By day, I’m J.M. Hirsch, food editor for The Associated Press and author of “Beating the Lunch Box Blues” and “High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking.” By night, I’m just a dorky dad trying to feed my son a great dinner and pack him a lunch he’ll eat and I’ll feel good about.

J.M. Hirsch


41 Responses to “Me”

  1. Lauren says:

    Stumbled on your blog, LOVE it! When I was about your son’s age, my daddy did a lot of the cooking in our house, too, and I think it made me a better person for it. Glad to see another dad who knows his way around a kitchen!

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      So glad you enjoy it. It’s been fun. OK… It’s been a challenge, but at least a worthwhile one. Your dad was way ahead of his time. My dad doesn’t cook much, but he was always in the kitchen to help, clean, etc. I wanted my son to have that same experience — that everyone belongs in the kitchen.

  2. Courtney says:

    Love your blog. I looked at your pictures. It seems like a lot of food for a 7 year old…. Well, even for an adult. How did you come up with the portions? I am sure you know the calorie count since you are a foodie. I may be completely wrong :)

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Thanks so much! It is a lot of food. Couple things about that. First, Parker’s school does two snacks per day in addition to lunch. Rather than pack specific snack foods, I just give him lots of choices. He can select what he likes for snacks or lunch. But second, even then it is a lot of food. I don’t worry too much about overall calories. He is an active, thin boy. I just try to make sure that most of the calories I give him are good ones — whole grains, produce, dairy, protein, etc. However, he does eat a lot. There are days when his appetite makes me fear the teenage boy he will become. That’s going to be a lot of food…!

  3. Lynne McEver says:

    I like your blog. I have had my 14-yr old grandson living with me for the past 4 years and I make his lunch each day. He is like your son and will eat most anything. Some days it’s peppers, celery and carrots with dip and/or peanut butter, tuna every day if possible, all sorts of sandwiches on wraps or artisan breads and rolls, and lots of fruits. He would love to get one of your packed lunches. I try to be creative with dips and spreads and all types of fresh veggies and fruit. It makes me feel good to know he is getting something really good and even better knowing that his friends try to talk him out of his food most days. Thank you for sharing.

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Thanks so much! And how awesome that your 14-year-old grandson is still eating so well. I think the teenage years can be as tough as the toddler years when it comes to food. While teenagers can be more adventurous, they also are far more concerned with appearing cool (and sometimes healthy food is just so not hip with the teenage set). So glad you enjoyed the blog.

  4. Marta Vaughn says:

    Thanks for providing a quick form of education for parents to pack lunches. I’m a registered dietitian (RD) in pediatrics, a mom too, even with that experience, I have some new ideas from you.
    Two questions: 1) Does the thermos work to keep hot foods hot by the time your son eats them? The meats, brown rice, etc?
    2) Any vegetables with lunch or snack? Love the whole grains, natural meats, and fresh fruit!
    I applaud you for getting breakfast, lunch, snacks AND dinner on the table for your son. That is where IT is at!

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Thanks so much. Glad you enjoy the ideas.

      The thermos does a great job keeping things warm. I was careful to buy ones that are rated to keep food warm for at least 5 to 6 hours, which more than covers the period from when I send my son out the door to when his school eats lunch. I also preheat it by filling it with boiling water while I’m making his lunch. That way by the time I add hot food to it, the thermos itself already is ripping hot.

      As for vegetables… Ugh. At the moment, the boy who once inhaled spinach and sweet potatoes and carrots and any other veggies… claims to hate them all. So goes parenthood. But I believe in reserving what I call the “green bean battles” for home. In other words, I get the veggies into him at dinner, when I’m there to prod him along. I think it’s unreasonable to expect a kid to eat something he doesn’t like when he’s on his own at school (especially when he is surrounded by kids chowing down on Lunchables and Twinkies…). So I fill his lunch of with tons of healthy foods I know he loves. I make sure there is always fruit and whole grains, as well as protein. It seems to work. Though I am envious of parents who can pack salads and broccoli and such… Some day…

  5. Chloe says:

    Hi, I am a 6th grader who loves good food.Like Parker, I prefer sushi over pizza and I love meat.But I do like broccoli and snap peas.I have been reading your entries and I love them! Since I have been looking for good lunchbox ideas and everything looks so appetizing,I think this is an amazing website and look forward to each new entry with glee.I really wish I put care into my lunchbox as much as you do to your son’s with you being busy and all. Thanks!

