Thursday, August 22, 2013


When I was a child, we got a new lunch box at the beginning of every school year.  We might not get much (or anything) else, but we always had the lunchbox to look forward to.  

I remember going to the store with Mom to pick it out, and looking happily at the available choices.  At first they were metal boxes, with a hinged wire inside to hold the thermos.  Later, we got plastic boxes with a place for the thermos to snap in.  And the boxes always came with a matching thermos.  Always.  I still remember what the seal on the thermos smelled like if we left a big of milk in it too long.  Ew.

I don't remember any of my lunch boxes, but I totally remember my brothers having one of these babies.  And Star Wars.  Yeah.  I'd put fish sticks -the ones I bummed off crazy people who didn't love fish like I did - on top of that glossy lunch box, and it would get even more shiny with grease.  And they had peanut butter bars on fish day, too.  Why other kids would give them away, I'll never know.  They are still Trent's favorite goodie.  Yum.

Every day in elementary school, I got a peanut butter sandwich in a fold-over plastic baggie, and a thermos full of milk.  Maybe not every day, but most days.  It took me a few years after being married before I could stomach a PBJ again.  

I do remember the rare occasion that Mom would send a dollar to school with my older brother for both of our lunches.  Yup, fifty cents.  And I clearly remember the one time she did that, and my class went to lunch before my brother's class.  I was in first-grader tears, sure that I would starve to death.  I slunk to the back of the line, miserable, but Mrs. Terry, the school secretary, smiled warmly at me and assured me that I could still have a lunch and my brother could pay for it when he came.  I was eternally grateful!  And a few times, toward my older elementary years, I even got a blue 5-day lunch punch card.  It was thrilling.

For the last few years, my boys have gotten a hot lunch at school.  I thought they would love it like I did, because people kids who had hot lunch all the time were really cool.  And their families must have been rich.  But no, this year the boys are all clamoring for home lunches.  Home tastes better, I'm told.  Besides, since Michele Obama started tinkering with the school lunch program, none of my growing boys can get enough to eat.  They come home starving and I have to feed them another meal.

So I'm collecting a roundup of lunch ideas.  They need to be simple, inexpensive, fairly quick to prepare, taste good, and be filling.  Oh, and not cute.  We're feeding big boys here (grades 12, 10, 7, and 5).  Sounds like a few PBJs to me!

Lots of good non-sandwich ideas from Keeley McGuire.

No-bake granola bars from Kraft.

Great list from A Spectacled Owl, with links to recipes.

Recipes for tortilla wraps, from Sqidoo.

And of course, lunchbox jokes from Modge Podge Rocks.

I'd like to get to the point where we have a few good things on a regular shelf in the fridge and the kids can make their own sandwich, drop in a few already-prepped fruits and veggies, and off they go.  For now, I'm making breakfasts and lunches every morning in a solid state of grog.  We'll get used to this schedule, and it will get easier.  I think.

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