School lunch

My son, Toren, hasn’t eaten a school cafeteria lunch, save for a handful of times ~ When he started school at age 4, we were at Aviano AB, Italy, courtesy of the US Air Force.  Naturally, with a last name like Lombardo (and the fact that he and his siblings were 1st generation American-Italian!), we put him in Italian school ~ the children had approximately an hour, sometimes just over an hour, to eat a REAL lunch, served on REAL plates, using REAL utensils… served by women who would go home to lovingly prepare something similar for their own families.  Soup, salad, pasta, fresh milk rolls and fruit. Bottles of water, frizzante or naturale, adorned the table tops.  The women would go around the tables asking the children if they wanted more soup, bread, etc ~ it was lovely;  and, it spoiled Toren ~ for when we were uprooted from Italy 4 years later and shockingly placed in Wichita Falls, Texas ~ school lunch was 23 minutes of loud chaos, and the food was served on styrofoam trays and expected to be consumed with a plastic spork!  Toren didn’t even know what to do with a styrofoam tray, (or a spork)… where he had to stand in line to get his food, then as soon as he sat down, was expected to get up and exit the lunch room, because lunch time was over.  Needless to say, Toren started taking his lunch to school from 3rd grade on…

On today’s Lombardo lunch menu, we have shredded brisket, buffala mozzarella, and spinach wrap with aioli, homemade white chocolate, macadamia nut cookie, Jazz apple, and beverage (water, naturale).

brisket, mozzarella & spinach wrap


  • 5-8 lb brisket, trimmed
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 carrots, cleaned
  • 2 stalks celery, trimmed and halved
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flake
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1  cup unfiltered apple juice

Preheat oven to 425;  prepare dry rub: place brown sugar, pepper flakes, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, chipotle powder and salt in a bowl; pat the brisket dry, drizzle with olive oil; rub entire brisket with spice rub, massaging well.  place vegetables in roasting pan, gently placing brisket on top; add 1 cup of apple juice to the pan; place parchment paper over top of brisket, then seal with heavy duty foil. Place in oven, cooking for an hour at 425, then drop temperature to 325, roasting for an additional 4 hours.  Let rest for 10 minutes, then enjoy ~ V



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