What Did You Bring For Lunch as a Kid, And How Are We Still Alive?
That I have to competently feed myself three times a day every day for probably the rest of my life is something I will never get over. You have to think of what to eat every day! Just make new things up! It is wild.
Over Thanksgiving we were talking about holidays meals of yore, and my mom admitted that she had just that day made mashed potatoes from scratch for the first time in her life. And that, “of course!” all of the mashed potatoes we ate as kids were the powdered kind from a box. And yes, definitely Stove Top stuffing, which was not limited to Thanksgiving. I don’t know if my was a class thing, or an ’80s thing, or a feminist thing — probably a combination of all three — but it kind of makes me giddy, and soothes my post-Smitten Kitchen perfectionist Brooklyn brain to think about my mom and her powdered mashed potatoes, refusing to give a shit because she hated that she had to cook for everyone every day and apple sauce totally counted as a side, dammit.
Then later in the conversation my mom got all misty-eyed reminding me that my dad packed my lunch for me every day when I was little, and that every day I ate the same thing: Cup of Noodles out of my plastic Disney thermos. You know, the kind with the dehydrated vegetables that you just add water to, and that have 1480mg of Sodium?
But that was until middle school, when I was charged with packing my lunch myself. So every single day for maybe three years this is what I ate:
A package of Fig Newtons
A container of strawberry apple sauce
A chocolate milk
I thought of all this today because I just made a box of macaroni and cheese for the first time in maybe 10 years, because we made macaroni and cheese from scratch the other day and it was not the same at all. I’m sad to report, though, that Annie’s Organic White Shells and Cheddar (500mg of Sodium per serving) is also not the same at all.
And yes I am still jealous of the rich kids who had Lunchables.