Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hoping Our Moms Either Don't Read or Can Laugh at Themselves

While making Amabel's lunch last night, I wondered out loud why my mother never made similar lunches for me. We usually had some sort of sandwich made from pre-packaged meat and a bag of chips and a Little Debbie oatmeal cream pie, fudge round, or (Rachael's favorite which I didn't care for much at all) a star crunch, the overly chewy caramel rice krispies cookie. Besides that it almost never changed until I just quit eating lunch altogether in junior high school, it was also horribly unhealthy and I never even knew until college that there was sandwich meat at the grocery besides the pre-packaged variety. Mr. Turkey indeed! Every now and then she would make a frozen pizza in the morning, which she added grated Velveeta cheese to, and cut us a big slice for our lunch. As the Ladies Man would say, "Um, that is disgusting," but at the time it was one of my favorites. That or a little thermos cup of leftover spaghetti or a piece of cold fried chicken. Now I can get behind the leftovers; cold fried chicken, while still unhealthy enough, is the best!

I think my mom did what she did to be economical. Even with inflation taken into consideration, I would guess that my grocery bill near doubles what my mother's would have been with the same size family, twenty five years ago. But part of this is because she bought cheap things like chips and a 79 cent box of cookies for our lunches to the exclusion of fresh fruit and vegetables and meat without fillers or preservatives. And our other meals stack up against hers about the same way. That and that we tend to buy a little fancier beer or wine than she ever did. She still buys the cheapest whiskey and wine there is; but I shouldn't make fun because she also splurges on the cutest kids' clothes around (including *sigh* this year's Easter dresses, no comments please!) for my children's benefit! In regard to grocery shopping and meal preparation, some of you are on her page and some of you are more on my page, and I guess either thing has its merits. I just can't justify the lack of nutritional value in foods by their price tag. To me it just doesn't taste good anyway. George actually threw his lunch away every day, K-12, because his mom never packed what he requested because she said it was too expensive. But every day her inexpensive lunch was wasted. She could've saved a whole lot by just not making one at all eh? Who could blame him though? Bologna and ketchup?! That's too bad! So lucky for Amabel, we're pretty sensitive about quality school lunches around here. So far she has been taking carrots and celery sticks, fresh strawberries or an apple, a sandwich (which I love to cut into a heart of butterfly shape with giant cookie cutters), and cheese slices with crackers or pretzels for her snack. But even that will get old. So what did y'all take for lunch? What do you pack for your own kids? Anyone have anything show up worse than bologna and ketchup (in her defense, she likes it!)?

23 comments:

katie said...

Gross! She never packed bologna and ketchup for me and she only made us lunch until we got to the 6th grade (if that). George isn't telling you the whole truth! We worked for our lunches 7th - 12th in the school cafeteria. He doesn't know what he's talking about!
It was just the other day that I was telling someone that you make the best sandwiches! That sounds so funny becasue sandwiches really aren't that hard to make but you use all the real stuff! No american cheese or packaged meat. It really makes a difference. Now I just need you to start cutting them in cute shapes for me. :)

Matt Churnock said...

I was going to call George out about his lunches, but his sister beat me to it...

Hey Katie!

I think the real question is what is Amabel trading her 'gourmet' lunches for? I wonder what a Twinkie goes for these days...

Elizabeth said...

I am very budget oriented, but yet I can't imagine eating any of the things you listed on the bad list, and we eat all GOOD food(not saying there's no snacky things in there too :)...all the things you listed in Amabel's lunch. I have never bought my children juice, but water is a pain to pack, so on school days, I do the capri sun thing for Caroline...things I rotate in and out include pbj sandwhiches, turkey(of course, not prepackaged!), roast beef sandwhiches, mustard,ham, and cheese sandwhiches, frozen gogurt tubes, apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, etc., banana chips, crackers and cheese, goldfish, pretzels, sun chips, granola bars, breakfast bars, pop-corn, graham crackers, animal crackers,carrots and ranch dip, and lately, I've had a request for noodles w/butter and parmesan cheese(even though they're cold by the time she eats them). The good thing about her only going three days a week is that it doesn't get too old. On tuesday and thursdays, I usually do some type of "hot" meal....leftovers, grilled cheese, quesadillas, soup, etc.