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Thanks so much. So glad you enjoy the site. Wish Parker enjoyed green things as much as you do! It’s great that you’re already doing your own lunch. Kids who cook know so much more — and have such an advantage — than kids who don’t. Such an important skill. Good for you!

  6. Chloe says:

    Hi,I am a 6th grader who loves food.Like Parker I prefer sushi over pizza and love meat.But I do like broccoli and snap peas.Since I have been searching the net thoroughly for commendable lunch box ideas,I came upon this on and the ideas are stupendous.I am jealous of the cool lunches you pack for your son and will be continuously checking this site.Even though I am not a parent this is great.By the way if your son doesn’t like snap peas he should try Snack Salad SnapPea crisps.They are pretty healthy and are baked, but they barely even taste like peas.Unless of course he hates the color.Thanks!

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      I know those SnapPea treats. Parker didn’t care for them. Of course. But this weekend I did get some dried and salted edamame. He loves them steamed, so I figured I’d try these. Fingers crossed.

  7. […] The working dad in question is AP Food Editor J.M. Hirsch. […]

  8. Cheryl Lavery says:

    Wow, I can really feel the love you have for your son. I have added your blog to my favorites because I believe what I’ve read so far will make a positive impact on my life over the next few months. I am in nursing school and have two small boys (ages 2 and 5) so we have little time to spare. My oldest son just started kindergarten so finding this blog tonight has been timely. Your generosity will make both he and I more prepared to tackle those lunch box blues. Please keep posting so more will be inspired!

  9. Theresa says:

    I love your blog. I have five boys and yours is the first that has lunches that my boys are satisfied with the portions. The little bentos with the cookie cutter sandwiches were just not making a dent. Thank you for expanding the options.

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Wow! Feeding five boys sounds overwhelming! But I know what you mean. My son has no interest in cutesy. Nor do I have time for it. He wants lots of food, particularly if it has meat.

  10. Patty says:

    Just bought your cookbook and I’m loving the recipes and the blunt force concept! And enjoying the stories about your time with Parker, especially the two year old with his own Santoku. I’m really inspired by your creative way of saying ‘yes’ to what he wanted, while keeping him safe. I’ve also found the bento lunch idea really good as a solution to the cooking-for-one situation, which I do for myself daily. A bento lunch makes a quick dinner, too, and I’m big on using fresh food and variety. Thanks!

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Thanks so much for reading! And glad you enjoy the book. And to this day, Parker never has cut himself even once. Of course, I’ve now jinxed myself. Probably will spend this evening at the ER…

  11. Lori says:

    I don’t have kids but love your blot ’cause I needed some fresh ideas for my own lunches. Would it be so wrong for me to eat PBJ truffles for lunch?? Mmmmm… Thanks for the inspiration.

  12. Tonia says:

    Searching for square thermal lunch boxes and came across your blog! Love it! Then I bought our High Flavor/Low Labor cook book and equally enjoy it. We have a 3.5 yr old who eats well most of the time but has becoming pickier and pickier as he gets older. Lunch boxes are usually packed in a hurry and in sandwich forms, nothing fancy but we always give him a couple of options to pick from. So far, pasta never fails!

    I tried the Balsamic cookie ice cream in your cookbook and it was such a hit! The vinegar and strawberry jam reduction smells heavenly. Question – can I use other fruit jams? Which ones go well with balsamic vinegar?


    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Thanks so much! Glad you’re enjoying the blog and the book. The good news is your son will come back around. So long as you keep offering exciting new foods and real flavors, he’ll bounce out of the picky stage. It may take a few years, but he will. That balsamic ice cream is once of my favorites. You certainly can use other jams. I’ve done it with raspberry and apricot, and any mixed berry would be delicious. Let me know what you try.

  13. Rachel says:

    This is a great blog! I live in France and had a slow day yesterday so spent the majority of the afternoon reading your page. Here all children eat at school, or otherwise they go into the town to eat. But your ideas would work for me anywhere. We all eat together for dinner, (our 2 boys are 9 and 2, the former extremely picky). I love your ideas with the crackers, something I never yet thought of. We are big fans of cuisine, with Frédéric Anton and Yves Camdeborde. And I’m enjoying discovering the other side of the Atlantic! Bon Continuation!

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Thanks so much! France is lovely. Brought Parker there a couple summers ago. Spent a week in the countryside, then another week in Paris. One of my favorite moments was wandering Paris in the early morning in search of Stohrer. We found then walked around eating chocolate mousse for breakfast! We also had dinner at Frenchie — and Parker was told he was the first child ever to eat there! It was awesome. So thanks so much for reading and enjoy your time in France. You are very lucky. And so are your boys. Living overseas is one of the best gifts you can give them.

