It's been a tough morning and you're looking forward to sitting down in the lunchroom or outdoors in the sun, opening up your carefully packed lunch and biting into a cold grilled cheese sandwich. Not! Your 30 minutes of chill-time becomes just that… chilled. All is not lost, however. Back up a few hours and consider a few ways you can pack that warm lunch to keep it warm. It just takes a few minutes of creative thinking outside the box and inside your cupboard and you, too, will become a warm lunch genius.
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Use Thermal Bags
One of the newer products on the market is the thermal bag. You've used them to keep your groceries cool, your tuna and egg salad sandwiches chilled and now you can use them to keep lunch sandwiches warm. The bags come in a variety of sizes and designs, including a sandwich sized bag. Before putting the sandwich into the bag, prepare it with a gel-based heat pack. Then wrap the sandwich with aluminum foil, heavy-duty if you can get it, then in a kitchen towel or washcloth for extra insulation. Squeeze any extra air out of the bag before sealing and keep it away from cool air-conditioned surroundings.
Double Uses for a Thermos
If you don't have a specifically designed thermos that keeps soup, sandwiches or any other warm food warm, improvise. You probably have a drink container that you use for cool juices and drinks; well, that same insulated container doubles as a warmer. Before you start creating your sandwich, boil water and fill up the thermos. Let it sit while you prepare your lunch.
When the sandwich is ready, empty the thermos of the hot water, slice the sandwich to fit inside the thermos, seal it and you're ready for a hot sandwich at lunch time.
Pull Out a Hot Water Bottle
The hot water bottle sitting at the bottom of your bedroom chest now has a use. Just fill it with hot water, be sure it's sealed tightly, and wrap it into a small towel. Then place it into a small, soft-sided lunch carrier. A hard carrier works as well, but the soft one keeps the air around the sandwich warmer. Surround the hot water bottle and towel with newspaper or cardboard for extra insulation.
Wrap Sandwiches in Warm Clothing
When you've run out of alternatives, just throw a few small pieces of clothing into your dryer and run it on high. When the clothes are toasty, wrap them around the sandwiches and wrap them all in newspaper. This should work to keep your grilled cheese, if not hot, at least warm.
Hand Warmers From Another Age
In the times before transportation was elevated to cars, people used carriages to go from one place to another, and often the passengers were exposed to the outdoor elements. Women tucked their hands into muffs made from fabric or fur and those who thought ahead placed a lump of hot coal inside to use as a hand warmer. The same theory can be used to keep your sandwiches warm in the hours between your kitchen and the lunchroom.
Handwarmers are now used in cold climates and are available in sports stores in multi-packs. They stay warm for up to six hours. Just shake the pack to release the heat-producing chemicals, wrap it and the sandwich in a newspaper or washcloth and your sandwich will be warm when you unwrap it.