Monday, April 16, 2007

Wrap-N-Mat and Celebration Roast

Here's another new lunch toy! I came across Wrap-N-Mats a few months ago and was interested in trying one out. Wrap-N-Mats are a reusable plastic bag alternative that fold around a sandwich and close with velcro. The PEVA or PVC lining keeps the sandwich fresh, then at lunchtime the mat unfolds into a placemat. Nifty!

After we got over the fact that the brand new mat smelled like a stinky shower curtain, we decided to wipe it down and stick a sandwich in it.

I filled two slices of sprouted barley bread with Vegenaise, ketchup, lettuce, spinach, and cold slices of Celebration Roast. I bought the roast recently on a good friend's recommendation, and oh, I'm so glad I did! Even the meat-eater among us agreed that the roast was some of the best-tasting veggie meat we've had. Tasty hot or cold, Field and Celebration Roast are made from wheat gluten, pea flour, and lentils -- no soy, so they're a great veggie meat for those with soy allergies. The Celebration Roast includes a stuffing made from butternut squash, apples, mushrooms, and carrots -- more sneaky vegetables for the shmoo.

I know the whole point of the Wrap-N-Mat is to reduce waste, so it's ironic that the other treat I scored for the shmoo this week was an Applesauce Fruit Squeezie.That's right, shmoo can finally squeeze goo out of a plastic tube just like his friends! I packed the tube-o-mush alongside a fresh orange and some dairy-free Fig Newmans.

Here's the mat all folded and ready to go. Since we're on the subject of bags, I packed shmoo's fig bars in another plastic bag alternative: Natural Waxed Paper Bags. I like to fold the bag and use a hole punch to make two holes through the fold, then tie the bag shut with raffia or twine. (I'm sure I got that idea from Martha...)

Verdict: The Wrap-N-Mat worked nicely, but I must say I still prefer packing lunch in a lunch box. There's something so satisfying about how everything fits together inside a box, and since I tend to pack more fruit and vegetable salads, wet foods, noodles, rice, etc., a lunch box suits my style. But if you are a sandwich-a-day person, a Wrap-N-Mat would sure beat throw-away baggies. Shmoo was utterly delighted with his applesauce tube and wants to know if he can have one in his lunch every week from now on. 4 stars.

32 comments:

Mass Ave Eats said...

I just discovered Field Roast this weekend! Only my store didn't carry the roasts themselves so I've had to stick to the delicious "sausages."

Veg-a-Nut said...

Oh the field roasts are so good. I had my first one at Thanksgiving. My Whole Foods only carries them during the holidays. You can order directly, but have to buy large quantities.

Thanks for the link for the wax paper bags. I have been trying to find them for quite some time. I will be ordering for sure!

Rapunzel said...

Love the wax paper bags! When my kids were small they'd sometimes take lunch in brown bags; I'd punch holes and tie in ribbon or twine just as you did here. Gotta love that Martha!

Midsummer night's knitter said...

I definitely go for waxed bags these days - I've been wondering a whole lot about plastics and food safety. The I started to listen to a US podcast 'More Hip Than Hippie' and that really made my mind up for me. Seems, as well, that the more flexible the plastic, the more likely it is to cause problems with the chemicals migrating into food....
India

Elizabeth said...

Wow! Thanks for the plug! After I read that I went directly to statcounter where, sure enough, my readership had jumped manifold! Thanks for your great posts.

The Celebration Roast is a favorite in our home--but we don't really like the other Field Roasts. Ah, well, something for everyone, I guess!

Vegan_Noodle said...

Thanks for the links about the wrap-n-mat (I just went and purchased a few) and the natural waxed paper bags! Very fitting considering that Sunday is Earth Day.

Speedwell said...

I did indeed order six 2-pound Celebration Roasts for Thanksgiving last year. They freeze well, so we had 2 for Thansgiving, 2 for Christmas, 1 for Easter, and still have one for, oh, I don't know, when I finally lose my willpower and just thaw and eat the thing. The folks at the Field Roast company are sweethearts and very easy to work with. I just wish I didn't have to order directly from them.

The Alt Martha said...

I've had a Wrap-N-Mat for years and I love it! I have a tendency to put way too much lettuce and accessories into my sandwich and by the time lunch comes around it would always be a mess, or the different sized bread wouldn't always fit in the tupperware container I used to use. The Wrap-N-Mat allows me to wrap the sandwich tight so when I am ready to eat it, it doesn't even fall apart. Love it, miss it (the plastic finally ripped...of course I had used it for years and occassionally cut my sandwich open so it was bound to happend) and am ready for a new one!

Field Roast is fantastic on pizza or chopped up in my salad...my cat loves it too!

Jenny said...

I love the wrap n mats. I throw mine in the washing machine when I do the linens. I don't wash it every single time that I use it (I often just wipe it down), but sometimes it needs to be done - especially when it's new.

I don't wrap the entire lunch in it, though. I'll wrap up my sandwich, and I put the sandwich and anything else I'm bringing into a lunch bag (I've got some canvas bags, and my partner's got a lunch box). They work really well.

shaun.marie said...

Hmm, I'll definitely be on the lookout for that roast! I really enjoy your blog - I'm one of the many folks who wishes you could pack my lunch! You also inspired me to find one of those awesome Indian tiffin carriers for picnics - it's much more fun to tote food around when you have fun compartments to stow it in. I hope you don't mind if I add you as a link on my blog!

