Friday, April 15, 2011

Lunch from hell

When I was about 25 I worked with this guy who lived, really unhappily, with his mother. The money he saved on rent he spent on a car loan for a nice, new Honda Accord. When he’d complain about his mom I would, in my extremely kind and compassionate way, lecture him on why he should own an older, crappier car and then he’d have money to move out. At the time, I was driving an 8-year old Subaru wagon that I had purchased used (and apparently I felt that it was also a pertinent detail that I could change my own oil – you know how those regular oil changes will bankrupt you in no time) and although I didn’t owe any money on my car, it was slowly disintegrating. Oh and lest I forget this tiny detail, I, too, lived with my mom. But I had a plan to move out. As soon as I paid for that new muffler, I was looking for an apartment, for sure. Well, for some reason, many years later, I thought about this and realized that it must have been super annoying how I was so critical and judgmental. His life was really none of my business, right? It was all I could do not to track him down, contact him completely out-of-the-blue and apologize for my behavior.

I vowed then to really try hard to withhold judgment about other people’s decisions because honestly, who am I to judge anyone about anything? It is with this in my mind that I preface this post by saying that I don’t think all consumers of the Oscar Mayer Lunchables™ are evil or bad people in any way. You have your reasons for buying them and that is none of my business. I just think that the Oscar Mayer Lunchables themselves are evil and here’s why:

For months my daughter has been begging me for Lunchables (for her sack lunch, as if that was not abundantly obvious by the clever product name). My answer has always been a resounding no, followed by a rant about excess packaging and how it is bad for the Earth and about processed food and how it is gross and unnatural and if she wants to make tiny ham & American cheese sandwiches on crackers for her lunch, I will simply buy her the ham and the cheese and the crackers and we can make our own lunchable.

Voila, behold the homemade lunchable. Lovely, don’t you think? Do you not admire the way the saran wrap separates the ham from the cheese so they don't take on each others' flavors while they await the lunch hour? Wouldn’t you love to eat this tasty little meal? The day I sent this off with my daughter, it returned home at the end of the day with one bite out of the ham and one or two crackers eaten. And it was lukewarm, and a little oily-looking, so I tossed it all out. While, of course, simultaneously ranting about wasting food and why this, too, is bad and how the ham is expensive and I’m not going to send it to school with her anymore if she’s not going to eat it. Crap… I’ve turned into my mother.

Last week at the grocery store, my poor child pitches one more time for the Lunchables, this time for the Extra Cheesy Pizza variety. In a weakened state, I conceded. Fine, I thought, get the Lunchable, generate excess trash, eat cold pizza sauce and cold grated cheese on a dry, doughy circle of “pizza crust.” Just eat something please (uh, not that my child is exactly suffering from malnourishment; she’s quite hearty in spite of her fussy lunch-eating habits). Well, yesterday, the Extra Cheesy Pizza Lunchable went off to school in her pink lunchbox and what do you suppose she ate? One dry, doughy circle with cold sauce and cheese and the rest was essentially tossed back into her lunchbox except without the convenient cellophane cover so that all the remaining sauce and cheese could jumble around and coat the entire inside of said lunchbox with a slick mix of chunky, cheesy faux marinara. Mmm, delish. In search of something fun to do, I scrubbed it all out. I loved it.

And this Sunday when we schlep back to the grocery store? No Lunchables. None. Not Extra Cheesy Pizza, not Cracker Stackers, not Nachos or Wrapz or any of it. I’m thinking of making my own version of the lunchable. In one section I’ll put potato chips; in another section, corn chips; in another section, cheese puffs; and in the last section, Reese’s peanut butter cups. That way, everything gets eaten, there’s no waste and I don’t have to clean anything up when she comes home. Brilliant! Oh Motherhood… you and I, we are so perfect together.

1 comment:

  1. This made my mom crack up. HeHe.