School-lunch phobia

I wasn’t really a smart little girl when it came to a lot of things.

  • I was convinced my dad could turn me into a mermaid.
  • I believed that I could foil an attempted midnight kidnapping simply by staying still in my bed.
  • I even thought that I would become a real boy if I was stuck playing one during a game of house.

Maybe I was just a little gullible and a little paranoid. But, when it came to school lunches, I was actually pretty smart: I just outright refused to eat them.

While the other kids were getting dishes with plates loaded with mac ‘n’ cheese and mystery meat, I was content with my (crustless) peanut butter sandwich.

There were a few downsides to my “absolute homemade lunch policy,” such as sitting alone at the tables while my friends waited in line for their 12 inch Coney Dogs.

There were also upsides, such as when the entire school district received a bad batch of chicken patty sandwiches. I never appreciated peanut butter more than when my classmates were home with food poisoning.

By sticking to my guns, I made it through twelve years of public education without a school lunch.

Then came Germany. There went my options.

Without my own kitchen and with a little cabinet-raid shyness, it was virtually impossible for me to pack my own lunch.

At the ripe ol’ age of 19, I found myself standing in the lunch line.

What I found, though, was unlike any of the revolting dishes I remembered from childhood.

Instead, the jello cups were replaced with yogurt. The cookies with apples. And the sloppy joes with an amazing salad bar.

An edible school lunch? They do exist!

I’m still glad that I didn’t eat school lunches while growing up. Otherwise I don’t think I could ever hear the words “chicken patty” without feeling a little queasy.

But, I’m also glad that I overcame my fear of school lunch… even if it’s the last time I ever have the occasion to eat them.

Question: Were you a school-luncher or a packer?


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