I have a huge backlog of days out to share — as always — and — as always — I’m so busy running to the next thing I don’t seem to have time to sit down and write about any of it. One thing I do have time for — every school night, every week, all year long — is packing school lunches. We opted out of the school’s hot lunch this year and so five nights a week I pack three lunches and four snacks. I turn on the mp3 player, line up the boxes, pull out the ingredients, and go to war. Work, I mean: go to work.
I start with this:
And end with variations on this:
It’s fun, kind of like being on Top Chef: My Kitchen, but without the celebrity guests or 30 minute shopping sprees at Whole Foods.
I didn’t have any real objection to the lunches provided at the school, but I didn’t have any real attachment to them, either. When the kids asked for packed lunches this term, I didn’t need much convincing. I was getting a bit worried about the stories of the too-long lines and the all-I-ate-was-a-roll lunches and there-was-no-time-to-eat-anything-but-pudding tales. I know I’m denying them a bit of cultural integration by packing their lunches. I mean, they can now successfully navigate beans on toast, sausage and mash, jacket potatoes as a main course, and calling absolutely everything served after the main a ‘pudding’ — all new things they brought home and shared with me, to our overall enrichment. (I say “overall”, because: Beans on toast? Meh.)
Anyway, for lunch inspiration I check out Happy Little Bento or Laptop Lunches. And then I cry, because I’m not that creative and I don’t have that much patience. But I try to stock up on a variety of portable of fresh ingredients and keep the cupboards full of dry goods that I find acceptably nutritious and easy to toss in to round out the lunches. It’s a work in progress. Every night, every week, a work in progress.
How about you? Do you pack lunches for school or work? How do you keep it interesting?