Traditionally, Ploughman’s Lunch was a term for an English midday snack consisting of cheese, bread, and chutney. Meat was soon added as were boiled eggs and pickled onions.
What we’re about to do is more of a deli spread, but “Ploughman’s Lunch” sounds so much more fun.
- Lunchmeat: 1/4 lb per person per lunch*
- Bread: 1 loaf per lunch per 6 people
- Sliced cheese
- Romaine lettuce
- Hot house tomatoes
- Other sandwich toppings you love
- Condiments (pickles, mayo, mustard, chutney, etc.)
- Sliced stone fruit (apples, peaches, etc.)
Arrange meat and cheese on a plate. If you’re concerned with making it look pretty, fold slices of meat in half and arrange in a semi-circle, folded edge out. Arrange cheese similarly, no folding. Rule of thumb: in home decor, neutral colors look good. In food decor, neutral colors (brown, beige, cream) look gross. Always add a pop of color (in this case, yellow and orange cheeses) to a plate of beige food.
Slice tomatoes and lettuce and place on a plate. If you’re getting fancy, salt and pepper your tomatoes.
Set out bread, toaster. Set out condiments.
Put out chips (in bowl if you want) and fruit on plate.
Invite everyone to help themselves.
*I cut cost corners whenever I can. One of the only times I buy the pricey stuff is when it comes to lunchmeat. I really like Boarshead at my grocers deli counter. At about $1.50 more per pound than the store brands, it actually doesn’t cost that much more and is soooooo much better. No slime, no weirdness, great flavor.
If you don’t know what to buy for your crowd, stick to basics and variety: Smoked ham, smoked turkey, and a third wildcard (salami, roast something, spicy something – ask for a recommendation) Same goes with cheeses (Mild white, mild yellow, and wildcard (Swiss, Pepperjack)
For more lunch ideas, see Make What You Love: Lunch for the Masses