Maybe it’s because I just finished loading the completely overwhelming school calendar into my schedule, but today’s Daily Post writing prompt got me thinking about school lunch – what to buy, what to send with my kids, and what we ate. Especially what we ate.
The 70’s is not an era known for its cuisine. It was the time of gelatin blocks, frozen mixed vegetables (including the dubious lima bean), and an array of convenience foods best known for promoting the widespread use of MSG.
In keeping with the times, my classmates brought sandwiches that make me cringe now – peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter and marshmallow cream, and my personal favorite, peanut butter and pickle. All served on good, old, spongy white bread that had about as many nutrients in it as the brown paper bag we carried it in.
My kale-loving, grain-eating self can’t quite reconcile my current eating habits to those days, and in truth, I didn’t eat many of these sandwiches. Peanut butter and pickles never made it into our family repertoire, and my mom did not buy marshmallow cream. Instead, I ate a tuna sandwich almost every day of my school career, a habit that followed me into my college years. (Which makes me think that the hazards of consuming mercury have been grossly overstated by public health officials.)
This would seem a more healthful choice if I had not consumed it alongside one of the past-the-sell-date Twinkies we bought at the Hostess outlet store. Oh, and a Delicious apple, the type that has been bred, in my mind, to taste the least like an actual apple. As you see, I cannot play the superiority card here.
My children have many more healthy options. I buy whole-grain bread, and nitrate-free turkey. Pack warm, homemade soup. Make kale chips. Cut up beautiful, organic fruit.
None of which they’ll eat. Even if they have the time to finish their lunches (which they won’t), I have no illusions that given the chance, they’ll trade for a past-the-sell-date Twinkie.