I'm all about cutting corners where I can on price, but there are some things you just can't skimp on brandwise...oj, maple syrup, worcerstershire sauce, to name a few.

dblyoo said...

i'm all about the cut out sandwiches - our little man LOVES his cream cheese and jam sandwiches on whole wheat cut into all sorts of shapes (star, heart, triangles, squares, etc.). the clementines are arranged like a sun and then there's the organic yogurt that we dip our organic apple slices in. yum!
yes, we've given in to the organic craze. i want my boys to grow up healthier than i did... almond butter is incredibly good for you and is great to dip celery or apples in. have you tried robert's american gourmet's veggie booty? delicious!
-wp

dblyoo said...

i just remembered that i gave amabel some veggie booty when you guys lived here...i think she liked it! :)

katie said...

Hi Matt!

george edema said...

Abby was confused. I didn't say my mom made me gross lunches every day all the way through high school. But a significant portion if not all of almost every lunch she made me went straight into the garbage. Sometimes I would try to force myself to eat some of it because I felt guilty for trashing it, but most of the time I just chunked it. She tried to put tasty things in there sometimes, but I couldn't stand most of the Little Debbie snack cakes or most juice boxes. And to be fair there was usually some fruit or vegetable, but often times they were the mushy apples, or bitter grapes. And yes, bologna and ketchup was a regular main course. Ketchup does a good job of making the bread pretty soggy after several hours in the ol' lunch box. I don't know if I ever said anything to her about it. I was probably to scared to because I would have had to admit that I'd been tossing it all. There is probably a good sermon illustration in there somewhere.

dblyoo, will you e-mail me your husband's cell phone number? I have been wanting to call him since you family expanded but I don't have his digits. My email is abothebearatyahoodotcom.

Fittsy said...

How about ants on a log?

R

george edema said...

Or $#!+ on a shingle?

Courtney said...

Holy crap! Those are some fancy lunches you all make! My oldest hasn't started school yet, so, I have all of this to look forward to. My friend Jennifer (you remember J. Peabody, right?) and I were just saying that we threw out the apple in our lunch EVERY day and ate the dessert and maybe a couple bites of sandwich.
But, Abby, remember when you and Evie would fight over Matt's honey mustard on chicken finger day in high school? Ah, the memories...

jennifer said...

Abby,
I want to hear what you send in lunches when you're packing at least 3 every day. I do capri sun almost every day. If we're out, they buy milk at school. PB&J, chips, some sort of packaged sweet, maybe apple sauce or yogurt tube with an ice pack. The whole object is to have dressed kids down stairs, lunches packed, breakfast being eaten (frozen waffles, sometimes with sausage links, occasionally eggs or oatmeal), out the door, in the van, at at school before the evil tardy slip can appear! They like what they get, though. So it is not all bad. They also get to buy lunch once a week. A big challenge is the non-peanut lunch for Charis on pre-school days.

Elizabeth said...

Ha! Jennifer, you make me laugh :) Yes, I try to keep a variety in my house, but even with one, I must admit that lunch is an afterthought...something I shove in the lunch box five minutes before we have to be out the door!

katie said...

What I want to know is where are the teachers when all of the lunch chunking goes down? What kind of teacher lets their students throw away their entire lunch or just eat the desserts and trash the expensive, nutritious fruit??? I NEVER let my students do that(in my short reign). That kind of stuff makes me mad.

george edema said...

I don't think the fruit was expensive, that was part of the problem.

sara said...

Abby,
I share your memories of disgusting and boring school lunches. One piece of gross prepackaged turkey in between two slices of dry white bread every freaking day of my life. When I was in private schools, I would occassionally get to buy on pizza day, and sometimes I was lucky enough to bring cold pizza from home. That was the jack pot!! Occassionally there was even left over homemade fried chicken at our house as well. That was great!

I think part of the problem was that once I hit older elementary school, I had to make my own lunch. I hated that job, so I never got very creative. I am still that way today. I don't like making luches, so I often skip. But I do try to pack fun and healthy things for the kids.
Another plus is that CPA has tasty (though not necessaruly healthy) lunches, so I often bribe Macie to buy if I am feeling particularly lazy or busy.

sara said...

