Wednesday 27 May 2009

The Litterless Lunch and Food Fit for a...

King? Queen? Sultan? A hungry kid and her mom.

Today is Wednesday, which means we have lunch at Sultan's after swimming lessons at the community centre. We are fortunate to have an amazing network of community centres in Toronto which provide an astonishing array of classes for large and small for very little money. We are also fortunate to have people like Tamara and Samer who provide the yummiest falafel ever, not to mention homemade lentil soup, vegetables with garlic sauce, and other delectable handmade Jordanian food (vegan and gluten-free not even on purpose!)'s only 8:45 in the morning and yet I crave already.....that's Tamara walking away in the picture below, protesting the picture :-)

Safiya has been taking classes at this particular community centre for a couple of years, so it is a ritual and delight to walk in at lunchtime. She orders "the usual" and has started being in charge of the money, and we chat with Tamara and Samer and watch Danforth Avenue life pass by, usually playing "I Spy" as we eat.

That white sauce on the vegetables is the garlic sauce. It's basically just garlic and oil blended together. Soooooo good.

This Wednesday ritual has also provided me with an opportunity to practice and perfect the litterless lunch. We try to eat mostly at home, but it would be foolish to pass up good Toronto food and the opportunity to support our small restauranteurs, so I always carry our water bottle and cutlery roll with us. And now, I've added a couple of tiffins (got them here, but I'm sure there are many places to get them) and, on Wednesdays, a lug-a-mug (Tamara makes Safiya a special sweet black tea with fresh mint that we savour on the way home). At Sultan's they gladly fill up the tiffens instead of the foam one-use dishes that are offered, as do most restaurants if you ask nicely and just emphasize that you're weird that way :-) Or, even better, with a smile say that you're trying out the first "R"; the reduce one. Most of the time no explanation is necessary, which is great.

The tiffins took a while to take, as with any new habit, but they're perfect for picnics, which we will be doing a lot more of as the weather gets warmer, and, also important, leftovers from restaurants, even ones that are sit-down with china (apparently if you have kids, you have left-overs :-) I don't know the energy input required to make these, but they're light, unbreakable, I can pass them down to Safiya, and they're better by leaps and bounds than recycling, which also requires high energy input and doesn't always happen as it's supposed to. Sometimes the recycling thing seems to me to be just a salve on the eco-conscious, kind of like buying indulgences were to the church in the Middle Ages.

So, if you're in Toronto, say hi to Tamara and Samer at Sultan's, which is at the north-east corner of Main Street and Danforth Avenue. And bring your tiffin :-)


Dory Kornfeld said...

The cutlery roll is lovely--did you wing it or use a tutorial from somewhere?

I've not yet made the leap to the tiffin--I just walk around with anywhere between 1 to 5 half-litre mason jars on me at all times. Glass cleans really easily, and I can go from salad to coffee to water in one jar in the course of a workday!

And while there are so many delicious things to eat in New York, this post made me miss toronto indeed!

Marnie said...

Dory my dear! So good to hear from you, and yes, the ubiquitous mason jar is the logical choice....unless you have kids, who seat themselves on the streetcar by launching themselves onto your bag, or forget that it's not a kick-toy, etc. :-)

the cutlery roll is my own design, one that i promised way back to share as a tutorial....sigh. maybe you will have prompted me to get my act together and do that!

take care and enjoy that NY food!


Ghostface Knittah said...

Oooh, I love tiffins! Bought a couple of them when I was in India over a year ago. Perfect for snacks. I never even thought to take them to restaurants, thanks so much for the idea!

And the cutlery roll is awesome. I'd love one built for two.

Unknown said...

I found your blog from another a few months back, and I have to say that you have rapidly risen to my top 5! I love your sustainable lifestyle & that you are making it seem easy with kids.
Hooray for you!

Michelle said...

That food looks soo good, no wonder you can't resist.

My daughter takes her lunch to school in a tiffin, one I've had for at least 10 years that's still going strong. It's easy for her to open and stops her lunch getting squashed. They're so handy...

karen said...

Just found your blog. It's a small world, I live/work near that corner and sometimes have Lentil soup or Falafel at that place ... the owners are very sweet people indeed. :)