It’s almost lunchtime here so I figured that would be a good inspiration for this week’s memory challenge. It will come as no surprise to anyone who has gone out to eat with me to learn that I am a picky eater. (I will not tell the green beans and roast beef story here since it has nothing to do with lunch.)
When I was a kid my mom would cut the crust off my sandwiches for me to take to school. There was a time when I would eat no bread at all so I would get bologna and cheese (those Kraft prepackaged sliced non-really cheese things) with mustard rolled up and held together with a toothpick. I think I remember some early kind of plastic container that she would put them in. Fruit? Nope. Never ate it as a kid and don’t eat much of it now. (Mostly it’s a texture thing.) I never ate peanut butter and jelly (again, it was the fruit and texture thing) but peanut butter and honey was a big hit. I loved the way the honey would soak into the bread during the day and by lunchtime the edges of the bread would be almost crunchy as a result. I took a lot of pickles to school, great big juicy dill pickles, like the kinds you would get in the big old barrels. Loved those. There was always dessert in a school lunch, Hostess cupcakes or Ding Dongs or HoHos. Sometimes cookies, Mother’s chocolate chips or chocolate covered graham crackers or those pink and white animal crackers. Oh, and sometimes an actual box of animals crackers but school lunch never gave me enough time to play with those.
If I was home and my grandfather was still alive, lunch might be a grilled Spam sandwich. Other lunch favorites was a grilled cheese, made with Velveeta cheese that melted so well. I used to love the way the cheese would spill out onto the grill and burn. I always ate the burnt cheese first. And of course my favorite lunch was much much maligned by everyone else in the world, peanut butter and sweet pickle sandwich. Mmm mmmm good. So good that it’s what Oliver eats in my picture book Oliver’s Must-do List. So good that it is still one of my comfort foods and my husband makes sure there is always a jar of sweet pickles in the refrigerator waiting for me should I feel the urge.
Your turn – what did you have for lunch as a child?
baloney with MAYO and not mustard. Didn’t learn to like mustard until I was a teenager. Sandwich spread sandwiches (do you remember that? Kind of like MiracleWhip with relish mixed in.) Egg salad but never egg and olive – my mother didn’t like it so she didn’t make it. Potted meat! with mayo. Desert might be a piece of cake, but most likely it was an apple. Maybe an orange or, in autumn, a bruised pear from the tree out back.
My peanut butter and sweet pickle sandwich always included a dab of mayo. Still does!
These days, I sometimes crave that potted meat. Terrible for me, but brings back memories, some good and some bad.
I never did get the hang of mayo. Even now I can’t stand it (which made my years living in New Orleans tough.)
I remember the brief Underwood Deviled Ham period, but beyond that, lunches were largely non-events. There was a mix of sandwiches and… uh… I honestly don’t remember. I also ate in the cafeteria a lot, once getting in trouble when I attempted to pay for milk (then 10 cents a pop) with the 10 cent check that Readers Digest used to send out to subscribers that said “pay to bearer.”
That didn’t go over well. I found a dime instead. 🙂
I never tried that deviled ham. Spam was the only canned meat product I remember.
Too too funny on the 10 check. I remember saving those up and trying to get my mom to give me a dollar.
Melted butter and sugar on bun
This is not a lunch recipe. My mom wouldn’t do that. But when I was at school in Bangkok, lunch was fixed anyway as we went outside the school to eat a kway teo (noodle soup) on street stands. However, the part I looked forward to was recess. Our cook made wonderful cakes and morning breads almost every day. I would trade them with a friend of mine for her bun with melted butter and sugar. I thought hers was delicious. She thought mine was delicious. For a very long time we traded recess snacks and told nobody about it at home. Sneaky.
Re: Melted butter and sugar on bun
Oh that sounds good. I used to love to see the trades go on for different foods but I never had anyone to trade with me.
Bologna (or is it baloney?) on soft white bread with yellow mustard on one slice and butter (actually margarine) on the other. I don’t remember anything else in my blue and silver lunch box, but I’m sure my Mom packed all the usual accompaniments. She was a conscientious provider. The real question: Did I eat them?
Re: Lunch memories
Hahaha…did you throw your lunch away or trade it? I’ve been trying to remember lunch boxes too. I’m pretty sure that I had a new one each year based on the various tv shows but the only one I remember had the Monkees on it.
Fridays were always special lunch days. I’d get either a tunafish sandwich or cream cheese and jelly–my favorites.
