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Back To School

Back To School

Loads of Sandwiches & Ideas for the Lunch Sack and Dinner Table!

by Paula Deen

I blinked and summer is nearly over. Suddenly the stores are filled with kids back-to-school shopping. Seeing them always takes me back to when my boys were little. I remember trying to get them out the door on their first day of school. It was like pullin’ teeth. They’d drag their feet until I just about had to grab them by the scruff of their necks and throw ‘em out the door. I know it’s hard leavin’ summer behind. I’d enjoy sleeping in year-round myself, but duty calls.

And when school started, I took pride in makin’ my boys the best sack lunches known to man. They’d skip recess for a week before they’d ever trade their lunches away. Bobby’s favorite was my Pimento Cheese Sandwich. Imagine that—a little boy in a lunchroom surrounded by peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, savoring every bite of his Momma’s pimento cheese. I’d try and keep things interesting for them by “thinking outside the lunchbox.” They must’ve loved it because they’d forget their coats and backpacks, but pigs would fly before they’d forget their lunch.

As you may know, I got my start with those sack lunches. Word would get back to me that the other kids (and even the teachers!) were eyeing my boys’ sandwiches. Many years later when the boys were out of high school, I got to thinking that I could make a business out of selling those sack lunches to folks in need of a little midday home cookin’. And the rest as they say, is Bag Lady history.

So in the spirit of the back-to-school season, I’m happy to share with y’all a few sandwich recipes that’ll knock your socks off. A sandwich doesn’t need to be the thing you eat ‘cause you’re too busy to make something good, y’all. With a few creative twists, your lunch can steal the show, turning heads in the school cafeteria or home lunch table like a Thanksgiving turkey.

I miss those sack-lunch days. I still make them for my grandbaby, Jack, when I can. He’s more like me when it comes to school. Even though he’s only in preschool, he can’t wait to get back to his little friends. To him, school means making crafts, taking fieldtrips and playing with the friends he missed over the summer. I was never much of a student, but boy was I a social butterfly! I practically ran to school every morning, in a hurry to gossip about who was dating, who had broken up, and which outfit us cheerleaders would be wearing to Friday night’s game. If it weren’t for all the clubs and dances, there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that I would’ve ever made it through!

And sometimes I have to wonder if it weren’t those tasty sack lunches that helped my boys get through their reluctant school days.

Get Schooled!
*15 Super Sandwiches
*10 Tips For Making School Lunches Healthy and Fun
*After School Treats

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Reader Comments:


Paula, I miss those days of making the kids their sack lunches.  Yes, I had two boys to send off to school too.  And yes I was the one packing thier lunches and such for school. 

But I do remember my mom making us lunches as well.  We used to get a lot of pickled pimento loaf.  Mom loved the stuff…me not so much.  But she also made us home made chicken salad and egg salad sandwiches as well.  That little sack usually also carried a little surprise or even just a note to tell us she loved us and work hard in school.  Thats one thing I always remember, a lot like you, was the support my mom had for us kids growing up.  She was always there for us and letting us know she cared, even if it was just a simple paper sack full of goodies, a sandwich and an note of love.  Heck, that whole bag was a bag of love in my opinion.

Can’t wait to see your Halloween tips and treats, I’m sure you’ll out do mine on my site.  But hey, I love learnin new things from you all the time.

Greg Kantner of Tampa, Florida on August 30, 2010 08:49 AM

Hey Paula,  Remember the days of ANTS on a LOG?.  Well here is an idea.  Make your homemade pimento cheese with WHITE CHEDDAR instead of the Yellow CHEDDAR, add your child’s favorite color with a few drops of food coloring!!. Then spread that wonderful colored cheese on top of that celery stick and add a different choice of raisins to the top.

Patricia of South Carolina on August 30, 2010 03:24 PM


ANNETTE BRUNET of HOUMA LA on August 30, 2010 03:35 PM

Just had to comment on the sack lunches in memory of my dear Mom who always sent us off with great sandwiches.  One favorite was what we called “egg ‘n’ olive” or I suppose others might call egg salad.  She mashed together boiled eggs, chopped stuffed green olives, salt, pepper, and moistened the mixture with plenty of mayo to make a spreadable consistency. She would pack these into our lunch boxes with something ice cold which would help keep the sandwiches cool until lunch time.  I miss her so!  Bet she is making egg’n'olive spread for the angels up in Heaven!

Selaine Shapiro of E. TN on August 30, 2010 03:35 PM

Sure happy for any lunch tips, the kids get bored so quickly!
However, does anyone have gluten free sack lunch ideas? I could really use suggestions for one of my children!

Thanks Much!

Allison of Venice, FL on August 30, 2010 03:51 PM

Paula…those were the days, but now it’s grandsons.  Their favorite snack is an Apple Cake you had in a magazine one or two yrs ago.  My grandsons had it gone before i knew it.  It had connola oil, raisins, apples and a cinammon sugar coating…made in a bundt pan.  I have lost the recipe in moving an sure hope you can help me out.
My boys an their sons would love you for it.
Thanks, Peggy

Peggy of nys on August 30, 2010 04:02 PM

We are lucky in the sense that my hubby can work from home.  So every morning he has time to make our 10 year daughter her sack lunch for school.  Even though she wants THE SAME THING EVERYDAY…..he still makes lunch special by decorating her bag everyday.  He draws a different picture all the time.  She loves the fact that if she’s at school missing her mom and dad a little, she has her hand drawn lunch sack to look at. P.S. We love you Paula

Jackie Smith of Rancho Santa Margarita, Ca on August 30, 2010 04:18 PM

When my oldest started school, this first-time school mom was determined to make his school lunches interesting. If nothing else, I at least made them memorable. Brian is now 44 and still talks about the food coloring I put in his milk to make it “fun!”

