I’ve been meaning to do an update on the French Bread Friday concept for a while now, and when I sat down to finally write it, I realized my original French Bread Friday post published exactly 4 years ago today. So obviously it was meant to be.
And I’m glad. It’s always a good time to remind everyone about the best meal of the week.
We’ve done French Bread Friday off and on for over FOUR YEARS. I’m amazed it has been that long, although I honestly can’t remember a time when it wasn’t a thing at our house. It’s our default meal when it’s too hot to cook, or the kids have been especially picky all week, or we’re too tired to make a “real” meal, or for any number of other reasons. When it has been A Day, French Bread Friday always has my back.
The rules are simple:
- No cooking allowed.
- Use what we already have as much as possible.
- There must be bread + cheese.
Sometimes we pick up a loaf of fresh sourdough from the farmer’s market so we can be fancy. More often, though, we grab a cheap loaf of French bread from Sprouts and use that.
Any produce that we like to eat raw is pulled out of the fridge and cut up.
If we have hummus, we get that out too. If we don’t have hummus, we buy some when we pick up our bread. We also use that time to acquire more fruits + veggies to supplement what we’ve got on hand.
When it all comes together, it looks something like this:
Here’s what I love about French Bread Friday:
(Okay, I’ll be more specific.)
It comes together quickly + easily. I don’t have to cook, or deal with small children underfoot while I cook, or handle raw meats, or try to time things well to avoid pre-bedtime meltdowns, or any of that.
It’s a healthy alternative to ordering a pizza or grabbing fast food. On those long days when I’m just DONE, French Bread Friday saves my bacon. (Ha!) I feel like I’m being a good mom while still being a pretty lazy mom. And that’s my parenting sweet spot.
It gives me a break from cooking during our endless sweltering summers. Most people grill in the summer because it’s too hot to cook indoors, right? In Phoenix, winter is prime grilling season because it’s not 120° outside. The less cooking of any kind in the summer, the better, in my sweaty opinion.
It introduces my kids to new foods. We frequently use French Bread Friday to try out new fruits + vegetables. Our spread has included everything from papayas to gooseberries to horned melons. These photos include blood oranges, which the girls found endlessly creepy + cool. We’ve also subbed in different kinds of hummus (the chipotle kind was…intense) and more cheeses than I can count. While we all have our favorites—Margot + David like smoked Gouda, I like jalapeño havarti, Mila likes cheddar in all its varieties, and Ryan just shouts “MORN CHEESE!”—it’s always fun to shake things up a little.
It ensures we all get something fresh + healthy into our bodies at least once a week. I try to take a long view on nutrition and not worry too much if my kids eat mostly pancakes and veggie straws for a few days in a row. Still, when a certain someone only wants apple juice and tortillas for every meal (ahem, toddler son of mine) I start getting a little anxious. On French Bread Friday, it’s easy to make sure everyone eats a fruit or a vegetable or both. Usually more than one. And every little bit counts.
It’s fun! Because who doesn’t like eating with their hands?
Basically it’s a no-stress, no-pressure meal full of nutritious finger foods where you might not like everything but everyone will find something they like.
Tips for holding your own French Bread Friday:
- Start with bread (or crackers or a gluten-free alternative if you prefer).
- Include a protein of some kind. If you don’t care for cheese or don’t eat dairy, you could try:
- boiled eggs
- cured meat, such as salami
- deli meat, such as turkey or ham
- nuts or seeds
- Pick a few fruits + vegetables you like to eat raw. Some suggestions:
- bell peppers
- sugar snap peas
- Wash + cut produce into small portions if necessary, and slice bread.
- Gather any jams, pickles, or other jarred condiments you may want to include.
- Set everything out on the table and let everyone help themselves.
And dinner is served, just like that.
Have you done French Bread Friday before…or some variation of it? I know at least one of my friends does something similar that her kids call “snack lunch.” What are you favorite things to include?