Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I don’t judge: everyone is entitled to raise, and feed, their children, as they see fit. But I think that, given my food sensibilities (which are well documented here), it will come as no surprise that I quailed at the thought of spending my food dollars on this particular item. Having said that, I firmly believe that forbidding things only makes them more desirable, and that Miss B would not be harmed if she tried one of these once, or even if she consumed them on a semi-regular basis. So I promised to select a few on my next trip to the supermarket and bring them home for her consideration, and duly did so.
This accommodation on my part did not mean, however, that I was prepared to meekly incorporate this development into the school lunch routine without some home-cooking pushback. The same day that I went grocery shopping, I also made sure to swing by Target—for the random variety of things engendered by any trip to Target, but particularly to search for a kid-sized Thermos. (I may not have mentioned before that Miss B’s favorite lunch is leftovers—particularly any involving pasta or noodles.) I found a nice one, so was able to bring it home alongside the storebought box lunches, and show all of them to her together after school. She was pretty excited.
I suggested that she take one of the box lunches first.
When she brought it home with most of the lunch meat and cheese uneaten, I reminded her regretfully of the house rule about how we don’t waste food, and that no afternoon snack would be forthcoming until the box lunch was finished. Which it was...eventually and unenthusiastically.
Then for the next several days I sent her to school with a hot homemade lunch: leftover macaroni and cheese; leftover Thai noodles; mini pizzas. Her lunch bag came back empty every day. A week later, she caught a glimpse of the unopened box lunch when I opened the fridge to get something else out.
“Mum,” she said, “I don’t want any more of those box lunches. Can you get rid of that?”
As I've said, I don’t like wasting food. But I think I’ll make an exception in this case.
Streamlined mini pizzas
Even half-asleep, I can usually assemble these in less than 10 minutes, and then bake them for another 10 while packing the rest of lunch, signing forms, supervising brushing teeth, etc. Pack them with a piece of fruit or some carrots and you’ve got a nutritious lunch.
1 flour tortilla or pita bread
4 heaping tsp tomato paste
4 heaping tsp shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
Using a round cookie cutter or drinking glass as a template, cut 4 circles out of tortilla or pita and place each one on a baking tray. Spread each circle with 1 tsp of the tomato paste, leaving a thin border around the edge, then sprinkle cheese over.
Bake mini pizzas for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Wrap tightly in tin foil and pack into lunchbox (or insulated lunch container, if available).
Feeds 1 hungry kindergartener.