Packed lunches: regularly getting it wrong since September 2008

11 Jul

As I started on the marathon session of packed lunch making tonight (you wouldn’t think lunches for two children, plus me, was a marathon, but bear with me here please), I realised in a flash of insight that drove me away from the worktop and to my laptop (see what I’ve done there – it’s seamless, this stuff), that in terms of lunch-making, the above statement will be etched on my gravestone.  Of course, for my grave truly to represent the lunch challenges with which I am faced daily, I would need to be buried in something just slightly lower than my height when lying down.  Why?  Well that will become clear very shortly.

Where my children and their lunches are concerned, a change is definitely not as good as a rest.  A change is a calculated attempt to poison them.  L1 will eat most things in life but not, it appears, if you put them in sandwiches and send them to school with her.  And depending on the brand of crisp purchased that week, only certain flavours are acceptable.  It would of course be useful for me to know what flavours these were in advance, so I could avoid the tears at the end of the day (L1: “but they weren’t salt and vinegar, that’s the only flavour I like”. Me: “but you loved the beef flavour last week”.  L1: “But M” – she has started calling me M, don’t get me started – “that was the Monster Munch”.)  She has a way of explaining her point of views on lunch to me in such a world-weary tone that it exhausts me just listening to a couple of words of it, the disappointment in my lack of psychic powers is so palpable.  I think I will start a crisp flavour spreadsheet, since when things are spreadsheeted I tend to find they are infinitely more palatable.  Unlike tomorrow’s crisps, no doubt.

But the biggest problem with L1’s lunches are not the content but the container.  The ridiculous handle-less near two-dimensional box means that my daughter can only eat flat food.  Yes, that’s flat food, not fat food.  I have been known to create a small puncture wound in a bag of crisps in order to deflate them to fit in the lunchbox.  Viscounts are the best treats; Clubs are too long to fit in the small top container and if you have a (flat) sandwich in the bottom container there isn’t space for them there, they’re edged out by the yoghurt tube.  The only fruit that really works in there is the pineapple, sliced small and, yes, flat, or a minutely-carved apple.  Tomatoes are right out – certainly whole; and cucumbers work but, let’s face it, in any quantity the cucumber is bloody boring.

And L2.  Yes, you can probably imagine, L2’s lunch requirements take finickity to a whole new level.  He will only eat cheese and olive wraps.  I have reached this conclusion after a dark, dark two and a half terms where I have tried him on ham (too slimy), pasta salad (“there’s sweetcorn”. I remove sweetcorn. “There was sweetcorn in the last one”), salami (“I like it when it isn’t in bread but I don’t like it when it is in bread”), cheese with a bit of lettuce (“what’s that… green?”), the list goes on.  There have been days when the boy has subsisted on a quarter of wrap (no filling) and half a Club.  It’s no surprise that if he stands sideways you can’t necessarily spot him.

And finally, despite the presence of multiple bins on the school premises, neither of them ever throw their rubbish and leftovers away.  Each day is a magical mystery tour into the lunchbox / bag to remove half-chewed items and scrape away sludge from round the side under the seams where remaining traces of yoghurt tube have merged with melted cucumber to create a new lifeform.  There is nothing quite as sweetly foetid as the scent of a term-old lunchbox.



4 Responses to “Packed lunches: regularly getting it wrong since September 2008”

  1. Michele McGovern July 11, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

    I feel for you! I’ve been packing lunches since 1998, currently doing it for 5 kids. As a family, we eat quite healthy. But I’ll be honest, I nearly give up the “well-rounded meal” plan for lunches and often end up packing ANYthing that I can be relatively sure won’t end up in the trash.

    • lizrossmartyn July 12, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

      Yes me too! If it’s going to get eaten I tend not to worry too much about its nutritional content!!

  2. samroutledge July 11, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    We get exactly the same thing with the rubbish in the lunch box. At least it means Iris doesn’t throw away our spoons! Rice pudding pots are the worst as that gets plastered all over the inside. She seems to exist off a rotation of cheese wraps and marmite sandwiches…

    • lizrossmartyn July 12, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

      Isn’t it ridiculous! And I LOVE food as well! I’m sure their palates will develop as they get older… won’t they…

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