Courtney,
I threw out an apple a day as well. Now I rarely pack a whole apple for my kids unless they request it. I usually slice and peel--I think that helps(??).

abby said...

courtney and sara, y'all crack me up. i think i used to eat the papa john's pizza we were selling to raise money for senior trip without actually paying for it. i was such a horrible mooch! but yes, the biggest mooching triumph was anything of matt's. i liked it when he brought his lunch even better because he always had the cookies that Honey made. i need to get those recipes!

my mom always bought the bag of apples as opposed to picking apples individually, again because of costs, and i am convinced this is where apple growers put the yuckos. they are exponentially better when you buy them individually. but amabel can't finish a whole one because they are so big. i wanted to do the cut and peel thing too, but how do you keep them from browning- lemon juice?

jennifer, do you mean because i won't have time of because it will be even more expensive? i make amabel's lunch the night before. we have enough trouble being late (see many of the previous 203 posts) that i know i better not be whipping out the cookie cutters and drawing picture messages on napkins in the morning. that also rules out any kind of hot breakfast or really anything that requires work. we are english (or sometimes other- blueberry, banana, pumpkin etc) muffin/yogurt/fruit people when it comes to breakfast.

elizabeth, thanks for all the ideas. you and your quesadillas. it is funny to me that you think those are easy. to me, that is a huge pain in the butt! but a delicious one! oh, and i am interested in what everyone refuses to give up their name brands for. maybe that will be my next post!

courtney said...

I am also sensing that lunches we make for our kids are yet another battlefield of competition for parents. Is this true? If so, just add it to the list! I can't compete in that arena. But, I will have to copy the cookie cutter sandwich - that's fantastic. We're all so much more paranoid than our parents. We're so worried as a parenting culture about encouraging/causing childhood obesity that we take this all pretty seriously. Which, all things considered, is not such a bad thing. The fact that I think my mom had stock in Little Debbie is mind boggling to me. AHHHH!

abby said...

i hate the competitive thing in parenting and just everywhere. i think people perceive competitiveness in me that was never meant to be implied. sometimes there is definitely pride there- you know like i am proud of serving healthy foods to my child- but i'm not trying to compete with anyone and really couldn't anyway because i have no way of knowing what anyone else is sending with their child. except, i guess, by this post. but i can see how anything can turn into a competition. and i definitely think i must approach subjects some way that implies that because i have had this competition thing happen before and felt like the other people were really attacking me, only to find that they thought I started it! maybe that doesn't make any sense. anyway, i don't mean to be competitive. i mostly meant to be funny about what my mom made and draw the contrast there. tomorrow amabel has a butterfly shaped grilled cheese (will that be any good by lunchtime?), craisins, carrots, and two oatmeal cookies from a batch i made today. oh, and she always takes a juice box, but almost never drinks it.

dblyoo said...

your kids are eating quite well, sweet abby. keep up the great work! :)
-wp

Anonymous said...

I always liked "uncle John's taco day" and the apple turnovers we had for dessert! Jennie

courtney said...

No! Not that you're competitive! I mean that there's such a stigma about what healthy foods we're supposed to put into lunches. I am constantly hearing about those. I was just saying that there seems to be some ambiguous standard out there that is just dying to be met. Does that make sense? I certainly didn't mean to imply that you are setting it! Quite the contrary, actually - I think that you're doing an awesome job in spite of it or for the right reasons. I read your blog for your creativeness and your honesty.
Ditto on taco day. Especially the crispitos.......

Abby said...

thanks courtney. sorry i misunderstood you. like i said, i think people think i am being competitive when i don't mean to be so i guess i just jumped there with your comment.

you know that the other thing i meant to say was that in k-12 in 7 different schools (Gosh that's a lot of schools!) I don't think I ever ordered a cafeteria lunch! I KNOW I didn't at Christ Pres. except for Papa John's. that doesn't mean i didn't enjoy ordered lunches though. if the logans only knew that they fed me all through highschool!

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