Nick is a well-organised fellow. And highly reliable. Let’s face it, without him our kids could starve or be the sad kids lining up at the school canteen declaring “My mum forgot to pack my lunch” (because it’s always mum’s fault, right?)
Over the last few weeks Nick has assumed the role of chief lunch-packer. I’m not quite sure how I managed to quietly withdraw from that role (actually, I do. I either go running or stay in bed playing scrabble) but it is good to know the kids are in responsible hands.
Lucky for us our kids don’t mind repetition. In fact, they demand it. Don’t bother buying sliced turkey breast. Save your pennys and put the tuna back on the shelf. Walk straight past the ham. Our kids like one thing on their bread rolls and that’s chicken (but don’t say it too loud incase our chookies hear.)
On Sunday mornings we trundle our trolley (in my youth I never imagined wanting one of these “Granny Mobiles”, let alone buying one) to the Noosa Farmer’s Market. Loaded into the trolley amongst the ruby red grapefruits, the snow white cauliflower and forest green kale each week is an organic chicken, celery, onions and carrots.
Over the years Nick has watched me boil the chicken (for lunches) with vegetables (for the chooks) to make stock (for soups and sauces) and he obviously realised that it is not very hard and so took it upon himself to do it. Quite frankly I was surprised; his stock was much tastier than mine, probably because he uses more herbs from the garden (at least he thinks they are herbs, and mostly they are, but one day I might find a thistle in there).
After a couple of hours simmering on the stove, the stock is drained off and set aside, meat removed from the bones and shredded and skin discarded. Then the production process begins.
24 fresh bread rolls (a mix of multigrain and white) from the local bakery are cut in half and set out around the island bench. Nick whips out the old-fashioned bone-handled butter knife and slaps butter on one side of each roll. A quick switch to the Whole Egg mayonaise jar and he’s off again with a thick creamy layer of mayo on each bun. Nick once heard a chef on a radio program (pre-Masterchef?) declare that the secret to a great chicken sandwich was lots of mayonaise, more than you think. Nick, being not only well-organised and reliable is also obedient, so he includes plenty of mayo on his sambos. The next step is loading each bun with a mound of succulent chicken. Each lid is flipped to complete the ensemble and then gently placed in a zip lock bag and stacked in the freezer.
Now, 24 bread rolls may sound excessive but the moody 14 year old consumes 2 each day, the 16 year old final-year student and the 9 year old power-pack (she never stops) have one each, leaving a few spare for the weekends when someone inevitibly declares “there’s never anything to eat in this place!” Don’t fret. The Slow Chef is on the case.