hot, fiery stuff which I just loved. " I have got your favorite today", P would whisper during the class at the start of the day and I would eagerly wait for the break to grab more than my fair share). R got paratha and alu fry, Sh got chinni paratha, B got alu paratha or paratha shredded into small pieces and then cooked in ghee and sugar. Thanks to our cosmopolitan class we did get to sample a little bit from the different parts of the country. Strange but I am a little fuzzy about what I carried in my lunchbox. I remember twice a week it was idli sambhar. Mom( in the pre tupperware/no spill proof container days) packed the sambhar in old nescafe jars to prevent them from spilling. Sis and me had a deal. I would carry the bag on the way to school and she would carry it back. I had to balance the lunch bag gingerly making sure I did not spill the contents, she on the other hand just bundled the bag with the empty dabbas/bottles and shoved them into her school bag. Yes, stupid me. Guess 'the love for food' took over common logic.

This post has brought back so many memories. The special lunch boxes that we would carry on our birthdays. Mom would send me hot alu chop( alu bonda) and ghuguni( patiala matar). I remember our man friday cycling furiously to make it on time for the lunch break- he would be greeted with screams from all my classmates.

Yes, it was a lot of fun and we definitely bonded over food. We happily shared whatever we carried. Much of that I am sure still remains in today's schools but children want more variety and something interesting each day( as with most things aimed at this generation including education "packaging" is important).

Here is the good old grilled sandwich, best eaten hot, tastes nice in the lunchbox too.

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich
Serves : 2
Brown bread: 4 slices
Boiled Potatoes: 2 large
Mixed vegetables: Beans, carrots, peas, cauliflower- chopped fine and sauted.
Cheese: 1/2 a cube per sandwich, grated
Cheese spread: 1 tbsp per sandwich
Salt and pepper to taste


  • Mash the boiled potatoes.

  • Add the vegetables, grated cheese, salt and pepper. Mix well.

  • Next, spread the cheese spread on both the bread slices. Places the vegetables on one slice and cover with the other.

  • Grill for about 7/10 minutes for it to turn golden brown and for the cheese inside to melt.

  • Cut into triangles and serve with tomato ketchup.

If making it for the lunchbox, grill for about 5 minutes to allow the bread slices to stick together. Leave the bread a little soft otherwise it will harden as it cools down.

You can keep varying the filling. Any leftover vegetable/grilled chicken with some cheese would taste good.

I hope my children will look back( as fondly as me) at their lunchtimes and lunchbox friends. Here is to all the friends they will make and to some strong relationships that will stand the test of time.

Bon Apetit and Happy Cooking!

1 comment:

  1. Can I make it on a normal sandwich maker too? I don't have a grill.