What Delco Kids Really Want to Eat for Lunch

Virtual, hybrid or full-day school. Daycare, no daycare.

Too young for school or daycare, so home with working parents. Or maybe it’s kids of all ages who are now home with stay-at-home parents. Do your kids fit into one of those categories? Do you?

Whatever you’re juggling during “pandemic times,” if it includes kids that means meals … so many meals! At this writing we’re nine months in it, and we don’t know about you, but we’re running out of lunch ideas. We thought we were packing their favorites to go to school, but now have learned how much lunch-swapping was really happening (pre-pandemic, of course). 

Naturally, we turned to a few of Delco’s finest — chefs, an artisan shop owner, a winery owner, and a bar chef and sommelier — for some inspiration, a few laughs, and some much-needed help. Grab these ideas from them and their kids of all ages!

Photo courtesy of Floyd Kahlil of Plum Restaurant Group

Chef Angie Kahlil and Chef Floyd Kahlil

Plum Restaurant Group

When the Kahlil kids gather around the lunch table, it’s grilled cheese for all! We’re talking big, sloppy and hot from the pan (with the buttery goodness still dripping off). Sure, either family chef could make it Instagram perfect, but it’s more fun when the kids help. Twins Taylor and Miles, 7, and Alex, 6, say their favorite part about helping is flipping the grilled cheese in the pan. We couldn’t agree more! You’ll find these kiddos chomping down their hot sandwiches with chips and fruit. Lunchtime is made even more special, as it’s the kids’ long break in the day, so that means moments spent cooking, eating, and squeezing in a movie together.

Photo courtesy of Jack Cunicelli of 320 Market Cafe

Owner Jack Cunicelli

320 Market Cafe

We know Cunicelli is into organic and sustainable wine, cheese and foods, and that he’d pass that down to his kiddo. It still surprised us that his 19-month-old, Stella, is able to stand on the “kitchen helper” to lend a hand with meal prep! He says her favorite lunch is, at this age, anything she’ll eat, but notes that she loves pasta so much that she’s been known to shout “pasta!” at 3 a.m. Cunicelli boasts that his tiny chef’s head is also turned by olives, sunflower seeds and raw broccoli. The best part of lunch at home with Stella? Books! There are no devices at the Cunicelli table, but plenty of reading. To that he adds this final pearl: “It’s been a year and if there’s anything that 2020 has taught me it was to work less. It’s been amazing watching my daughter grow and figure out her world. Peace and health in 2021.”

Photo courtesy of Carley Razzi Mack of Penns Woods Winery

Co-Owner and Marketing Manager Carley Razzi Mack

Penns Woods Winery

The household is bustling with activity thanks to Olivia, 4, and Miles, 3, yet Razzi Mack manages to keep both the kids and the winery on track. So much so that she opted to interview her kids for this blog and provided these honest, delightful and very kid-like replies — guaranteed to bring a smile to your face! Wouldn’t it be great if all our Zoom meetings were this short, sweet and to the point?!

What’s your favorite lunch?

Olivia: Strawberries, oranges and a jelly sandwich.

Miles: Just peanut butter on bread, strawberries and carrots.

Why is that your favorite?

Olivia: Because it’s very yummy.

Miles: Because it’s so yummy, and I like fruits.

Can you help to make any part of your lunch?

Olivia: I can help cut my food up!

Miles: No.

What jelly do you like on your sandwich?

Olivia and Miles: Berry preserves!

Why do you like to eat lunch at home?

Olivia: I like to eat at home so I can eat with Mommy.

Miles: Because it’s so good. And I eat lunch with my mommy.

(You just let out an “Awwwwww!,” didn’t you?)

Photo courtesy of Irene Moretti of Tavola Restaurant + Bar

Bar Chef and Sommelier Irene Moretti

Tavola at the Springfield Country Club

This one brought a tear to our eyes, as Moretti’s daughter, Kiersten Shank, is an adult, yet she recalls her childhood favorite — since it’s still top of her lunchtime list. The tear-up part? It’s a family recipe created by Moretti’s mother, whom everyone calls Nonn. Nonn taught Moretti, Moretti taught Shank, and the tradition goes on. We learned that Nonn is 97, that this recipe is easy to make, and that the Moretti women only disclose their ages when they hit 90! We also discovered this recipe uses simple ingredients:

Nonn’s Meatballs

Serves: Depends on how hungry everyone is! Makes about 24 meatballs.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds meatloaf mix
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (Nonn likes Progresso)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan or Locatelli cheese, grated
  • Olive oil for frying

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together with your hands (or a wooden spoon).
  2. Roll into 2- to 3-inch balls.
  3. Fry in olive oil in batches (don’t crowd pan) until brown; don’t overcook.

Nonn’s Gravy

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 120 to 180 minutes

Total Time: 130 to 190 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or pounded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Chianti or dry Italian red wine
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes (Nonn prefers San Marzano)
  • 1 (28-ounce) tomato can water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped, or 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 small carrot, peeled

Special equipment: Pot large enough to hold all meatballs.

Method:

  1. Saute garlic cloves in pot in olive oil, being careful not to brown or burn them.
  2. Add wine, and simmer for about 5 minutes. 
  3. Add tomatoes, water, basil and carrot; cover pot and simmer.
  4. When sauce comes to a simmer, drop in meatballs; cover and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove carrot before serving.




Want to know more about everything Delco? We’re more than just your source for good eats — we’re your source for Delco From Home Experiences and where to get takeout and support local businesses in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. We’re Visit Delco, PA, and we’ve got you covered during the coronavirus crisis (and beyond). Contact us at (610) 565-3679, by email or online.

Nina Malone

Featured photo courtesy of Floyd Kahlil of Plum Restaurant Group