Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bagel Box

When my son entered first grade, one of the first things he wanted to do was buy his lunch. Buying every day was not an option. However, my husband lobbied on his behalf, citing all of the ways that he is different from other kids, and in his closing arguments, went for the jugular and appealed to my desire to fit in with the other kids. Rats! I was outwitted.

Grumbling, I conceded that round to my husband and we agreed to let him buy his lunch at school once a week. Once a week, he is average, running with the pack, in the middle of the bell curve, a drone in a sea of second graders in a cafeteria. This bothers me. It goes against my very nature, my aspirations of re-engineering school lunch with healthy, economical, and environmentally friendly lunches. It blatantly relegates my desire for innovation and efficiency in midday meals, my obsession with packing things into small containers to a passing fancy. But, sigh, this is a battle not worth fighting. I would rather lose this battle and win the war. Daddy 1, Mommy 0.

A few weeks ago, he came home from school and excitedly described the Bagel Bag he had chosen for his lunch. I asked what was in it and he said it had a plain bagel, an apple, and the best part, "...a little silver container of cream cheese, you know, just like the kind they have at the store, Philadelphia. And guess what? You spread it on your bagel!" Hmmm.... I bet no one's ever thought of that before. Mind you, we live just outside of New York City, a city well-known for its superior bagels and likely the birthplace of the schmear of cream cheese . Apparently packaging matters a lot to my son, the consumer, because he usually turns his nose up at cream cheese. Anyway, rather than go into a dissertation about how he has had bagels and cream cheese before, I let him have his moment.

Last week he mentioned that he might want a bagel bag for his one day of school lunch. It's a pretty good choice, but then I gave him an option. If I made him a version of a bagel bag, he would still have his school lunch for later in the week. Why waste the free pass on something just as easily packed from home? He agreed, so this is what I made:

1/2 plain bagel (he's not a big eater and has never eaten a whole bagel), some grapes and strawberries in the silicone cupcake holder, two vanilla sandwich cookies, some wheat thins, and some cream cheese. I couldn't replicate the round silver tub, so a small square container is what he got. On the side I gave him some apple juice in a reusable juice box.

Review: He loved it. He ate most of the bagel, a few crackers, 1 cookie, some of the crackers, and most of the fruit. Waste: zero!

Chalk one up for Mommy with the winning bagel box. Mommy 1, Daddy 1, not that we're keeping score or anything.

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