Wednesday, January 16, 2008



I'm finally starting to go through and check out a whole lot of blogs I found through NaBlo but haven't been able to read yet because of school and life. One such blog is Berlin's Whimsy, where Berlin posts about kids, crafting, moving and much else with some really lovely photos. Her posts are thoughtful, contemplative and I think they're thoroughly enjoyable to read. But it was a couple of recent posts about packing bento box style lunches for her kids (here and here) that brought back a lot of memories that I'd forgotten I had.

I give my mom a lot of credit for her lunchmaking. I never went without a lunch at school and overall most of the time she did a decent job of it. In fact, she continued waking up early in the mornings to make me lunches until I was 17. The only problem was that at 6am my mom isn't all that awake, and thus isn't all that creative, so when she wasn't inspired, which was most days, I tended to get the exact same thing.

For most of public school I had a thermos that automatically gave me the status of having the coolest lunch around. Sometimes I got leftovers, especially if we had had some sort of stir fry or pasta, but often it was canned soup. That wasn't so bad, most of the time.

But in those moments of creative burnout mom would resort to the same thing three to five days per week. She would go through phases, and they would only end when either Abby or I would tell her that we had eaten the same thing so many times it now made us nauseous.

There was a Chinese pork bun phase. There was also a frozen meat pie phase. She used to heat them in the toaster in the morning and wrap them in tin foil to keep them warm, which didn't really work all that well. Then when she found out that that didn't work, she started wrapping them in paper towel and then in foil, which only meant that we then had to pick cold, soggy paper towel off of our pies before we could eat them.

At one point in time it was Kraft Dinner. Do you know what hot KD does when you leave it four or five hours in a thermos? The noodles suck up all the sauce, condensation and moisture and expand to form a solid mass of spongey orange crap that fills up the entire volume of the thermos. The result is something you have to cut through with a knife, which on coming into contact with the moisture in your mouth continues to expand until it blocks your throat and you start to choke. I'm not exaggerating much.

By that time the thermos phase was nearly over. I had more than one, and I had a bad habit of forgetting the empty ones in my bag for long periods of time so that they would be extremely gross by the time we found them again. From then on it was sandwiches, which were mostly decent.

Thinking about this makes me think that she didn't do a particularly bad job at all. But thinking about it also makes me so incredibly excited about the thought of bento box lunches that I'm really tempted to get one for myself. I'm not entirely sure if this is purely impulse or not so I think maybe I'll give myself a week before I go do something drastic, even if a lot of people pack a lot of really cool stuff in them.