Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday Memories: Food Glorious Food

Yes ... I am aware that it is actually Tuesday now. However - I had this running around in my head all of yesterday so I'm putting it down, in a strange effort to try and create a little bit of consistency and structure around my blog, as we do the downhill slide into the brilliant new year and more regular blogging ....

Food Glorious Food:

Late yesterday afternoon Dylan and I strolled on into the supermarket to grab a few things, as we're prone to do in these days when I haven't shopped properly for weeks! Dylan saw a packet of Bertie Beetles hanging up in the lolly isle (yes I'm brave enough to traverse it - because it's also the chocolate isle!) I couldn't help but agree to throw them into basket with the other 'essential' items that we were getting - it has been absolute years since I've had a Bertie Beetle. With the insectile chocolate and honeycomb chips melting divinely in my mouth as we pulled out of our carpark and made our way back to the main road I remembered eating Bertie Beetles at high school.

They even out shone my standard favourite of the Caramello Koala, once discovered them ... and Bertie has it all over Freddo as far as I'm concerned (even when Freddo's inners are strawberry). Then the flood of memories came back to me - as we turned onto the high way. All the school lunches I've loved and hated (as Bertie must have been part of my lunch box at some stage - that's where my memory seems to take me back to) the best and worst of them.

My Mum, bless her cotton socks, decided to go al gourmet with my lunches when I was in Grade 3. I only remember this like it was yesterday because gourmet for me - spelt absolute lunch time disaster.

It began with the Jarlsberg cheese on Rivitas. A particularly healthy and interesting lunch if you're into it - my Dad was, I wasn't! I spent a great deal of my lunch times creatively stuffing the said cheese covered biscuits into the rock retaining wall near where we played. Then she began on the French Onion dip sandwiches. To this day I will not touch French Onion dip - double so since our friend Steven crushed a bug at our New Years Pary 1984/85 and put it in the French Onion dip, then we watched on as revellers continued to dig their biscuits into it. But I digress - I'm not sure which parallel universe my Mum resided in, but it was obviosly one in which French Onion dip was not only a suitable and enjoyable but highly sought after lunch option, unlike the universe I was living in!

Last week my kinesiologist asked me what assertiveness meant to me. I understand it now, as I sit and write this. Standing up and letting somone know that what they are doing to you, really bothers you, rather than just eating it, (or not eating as is the case here.)

I never once complained to my Mum, or suggested that perhaps she simply change what she put in my sandwiches. I just suffered through it silently. I guess inside I held a deep seated belief that I was meant to be grateful for the effort that Mum had put into making me lunch, and I didn't want to defile that expectant gratitude. I never thought for a moment that it was more important for a young rapidly growing girl that she actually ATE! Instead I found new little rocky crevices to stuff my lunch into, the only thing I was grateful was that a sandwich was easily to stuff that crunky Rivita biscuits. Thinking back, I even got quite savvy in the disposal of my lunches - I always unwrapped the plastic wrap so it would degrade - or bugs with a more developed sense of gourmet could enjoy.

And it got worse!

Moving to the country - the lunch options changed as well. There were now Cheese topped rolls for lunch - the inners I have no idea, but I took exception to the Cheese topped roll which were yummy the first couple of weeks I had them, but I rapidly grew to hate them. There were no convenient places to wedge the rolls into at my new school and throwing an unopened lunch into the bin was inviting the wrath and investigation of well meaning teachers, so instead I horded them in a secret compartment of my school bag. That was (and I apologise for this) until they began to drip through my bag and I was found out by one of those well meaning teachers - who of course rang home and told my Mum.

You would think that it would have been somehow so much easier just to ask for a simple peanut butter sandwhich - but alas, I still didnt' want to upset Mum. I was forced to home to take them out of my bag, one at a time - around a months worth of lunches if I remember. But something good did finally come out of it, I finally - yes, asked for a peanut butter sandwich and that's what I ate every day until primary school ended.

At high school, the lunch gauntlet was finally thrown open to me. My first term of high school seems characterised by the smell of Johnson and Johnson Baby oil on the tanning legs of the older girls sitting in the quadrangle, or wearing a school uniform for the first time, having constant worries about losing my terms bus ticket and the constant stream of hot and wilted salad sandwiches. For the first term - I think my Mum lovingly made (somewhere in the craziness of getting ready for work and school) salad sandwiches for me because I certainly didn't have the energy nor iniative to make a salad sandwhich before rushing out for the bus.

There was something weird but almost satisfying about a warm salad sandwich where the cheese and the tomato have met in warm enviro of the lunch box and melded into a new sub species of food. Then there was the half warm Two Minute noodles,during the bitter Winter, in the thermos flask that never seemed to keep anything really hot and after a while was prone to leaking. And finally - in amongst all of this - my all time favourite school lunch materialised ... and you'll understand in a moment why the Bertie Beetle bought this back.

In Year 8 I began to enjoy chocolate sprinkle sandwiches - or aptly coined - chocolate ant sandwiches. Ahh ... it didn't matter if it was hot - the butter and sprinkles fused together to form a chocolate paste ganache type filling. In Winter they were crunchy. Nutrition value - almost zero, but it was on wholemeal bread which of course makes all the difference! At high school you could also get vanilla slices and frozen yoghurt. I remember standing in the tuck shop line hoping that there was still a vanilla slice left for me when I reached the front of the four pronged queue.

I'm still really bad at eating lunch - unless I'm going out for lunch (which face it, rarely happens) or I'm enjoying a shared lunch at a gathering of women, or at a friends place I dont eat lunch. Tut tut - I know.

Next year Dylan begins kindy and I am determined not to traumatise him with a lunch box that I think is fantastic. If he wants to keep it simple that will be great because it will be more important for him to enjoy and eat his lunch, than for me to invest my self esteem and self worth in what I believe is right for his lunch box. Let's just hope he doesn't traumatise me with his list of request - fresh foccacia and smoked salmon or sushi.

To Muse on:

What was your worst/best school lunch as a kid? What is in your kids lunch boxes? What as a grown up is your all time favourite lunch?


Anonymous said...

I remember joy at squiggling my vegemite through the holes of some sort of cracker in primary school and Sunny boy iceblocks that were sort of pyramid shaped. I can remember thinking the Edmonston twins were really exotic for eating avocado in primary school as Mum hadn't discovered them yet so I'd never seen them before.

In highschool a wholemeal salad roll and a summer roll was my lunch for 5 years. That's if I wasn't either distracted by doing something I shouldn't or being caught doing something I shouldn't.

Lately I've been making a salad with chunks of watermelon, feta, mint, tossed lettucey items, avocado,cucumber, chicken and some raspberry vinegarette and lots of cracked pepper.

Catherine said...

Sorry Jodi, I need to up my Ginseng...navigating blogger is too hard...I'm the masked as anon...but really it's me Catherine relaying past lunches