Mary Severns of Beaufort, SC on August 30, 2010 04:24 PM

In our grocerys freezer section we have frozen milkshakes,I put the container in a zipplock bag and the add your childs favorite lunch, the frozen milk shake will keep it cold and be defrosted by lunch, my grandchildern always give me a big hug and thank you.

Yvonne Cornwell of Goshen, Ohio on August 30, 2010 05:13 PM

me encanta ,todas sus recetas ,su decoracion es autentica ......

AZUCENA NISTHAL of los angeles ,ca on August 30, 2010 06:27 PM

Why should the kids bring they’re lunch when the school offers a very good hot meal. Our school works very hard to please the kids, and have a nutritional meal. I understand in the larger schools they may have fast food, but in our small area we have home cooked meals, homemade breads, cookies , pies, meat loafs, Turkey and Dressing…... I love your show and all your recipes but give a little credit to the old cafeteria ladies,,, Thanks , have a great day !!!

Brenda Wilson of Rosoboro Arkansas on August 30, 2010 06:33 PM

Hey ya’ll!  Love you Paula…
I think a great way for kids, especially the youngest one, to enjoy their lunch is to leave a little love note, or a sandwich in the shape of a heart… sentimental stuff… probably just as therapeutic for the parants, eh?

Ani Sky of Chico, Ca on August 30, 2010 07:08 PM

Pickles and Peanut Butter!  That’s what we always wanted Mom to pack, and usually she did.  Boy did we get some stares, but we loved it.  That sandwich and a bag of Fritos, back when you got a little eraser Frito Bandito figure in the box of 10 packs, which of course we fought over. Those were the days.  I think I’ll go make myself that very lunch just for good ole’ times.

PJ of Indiana on August 31, 2010 12:26 AM

My teenage son loves your pork sandwich and I just add a little container of the BBQ sauce and WOW!!
The group of guys and gals he has lunch with think that he has the best lunches EVER!!  Thank you Paula for your wonderful ideas and tasty lunches.

Marina Hiebert of Beverly Hills, CA on August 31, 2010 02:21 PM

Paula, I have 4 children and out of the 4 I masde sack lunches for 3 of them, my two oldest boys are grown and married with children. I have 2 daughters left at home and the oldest girl, Judy is a senior in High School, she wants me to make that sack lunch for her. she always wants a turkey sandwich, so I try and add other things that are differant to go with it. She is also joing the Army, so I know those homemade care packages are in order for her.
My other daughter buys her lunch, and that is a whole other story, but if you have some tips on getting her to eat meat I would appreciate it…
I do look forward to advising my boys and their wives on sack lunches.
Thank you, i really enjoy watching your show..

Debra Miller of Chandler, Az on September 01, 2010 12:53 PM

Hey There Paula, Thank you for the sack lunch ideas and recipes. They are good for kids,but, good for bigger kids ttoo, the economy tight and not always able to eat out. They have made lunches different everyday and memories OOHH Boy!! Yum Good! Respectfully Teresa.

teresa Crego of Jackson Michigan on September 02, 2010 09:40 PM

Greetings Paula
I’m writing to thank you for helping me come out of my shell. I’ve been going to the same church all summer and have been keeping pretty much to myself. I’m a little shy. Most people think I’m antisocial. Today I took your Gorilla bread to the after church breakfast. My son and I ate with everyone else and were very happy just being there, but when I went to retrieve my plate it was empty except for some crumbs and as I reached for it 5 ladies surrounded me. They introduced themselves to me and we discussed all your great recipes. Before long there were probably 20 people there all wanting to meet the baker of the great dish. I can’t thank you enough for helping me come out of my shell. My son who makes friends easily was shocked to see me talking to so many people. He was proud of me too. I love your show and watch you every chance I get.
Thank you, thank you so much.
Love ya Carol Tye

Carol Tye of Cheney, KS on September 05, 2010 03:01 PM

Hi Ya’ll I am from TX and I have three kids but thay are all drown and two of them has children of there one. My oldest grandson is in the airforce. And he ask me….granny would you please make me a care package filled, with some of Miss Paula Deens cookies and candy. He thinks your cookies is the best there is. May God Bless you. and keep up the good work

Linda Eckert of San Angelo TX on September 05, 2010 06:21 PM

Hi Paula,  love you, love your show!
I watched your show the other day on snacks for the kids when they come home from school.  Well, the one that tuned me on was(Ive been out of school for about 32/33 years now,but still a kid)mealted white chocolate over pretzels and salted peanuts. Yum,yum. I went to a bbq yesterday with about 30 friends and made that to bring.  IT WAS A BIG BIG HIT!!! They loved it, although I want to shae with you I could not find just white chocolate so I bought cookies and cream and mixed that with the pretzels/peanuts and I added just a few raisens. BATA BOOM.  Killer snack , thank you.
Oh, also I shared with all my friends that it was your recepi and come to find out their were two other entrees of your recepis at the bbq. Your great!

Linda Lee of Tampa, Florida on September 06, 2010 10:05 AM

Paula - I love your porcelain pot and pan set.  Will you be creating a 12qt porcelain stock pot in charcoal gray/black?  Norma

Norma Zenkus of Seymour, CT on September 10, 2010 09:18 AM

Many thanks for the wonderful web page. I like your current style and design.
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