I loved cheese sandwiches with tomatoes, but they made the bread mushy, so Mom would put the tomato slices in a separate baggie.
I brought a lunchbox to school for only two years: Kindergarten and 1st grade. It was very uncool to be seen with a lunchbox in 2nd grade, so I made my Mom buy brown bags. She used to draw pictures on them. Or write jokes. I do the same for my daughter now.
Dessert was always Twinkies or Devil Dogs or Ring Dings or Ding Dongs or a Coffee Cake Jr. I loved coffee cakes with butter. Everyone thought that was strange.
On dull days of bologna, I would do “halvsies” with my best friend. Her mother cut sandwiches on the diagonal, which I thought was the coolest thing since sliced bread.
Re: School lunch
I remember the sandwiches on a diagonal. I wanted those too! I even had one friend who got her sandwich cut into four triangles which I thought was lovely.
I always ate school lunch, but at home, my dad used to make peanut butter, Miracle Whip and lettuce sandwiches.
I never got to buy school lunch and used to think they looked pretty cool.
I specifically remember warm fruit punch in a thermos, mixed with a plain turkey sandwich. Later on, money got tight, and lunch was a cold grilled cheese sandwich or broiled bagel, usually with carrot sticks or something.
Oh the thermos. How could I forget the thermos? Mine usually had chocolate milk.
I carried my lunch in a brown paper bag. I hated it because it seemed as if everyone else was able to buy their lunches. But they were jealous of me because I always had a large slice of chocolate cake. Sometimes we would swap!
In addition to the cake there was real food – mostly baloney sandwiches and peanut butter crackers. Or maybe liverwurst sandwiches. I had to pack my own lunch because Mom had 8 children. We were each responsible for our own.
Oh that chocolate cake sounds yummy!
I have never had and hope to never have liverwurst. Just the sound of it grosses me out. 🙂
My mom used to pack the best lunches! She did pack sandwiches and fruit and stuff like that, but she would also pack soup in a thermos and fried chicken and things like that as well. They were yummy! When I was in high school, she would also include a little note on the napkin she had folded up and stuck in my rectangle Tupperware lunchbox…THAT was embarassing because my table mates noticed!
Mom worked, so we stayed with my grandparents when school was out for the summer. My grandma would make us Spam sandwiches as well. Also, she would heat up Campbell’s soup or some type of canned chile. My sister used to dip her peanut butter sandwiches in the chile when we had it!
I also used to eat potted meat sandwiches with my Grandpa or sometimes fried chicken livers…until I became old enough to read the potted meat cans and old enough to understand what a liver was, and that meat came from animals. Somehow those two treats never tasted the same after that!
Re: Lunch memories…
Yeah funny how many foods are never quite the same after we read the labels.
I can remember having a cream cheese and strawberry jelly sandwich everyday with a thermos of milk…and a banana! And everyday the same kids would ask me if my bread had ice cream in it, just to get me to answer, so they could make fun of me. I’d just smile and say the same thing everyday, “I have a cream cheese and jelly sandwich, so leave me alone,” it never worked. And none of the teachers did anything about it, because I was a natural-born tattle-taler and I’d used up all my “get out of jail free” cards a long time ago.
I loved that lunch. I thought it was the best lunch on the planet. I never got tired of them.
That’s a great memory! And a scene in a story perhaps? 🙂
really?!! you think it would make a good story? i never considered it. hmmm… I could call it the “Lunch Box Blues” or “Bullies On Toast”? What do you think?!!! Ooooooo and another story board is started!!!
I think the soft ooziness of a lunchtime memory is the surprise of “what did mom/dad/grandma/the nanny pack for me?” and I didn’t have that because I packed my own lunch for as long as I can remember (not another Draconian Chinese mother ritual but my own interest in cooking manifesting itself at an early age).
I lived vicariously through my best friend’s lunch: brown paper sack with her name neatly written on it along with some kind of cute doodle, a half sandwich (always wheat but what’s in the middle – PBJ? ham? turkey?), veggie sticks (carrots or celery – oh the suspense), and a very small individually wrapped treat of some kind (usually peeled grapes or orange segments or something of that ilk). Everything was tidily packed and meticulously wrapped. She always shared her carrot sticks with me, and I would trade her an Oreo cookie, on account of her mom didn’t buy junk food.
Okay I think that is too too cute that you wanted to pack your own lunch at such a young age. It might have been your interest in cooking. It might have also been your need to control things just a little. 🙂
Not only did I pack my own lunch, but I packed my brother’s lunch and made breakfast for my dad too!