After writing my review of Lunch Lessons I decided to try out the authors' recipe for Vegetable Lo Mein. Boiled, drained Chinese noodles are stir-fried with carrots, celery, bean sprouts, hoisin and soy sauce (I left out the onions and added snow peas). "It is an excellent choice for the lunch box," the book explains, "because it can be eaten warm or at room temperature and extra marinating will only make the noodles more flavorful."
Most lo mein noodles contain egg, but I was able to find a package of egg-free "Chow Mein Udon" noodles at my local grocery store; Italian linguini or fettucini would also be a fine vegan substitute.
Speaking of egg, I hate to say it but almost all fortune cookies are made with egg. For many years fortune cookies were one of my "don't ask don't tell" foods; I just loved the ritual of cracking open crispy cookies and sharing our fortunes after a stir-fry dinner, so I decided not to look into what they were made of. It wasn't until I started creating lunch menus that I braced myself and turned to face the fortune cookie; sure enough, fortune cookies usually rely on egg whites to create a thin, flat dough that is flexible enough after baking to fold into shape.
But the gods have smiled on us, because the "Supreme Kitchen" has come to our rescue with egg-free fortune cookies! Yes! Each cookie is filled, not with eggs and butter, but with spiritual words of wisdom from "Supreme Master Ching Hai" (those of you in San Jose or Phoenix might recognize her name from the Vegetarian House restaurants her followers have founded.)
Alongside the two enlightening cookies are golden fried cubes of tofu packed with a bamboo appetizer pick; shmoo can toss them with the lo mein or eat them separately. The fruit today is a mix of cantaloupe balls and fresh blueberries packed with a slice of lime.
Verdict: The cantaloupe and blueberries were the biggest hit of the lunch, followed closely by the lo mein. The lo mein was delicious, but I would recommend tripling or even quadrupling the vegetables in this recipe; we wished for more vegetables in every bite.
One of shmoo's fortunes struck us as being particularly appropriate for a school day: "Be meticulous in your work; do not let other thoughts or other matters disturb you." 5 stars.