Daily Archives: November 13, 2008

School Lunch

As a young child growing up in Calgary and couple of miles from school, my mother would pack our lunches in those little metal lunch boxes. I somehow don’t remember spring and summer lunches and I think we would do that walk home: twenty minutes in each direction and twenty minutes for lunch. But winter was a different story. I remember being in grade 1 or 2 and late every day for a week because my little legs couldn’t slog through all the snow.

So we’d go with the little lunch boxes. I think there were butterflies on mine. The thermos always had hot chocolate made will milk. The sandwiches (often with Velveeta cheese–ick!) were wrapped in wax paper, not saran wrap. After all, they’d be eaten several hours after being made and saran wrap was more expensive. There was probably an apple or an orange. Calgary in the winter when I was a child, didn’t have a host of the exotic fruits and vegetables that we take for granted now. In fact, the vegetables were pretty limited. I can’t stand frozen vegetables to this day, cooked mushy and tasteless (thank god I never had to experience canned veggies).

By junior high (grades 7-9), we were big enough to walk home for lunch or take it to school. Obviously lunch was not a big part of my childhood memories. I don’t recall whether I brought it or went home. I suspect I did both. But by high school, we were too cool for lunch and going home. On sunny, warm days I did still go home. I wasn’t a rich kid and made my money babysitting, or later, working in the movie theater. But by grades 11 and 12, there was usually one or two people who had a car. Sometimes we went to McDonald’s (I never did eat the burgers.) or drive off for a bowl of won ton soup. There was a mall near the high school so we had a few places to pick from.

There was also the school cafeteria in high school and we sometimes ate there. And sometimes we brought our lunches. I remember Gordon Amsterdam with his chocolate spread and sprinkle sandwiches, or the ones that were nothing but lemon curd on white bread. I think there was one vending machine, or maybe I’m just hallucinating it. I don’t recall ever buying pop from it and that’s all it would have held. No sandwiches, no soups, no salads, or even chocolate bars. There was a store close by for many of those items.

These days, the schools have so many machines. I suspect that the wee tots still get to bring their lunches in whatever cool lunch box/bag is the style. For that matter I have one now with Kali on it. I would use it but I usually bring soups that are in containers bigger than the thin lunch box and don’t do well tipped on their sides. In fact, the Kali box would only be good for sandwiches and cut up apples as it’s not deep enough for most varieties of lunch.

I don’t tend to eat sandwiches very often and I still don’t drink pop (soda) very often. Lunch is in whatever opaque bag I have. Lulu Lemon is one trendy lunchbag. I don’t use it for the fad setting but it is a good size for lunches. I imagine there are a lot of kids today that buy their lunches in cafeterias. That was a luxury once, even if it was cafeteria food.


I suppose I’ve gone on about lunches because I’m making up my annual fall time soups. An easy way to bring something nourishing without having to waste precious sleeping time in the mornings.

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