Welcome to the Lunch-Wagon where we are serving up family friendly recipes for real cooks! My name is Ann and I am the author, recipe creator, photographer and Lunch-Lady here at the Wagon.
I have always loved good cooking; whether eating it or preparing it. I was raised in a family with a strong female presence. Mema, my maternal grandmother, is the matriarch of my family. I am convinced that the fictional character of Betty Crocker was based on my Mema. In all my most favorite childhood memories Mema is cooking something or we are eating something from her kitchen. With a floured apron and a drippy whisk, my Mema loved us like no one else ever could. And we knew it with every mouthful.
As the oldest of Mema’s grandchildren, I have always wanted to carry on this language of love. And now that I have my own family, I have a strong desire to pass along the skills for cooking, the history of family recipes and the passion for loving family in this medium. My hope is that Lunch-Wagon will be to my children, and my children’s children, what my Mema’s recipe box stuffed with heirloom recipes is to me.
What is “Lunch-Wagon?”
It is the original American diner. Born in the late 1800s from the idea of the dinner car on a train, the idea developed into a moving car (or cart) on city sidewalks. The lunch-wagon was literally a wagon, hitched to a horse that would be loaded with warm, home cooked meals. These meals would then be delivered in the business districts of large cities
to businessmen during the lunch hour. It was great for the businessmen because they didn’t have to travel far to get a good, home cooked meal. The lunch-wagon proved very profitable for the wagon owners too since they had a “hot” product to sell to hungry, busy people.
This Lunch-Wagon was created in December of 2010 and is very similar to the 19th century lunch-wagon. Lunch-Wagon is a place for the 21st century food and cooking enthusiast to share a passion for the tradition of home cooking and feeding our friends and family. Lunch-Wagon is committed to providing tips, techniques, ideas and recipes that make sense, save time, provide nutrition, consider cost, and taste great therefore making busy cooks better cooks.
There Are A Lot Of Recipe Website; How is Lunch-Wagon Different?
Today there are a lot of sources for answering that daily question “What are we eating?” There are zillions of cookbooks suiting every type of appetite. There are tens of monthly magazines with recipes. You can get thousands of results if you search “baked chicken” on the internet. I even receive a monthly recipe from the county electric co-op, nestled nicely in the envelop with my electric bill.
All Lunch-Wagon recipes are tried and tested for ease by me, the Lunch-Lady. Nothing goes on this site that I have not cooked and fed my own family and friends. My time is precious and so is yours and for that reason I will never allow you to be my guinea pig with new recipes.
I am committed to ingredients that (1)don’t cost you an arm and a leg, (2) don’t require a Google search to determine what it is, and (3)will save you time and/or money that can be put back into your family. There is nothing that irritates me more than a recipe that requires a long list of expensive ingredients from a special store that I will never use again. You won’t find that here.
My recipes are also always kid-tested (see the “Taste Testers” section below). If the kids don’t like it, I will let you know. That does not disqualify the recipe from showing up at the Wagon since, hey, adults have to eat too! But I will give you fair warning.
A Little More About The Lunch-Lady
Inspired by Mema, I have always wanted to be Betty-Crocker. Well, not the real one (since she really isn’t “real”), but the ideal. In my mind, Betty is this lovely combination of Mrs. Cleaver, Rachel Ray and Heidi Clum. She is beautiful, active in the community, the model wife and mother. Her house smells like a delicious casserole or cake all the time, not to mention it is spotless and sparkling. She doesn’t worry about bills or bank accounts. She visits the butcher and baker once a week and when her husband arrives home from his high paying, low stress job, dinner is served on fine china and a table set with the best silver.
I am not Betty Crocker. I am a Christian, a wife, a momma, a daughter, a granddaughter, a daughter-in-law, an employee, and a friend. My house smells like baby wash, last night’s dinner and Cyress (our Chessie). In each nook and cranny you can find crayons, Playdoe and dust bunnies. I worry about my family’s health, my children’s education, retirement funds, job security and the impact I am making on the world. I spend most of my waking hours in a very small office doing a corporatey-type job. My dining table is covered in homework, bills, and food from the last meal. And when dinner is served it usually comes on paper plates with paper towels. My life is messy like the floor under the kitchen table.
I am passionate about food. Meeting that oh so basic human need in those I care for brings me more joy than I can express. It is one of the ways that I say “I love you,” or “I care.” I believe in the power to heal all types of hurts by a meal made with love. Really. Lunch-Wagon is where I share my passion. And I truly hope you enjoy!
The Wagon’s Favorite Test Testers
Though I have promised that you will never be my guinea pigs, my family is.
Would you believe I married a picky eater? My husband is a meat and potatoes, gravy and sauce on every meal kind of man. I could spend hours and hours on a fancy meal and get a lukewarm “good job honey” from him. When I serve meatloaf and mashed potatoes with gravy on a Sunday you would think I hung the moon.
My oldest daughter, though still in elementary school, is my most fearless taste tester. She has a vast pallet of likes with very few dislikes. She isalways willing to try something once and prides herself on giving food critic worthy feedback. She once encouraged my husband “Dad, you have to try this. It smells horrible but it really isn’t that bad.”
My youngest daughter is still a preschooler. Her likes and dislikes change rapidly. Only a few months ago she only liked about 3 foods, none of which were mama’s homemade dishes. But I have seen her pallet increase quite a bit as she grows. I would love to attribute this maturing experimentation to my fabulous cooking. But honestly, I think it is just good, old fashion sibling rivalry. She sees big sis get a lot of positive attention for being my taste tester.
Lunch-Wagon Press & Recognition
Wilmington North Carolina StarNews Online
Port City Foodies
Wilmington North Carolina StarNews Online
Port City Foodies
Taste of Home Healthy Cooking Magazine
3rd Place Winner of “Party Lights” Contest
Strawberry Corn Salsa