Melissa said...

I wish Australia had all this variety! those roasts look really good!

Alexis said...

Okay, now I have to go to my WF and see if I can get some of that yummy-sounding roast. Luckily I'm biking home from work early tomorrow so I should have time.

emily said...

The wrap n' mats look cool, but isn't PVC the plastic we're supposed to avoid, as it's so bad for the environment? I'm confused about this b/c it looks like the wrap n' mat people's intention is conservation (though I'm sure it's heaps better than throwaway plastic baggies!) - I wonder if there'd be a way to make a cloth one - maybe a heaavy type cloth that won't bleed through if you're mustard leaks over (if you had a few, you could just throw them in the wash every week)- then you wouldn't have to worry about plastics and food safety, either. Hm... maybe I'll go make myself some (out of drop cloth?) - and thanks for your posts, Jennifer - I really look forward to them!

LadyRachelLynn said...

The Wrap-N-Mat seems like it would work well in conjunction with a lunchbox, as the kids i know take EVERYTHING out of the lunchbox spread it across the table and then eat. With teh Wrap-N-Mat you avoid the plastic baggies, and still get the convenience of a placemat....just an idea.

Susan said...

We also love the applesauce tubes. My daughter likes to have something similar to what everyone else has. There are also peanut butter tubes, but she is allergic.

Susan said...

Forgot to mention that in leiu of paper napkins we use a washcloth. The kids spread them out as a place mat, and then wipe their mouths when they finish. Really helps absorb the inevitable kid spills, too!

The Thrifty Blogger said...

The Wrap-N-Mat might seem good, but PVC is really bad, they are looking to ban it in European countries. (Type in PVC in Google.)

The wax bags look neat. But I think I agree with you, nothing beats a lunch box. :)

Wendy said...

Is the PVC lead free?

Vegan_Noodle said...

For those worried about the environmental and human health hazards of PVC, the wrap-n-mat in the Eco-print is made of PEVA. This is supposed to be a more eco-friendly alternative to PVC.

Jennifershmoo said...

Right -- just this Eco-Print one uses the PEVA. Why not use it for all of them, I wonder? I still felt funny about it when the mat smelled so strongly of off-gassing plastic when we got it.

I agree, there is probably a way to make these without plastic. I've been pondering that idea, too. The fabric would have to be dense enough to keep the sandwich from drying out. If anyone tries it, let me know!

Regarding whether the PVC ones are lead-free, perhaps there is an FAQ or place to leave questions at the Wrap-N-Mat website.

Roxy said...

I think its funny that The Alt Martha said that her cat likes the celebration roast. My cat goes crazy for Tofurkey slices!

Cassie said...

That's so neat! I feel bad using baggies to bring my lunches at work. I end up eating out alot for it, which is not much better, considering all the disposable materials that creates.

Tina said...

I have actually use my wrap n mats inside the laptop lunch container sometimes, work for us....wrap and mat's are a great idea for sure

helmam said...

I like the looks of these, but not the price...do you think I could cut up and use an old vinal tablecloth and hem the edges for the same deal?
Thanks for having such an interesting and informative blog!

deirdre said...

Hi,
With Spring here...I was rereading your weight watchin' vegan spot on your mom. Do you have anymore weight watcher's ideas? Have you ever considered counting points for some of the "grown up" lunches?

You inspire me. Thank you so much.

Liliy said...

I see people are continueing their comments on "Where did you get that lunch box?". Hopefully the bold letters will fix that problem.

Lilia said...

I wonder if PUL would work for this? Short for PolyUrethane Laminate. It's used to coat Fabric for cloth diapers (I made my own and bought loads of this stuff and still have some left). No plastic smell at all. Will make and post back. Another question, about the waxed paper bags, can I put wet stuff in them? I cut up my dd's oranges and we re-use our plastic baggies until we can't use them anymore. Was wondering if these would work. Thanks! Just found your blog and love it! DD goes through 2 insulated lunch bags a year, how does she tear them up? I will be looking into this little lunchbox here.

Jason Bayless said...

I love your blog - I pack a lunch just to sit and read your blog

teresa said...

The Natural Waxed Paper Bags are NOT VEGAN. They are made with paraffin (which is made from cow's tallow). I checked this out with the company.

Jennifershmoo said...

Hmmm, I must differ. As far as I understand, paraffin is not the same thing as tallow, and is vegan. Tallow is animal fat, but paraffin is made from petroleum, wood, coal, or shale oil. In fact, paraffin is listed as a vegan alternative to tallow in some vegan product lists.

teresa said...

Dear Jennifer, I am as disappointed as I'm sure you are at the reality that Natural Waxed Paper Bags are NOT VEGAN. I found them at Whole Foods and have been merrily using them for months--loved them! Then my husband questioned whether they were indeed vegan. So I inquired with the company that makes them and found out that, indeed, they are NOT VEGAN.
One nice alternative I have found is VEGETABLE SOURCED CELLOPHANE BAGS. They are also highly biodegradable. I get them from Mountain Rose Herbs.
Please do double-check your paraffin information source too--I have seen it listed as "safe" on some vegetarian sites too, but a thorough evaluation of its source reveals that almost all paraffin is from animals.
Thanks for all the useful information, you have a great site.

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