  14. Kirstyn says:

    Hi, hope you are well. Just thought i’d drop in to tell you that I stumbled across your blog (was viewing the Rachael Ray website as she has recently been on tv here in Australia)today and I absolutely love it! I’ve written down so many idea’s already.

    Thank you

  15. Amy says:

    Found your blog after seeing your segment in Rachel’s magazine. The waffle sandwiches have been a huge hit in our house. After my 9 yr old declared he no longer liked sandwiches I knew I needed to make a change. Pre-ordered your book and have been thouroghly enjoying it. Made the rosmary chicken last night (my first spatchcocking experience) and it was delicious. Sent BBQ chicken wraps to school today…crossing my fingers! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Fantastic! Thanks so much. Sometimes little changes like that are all it takes to get the kids interested again. In fact, I demo’d the waffle sandwich on Rachael Ray’s show today! Crazy! Thanks so much for reading and glad it’s been a help!

  16. […] Author J.M. Hirsch was doing some guest spots/hosting with the new Mr. Food. He has a great blog called, “Lunch Box Blues” that documents his son Parker’s lunches. […]

  17. Kimberlee Lorenz says:

    Love you blog…

    Anyway to make it social with Facebook? I haven’t quite figured out tweeting yet!

    Would love to share this and your books on my page!

    Keep up the great work!

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Thanks so much! There should be a Facebook share button at the bottom of each post. You also can find me on Facebook as J.M. Hirsch.

  18. Rose says:

    Found you from your apple french toast recipe… Love ur blog. As I was eating a PB&J 4 dinner, I became more & more envious of your son! I’m a Mom w/ 2 grown kids and never did better than cold cuts w/chips or other junk. They survived but I am now motivated 2 b like u w/grand kids. It’s never 2 late 2 b so thoughtful & kind. Sincerely, Thanks 4 the ideas & I will buy ur book just so I can feel like I can aspire 2 b like u…Rose

  19. Alisha says:

    Hello, I am a stay at home mom with an almost four year old who, for the most part eats just about anything you give him, including lots of veggies (especially raw ones). But I can’t seem to get him to try any type of fish. When he was younger he would gobble down tuna and salmon, and he even ate shrimp not too long ago, but now it is all “gross” to him.I am starting to fear that it is because his father does not eat fish, but I was wanting to know if you know of any way to make it seem more appetizing, I guess, especially tuna or salmon because I don’t think he gets enough omega threes. He will, surprisingly, eat fish sticks even when you tell him what it is. I absolutely love your blog and I think it is an absolute inspiration to all parents who think that lunches consist of sandwiches and pre packaged lunch packs.

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Thanks so much! One word of warning — this is normal. Kids suddenly “decide” they don’t like things all the time. My theory has always been to mostly ignore this and just keep serving it. Usually they come back. Eventually. But as to your question — my two favorite ways to make seafood more appealing are breading and chowder. A creamy seafood chowder is crazy delicious, and can be filled with any seafood you like. And breading is great. I like to slather any white fish (particularly haddock) with a blend of equal parts mayo, mustard and ketchup, then coat it with panko breadcrumbs. Bake it at 400 F until cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. Delicious.

  20. Sarah Cooper says:

    Dear Mr. Hirsch:

    I travel from Orange County, CA to my office in the mid-Wilshire district every day. I basically live on the food that I bring with me during the week. I stumbled across your book, “Beating the Lunchbox Blues,” and I LOVE it. I have already made the baked chicken-bean-tomato-rosemary recipe. It worked out well as salad and as pre-heated thermos fare. I also made a appetizer lunch with gourmet cheese, as you suggested. I was even inspired to make up my own recipe: Dried figs stuffed with honey-pignolia cream cheese. Lunch has become fun again, thanks to your delicious ideas.

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Oh, the fig idea sounds wonderful! I love figs and cheese, pretty much in any configuration. So glad you’re enjoying the book and the blog.

  21. […] J.M. Hirsch, food editor for a Associated Press. He’s author of “Beating a Lunch Box Blues” and “High Flavor, Low Labor” and his blog is Lunch Box Blues. He tweets @JM_Hirsch. […]

  22. […] Now, host Jeremy Hobson talked with foodies Kathy Gunst, resident chef for Here & Now, and J.M. Hirsch, food editor for the Associated Press, about some of the trends in food for […]

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