Let’s (not) do lunch

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You would think someone who loves eating and all things relating to food as much as I do would be nuts about lunch.

I love to bake, cook and even on some level shop for food. (If only I had minions to carry it from the car to the house and put it away from me. Oh wait, I do).

I love breakfast foods of every kind, even though bacon has on more than one occasions tried to set fire to my house. I say this like the bacon went rogue all on its own. This dysfunctional history between us doesn’t prevent me from loving bacon so, so much.

I love dinner so much I start planning it right after breakfast. A great day for me is when I’m making dinner by 10 a.m. Yes, really.

But I don’t do lunch.

Sandwiches

I’m like the only person on the planet, I think, who isn’t nuts about sandwiches. For a person who loves junk food and processed nonsense so much that I’ve kind of made it another food group, I’m a real snob about bread.

The only thing I “Wonder” about prepackaged white bread is why people eat it at all? Have you read the ingredient list on some of the “soft white breads” (which, incidentally, will stay soft for about a week if not a year or more which, by the way, is not normal). I would sooner eat a sponge. The sponge might have more flavor.

So I’m a bread snob. Fine. I’m also a cheese and meat snob. I own it.

I can’t stand less-than-fresh meat and get sniffy and suspicious if deli is even a few days old. I’m that person that thinks the “Use By Date” might as well say “Don a HazMat Suit and GET THIS OUT OF YOUR HOUSE.”

Suffice to say that for someone who loves food, I’m picky about it.

I’m OK with lunch that is basically breakfast or dinner eaten midday. I can handle a nice salad and soup combo in a restaurant somewhere. What I have never, ever been good at is packing lunches.

Some like it hot

For years, I reveled in the fact that our elementary school made really great hot lunches. I wrote checks to the lunch account secure in the knowledge that my kids loved them. Lots of delicious baked goods (fresh apple crisp, really). Soups. Salads, even.

Then they moved to high school and the gravy train stopped. Literally.

Pass the PB&J

I don’t know what happened, but all the love for school lunches was lost, and all of the sudden I have kids who prefer to pack.

One likes healthy lunches. This I can work with. I can happily pack salads with a tiny bottle of dressing. There is a side container of carrot sticks and another with pretzels and hazelnut spread for dipping. I pop in some grapes or diced fresh fruit and a bottle of juice or water and consider myself quite eligible for Mother of the Year. Thank you very much.

The other child would eat PB&J every day without fail forever. If I toss a cupcake in there and swear that the lettuce and assorted produce didn’t so much as off-gas anywhere near his food, he’s good.

Then my other child breezes through and asks for meat on white bread. Just meat. No condiments. No salad. No lettuce. Nothing more taxing than an apple or grapes. He admits that some days he trades them. I’m not sure for what.

So now I’m packing lunches.

Seeing green

The environmentalists got involved and now I can’t even throw a sandwich and a pudding pack in a tossable brown bag without going through stages of guilt. Will the use of a Baggie cause a polar bear a stroke?

Pressured to Do The Right Thing, I then decided to jump on the bandwagon and buy reusable lunch containers. I saw it on Pinterest, so you know it’s a thing.

I found the most cunning little lunchboxes that stack and interlock like toys. You can not only pack lunch, but make a fort while you eat, I guess. In case anyone from the next table over gets idea of invading?

I’m slowly coming around to believing that I might just do lunch. The adorable packaging is what swayed me.

That and ice packs. In my day we just risked food poison daily since I don’t recall anyone using an ice pack in the 1970s. I think I was an adult before I realized bologna was not normally served at the room temperature of a lunch bin from a sweaty gym and that the cheese on a ham sandwich should not have self-melted by noon.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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