I may be a chef, but every school year, I wig out organizing the lunchboxes of my culinary demanding children.
I grew up in Italy where school is only in the mornings, and every student comes back home around 1:30pm and sits down for his hearty and warm Italian lunch.
The only food we would eat in-between meals, was a snack during recess, which, in my case, consisted of a sandwich made with two slices of artisan bread and stracchino, or – even better – a few slices of prosciutto, homemade by my parents.
Of course, at the time I was jealous of the dull commercial snacks that many of my friends brought to school. Today, I would spend serious money for one of those homemade sandwiches my mother used to give me.
It was only for the rare daytrips that we packed a meal. On those occasions, you would commonly see omelet or fried chicken sandwiches. With this personal history, I face today’s lunchbox challenge.
I purchased a multitude of colored containers that inevitably disappear in just a couple of months and will need to be replaced. Every evening (or at sunrise!) I have to squeeze my creativity to come up with something to stuff into those containers.
To make things more difficult, my kids have inherited a certain reluctance towards cold sandwiches.
You might ask, “What about the school cafeteria?” Yes, of course, my kids are American, but deep inside they are also spoiled Italian boys. All they eat at the cafeteria is yogurt and fruit and then come home and spend two hours describing the ‘horrible’ alternatives.
So this year the boys are eating pizza on Monday; minestrone on Tuesday; pasta on Wednesday; meatballs with peas on Thursday; and broccoli and omelet on Friday.
When does school get out?