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It's in the Bag

Bayshore, food, school

Well we’ve made it through the first week of school.  All the supplies were brought to school, including the four large glue sticks so I didn’t have to walk the plank.  We’ve met the teachers and begun to see that homework gets done.  Yet there is one thing that didn’t happen during the first week of school – lunch.

Don’t get me wrong; my daughter, Monkey, ate lunch last week but today marks the first lunch this year that she would bring from home.  In school lingo this is referred to as “cold” lunch.  The other noontime option of course being, “hot” lunch.  “Hot” lunch is that that cafeteria ritual of having a semi-lukewarm piece of breaded chicken-like substance known as “mystery meat” flung onto your plastic tray by a lunch lady wearing a hairnet, white apron, and a look on her face for which Botox could do wonders.

Of course, last night I could have taken a look at the yellow lunch menu posted on the side of our refrigerator to determine if today would be a “hot” or “cold” lunch day but that would have been too easy and practical.  So this morning as I was getting ready for work and eating my bowl of Honey Smacks (really the old Sugar Smacks but now healthier sounding with honey in the name), I scurried around the kitchen to make her first “cold” lunch of the year.  My first thought, thankfully I went to the grocery store over the weekend!

This year I vowed that “cold” lunch would be better than the ones that Monkey brought to school last year.  Okay, I’m a gourmet cook; I can do this.  I can be creative with lunches.  Can I?

I thought back to my school lunches; what did my Mom pack for my brother and me?  Sadly, I don’t remember much about my school lunches, which when you think about it is pretty ironic since as a kid I was slightly chunky and loved lunchtime, I got to eat.

I remember two of my lunchboxes, a metal Jungle Book lunchbox with lime green trim around the edges and a lime green plastic handle.  Also, there was the yellow plastic Snoopy lunchbox with Snoopy sitting on top of his doghouse.

Okay, so I remember the lunchboxes but what was in them? That’s it; I ate peanut butter on Wonder Bread.  No jelly, just peanut butter. Not that there was anything wrong with peanut butter and jelly, it’s just that I didn’t like to eat them together.  Frankly, I still eat just peanut butter in a sandwich, no jelly.  Albeit now it’s on wheat bread, to be a bit healthier.

Hmmmm . . .

What else did my Mom put in my lunchbox?  Chips and a Twinkie plus the occasional piece of fruit.  Does this help to explain why I was slightly chunky?

As I put my empty cereal bowl in the dishwasher and looked at the clock, I had to quickly decide what to make Monkey for lunch today.  I took out her new lunch bag because now as a second grader she informed me that she is too old to carry last year's Disney Princess lunchbox.  In her new big second grader lunch bag from a store at Bayshore that I won’t mention by name at the risk of sounding elitist, which I have previously been accused of (it’s the one across from the fountain that sells fabric handbags), I started to pack her first “cold” lunch of the school year.

At the bottom, a blue cold pack.  Good, that’s a start.  I think she needs a sandwich.  Peanut butter, no jelly - that sounds good . . . chips . . .this is sounding familiar, isn’t it?  Time to add an apple and an individual size bag of cookies to round out her lunch.  So much for creativity.

Thankfully Monkey is far from being slightly chunky so I don’t feel so bad about what I gave her to eat.  Plus, this lunch does have some health benefits.  Peanut butter is protein and it was on wheat bread for fiber.  Also, the apple is a good choice, right?

Tonight I guess I’ll have to check the yellow lunch menu to see if it’s “hot” or “cold” lunch tomorrow.  Oh wait, that would be too easy and practical.  I’ll just have to wait until tomorrow morning when I finish my bowl of Honey Combs to make that peanut butter sandwich. 

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