"What in the world is a Sandwich Box, Jess?????"
I'm so glad you asked! My Sandwich Box is possibly my favorite thing in my kitchen! I've had one in my fridge continuously for at least the past 15 years. It all started one summer when my teen stepsons were staying with us for the summer. My husband and I both worked full time, and we needed something quick and easy for the boys to make themselves lunch while we were gone.
We didn't want them using the stove or the oven without adult supervision. Frozen things were fine for a while, but they got tired of those very quickly. Also, since they'd eat 2 or 3 at a time, those things got pretty expensive. They loved sandwiches and hot dogs, so I had the idea of putting all of the sandwich fixings in one place in the fridge. That way, they didn't have to rummage through the fridge either.
I found an unused plastic sweater box in the closet, scrubbed it clean, and The Sandwich Box was born. I cleared off room for it in the fridge and filled the box with anything that I thought they'd like to have on a sandwich. I put hot dogs, ham, cheese, mustard, mayo, pickles, bread, and hot dog buns in the box and told the kids to look there first for lunch.
Over time, I also began putting in any leftovers that I wanted them to eat. They knew that anything in the box was golden. All they had to do was pull the box from the shelf and go to town! They loved it...Ron and I loved it...it was great.
I've had some form of this box in my fridge since that very first day. Recently, I rearranged our fridge and I asked Ron if it was time to retire The Sandwich Box. I thought that it might be easier to have all of the cheeses together with the lunchmeats and the condiments in a separate container. He vetoed that very quickly.
I always knew that if the kids were hungry, they could find something quickly and easily. That was comforting to me as a mom. It occurred to me that The Sandwich Box is a source of comfort for him too as a dad. He likes that it's always there.
Our current Sandwich Box looks like this:
Nothing fancy, it's just a plastic basket that I got at the dollar store when we got our new fridge about 5 years ago. It's a little beaten up, but it's holding its own! I like that it's a basket as it is pretty flexible. I can stuff a ton of things in it, and it stretches as it goes.
As we are a foster family, the contents of the box vary based on the likes and dislikes of the kids in our household. I have a variety of mustards and spreads...cheeses and lunchmeats...sauces and toppings...you name it.
I clean it out and change it up weekly before I do my grocery shopping. If I notice that they're not eating the lunchmeats, I may add Nutella or PB&J. I stuff in baggies of lettuce, tomatoes, and anything else they might want add to their sandwiches, and all they need to grab is the bread.
I don't keep the bread in there any longer, because, quite frankly, with four teen boys, the shelves of my fridge are prime real estate. I simply don't have the room. Besides, with all of the lunches that are served out of this kitchen weekly, I never worry about a loaf of bread going stale before it's all eaten.
I've thought about building a Salad Box, but I don't think it would be as popular as The Sandwich Box. :)
Thanks, and welcome to my world!