I think there is a job out there that is probably one of the most under appreciated jobs and that is of the lunch lady. I used to sit around with my friends wondering what the lunch ladies put in the meatloaf and coming up with grosser than gross ingredients such as toe nails, bugs, and other unmentionables. We made fun of their hair nets, support hose, and orthopedic shoes. So here is something hilarious. A little nugget of fun. Something to put a smile on your face. My mom was a lunch lady. Hey don’t laugh, only Rob and I can laugh at, I mean, with our mom. I was living in Germany at the time when I got this call from Ma stating that she had a new job.
“Tell me about it Ma,” I asked.
“Well my girlfriend Merrydale got me into the school system.” she said vaguely.
“Doing what?” I further inquired.
“I’ll be working in the cafeteria.” she whispered.
“Doing what?” I demanded almost knowing where this was going.
“Lunch Lady!” she blurted.
I fell off my chair laughing at my poor mother’s expense, I wanted to break out in song… “woke up in the morning, put on my new plastic gloves ….” Various scenes of Ma flashed through my mind. Visions of Ma’s don’t-touch-my-hair in a hair net, nothing or no one touches the Ro’s hair. Or Ma adding garlic to everything. Or Ma telling all the kids to eat their veggies because “its good for your poo’s”, Rob and I loved that one growing up. It took a while for me to compose myself before I could resume our conversation.
“Ma, please don’t be a lunch lady, everyone makes fun of lunch ladies,” I begged still trying not to laugh.
“It will be good for me,” she said.
What, being a lunch lady or being made fun of, I wondered?
Now it is my turn. I am a lunch lady. We do not have a hot lunch program at our school so it is my job and chore to pack the lunches every day, three for the kids and one for hubby. It is a chore on the grandest scale. What to pack? Variety? Healthy? Delicious? It wasn’t until about a year ago that I figured out that I could freeze sandwiches. This week’s Kitchn Cure assignment (click here to see BRK on AT’s Kitchn Cure) and big syrup spill in the pantry caused me to throw away two lunch boxes and gave me the umph I needed to rejuvenate my family’s lunches. I purchased three new lunch boxes-there is something about a new lunch box, isn’t there, and got to work on cleaning out the fridge and snack drawer, restocking the fresh fruits and veggies then on to solving a serious problem…
We have a nut allergy kid in our house, the rest of us are just nuts. It is the big mother load tree nut allergy. The epi-pen carrying allergy. Can’t eat anything that has been made on equipment shared with tree nuts allergy. We have already experienced one anaphylactic shock trauma and hope to never see that again. I love Trader Joe’s cookies as they do not contain artificial preservatives, but guess what? They are all made on equipment shared with tree nuts. So on to Plan B.
I dusted off my old “Make A Mix” cookbook and made our own brownie mix, cake mix, and pudding mixes. And I loved every minute. I was able to pick healthier, some organic, and better quality ingredients than what is found in most store bought mixes. This was not done to be more “Martha-ish” or “hey look at me I’m a better mom”, quite the contrary, I solved the can’t-buy-any-more-tree-nut-equipment-making-food-products-problem. Now if flour, milk, and eggs start touting tree nut equipment labels I’m in big trouble.
Note-If you do not have one of these calculators, then get one. The Kitchen Calc is one of my favorite kitchen tools. Perfect for figuring out how many cups is 53 teaspoons, cutting or doubling recipes, and just plain calculating.