Wednesday, September 7, 2011
“I don’t want to be hot lunch!”
I should be thrilled: My second-grader actually wants me to pack his lunch every day. Really? After all the whining last year about having to bring his lunch three days out of five?
Instead, I feel desperate. I have no idea what to send to school with him.
I should be full of ideas. That’s my job here—to have good ideas about feeding our kids. This blog boasts more than three dozen creative ideas for stuffing a lunch sack, and that's in addition to traditional sandwiches, meat-and-cheese skewers, and the usual fare.
But my kid isn’t eating much of anything these days. His list of acceptable foods has grown pitifully short. The only chicken he’ll eat is in nugget form (only fast food, not frozen and certainly not homemade). He balks at beef except in tacos, satay, and sometimes Trader Joe’s Bool Kogi. Beans, pork, and fish are out. So are vegetables except romaine lettuce. Cheese pizza is OK hot, but not packed cold. Pasta must be hot, plain, and only in certain shapes.
Peanut butter, Nutella, and fluff sandwiches are good, except when they aren’t. Quesadillas, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, pot stickers, eggs, yogurt that isn’t in a tube, cheese, nuts, and most fruits—fresh and dried—are all on the reject list.
I’m burned out. Fed up. Seriously annoyed.
It was a relief and surprise when he recently asked to make sourdough bread, using a starter recipe from a cooking class he took two years ago. He didn't need to ask me twice. That afternoon, we got our starter going. Five days later, we baked two huge, gorgeous loaves of bread. A few days after that, he sold homemade sourdough baguettes at a lemonade stand to benefit his school. An extra cup of starter yielded the tastiest, laziest waffles I've ever enjoyed in my kitchen.
His starter, nicknamed "Cutie," is now almost a month old. He's feeding it regularly and cheers to see it bubble and rise.
It's just white bread—plain, simple, bad carbs and all. But it's nourishing, in so many ways.
What do you do when you have the lunch box blues? If you have any ideas, please share in the comments!