Friday, October 12, 2007

On the Job Training: Motherhood - When Bad Lunches Happen to Good People

Now that my daughter is in school, she has the option to buy lunch or bring it from home. We read the menu the night before and decide what to do. For lunch, I've done the deli slices on bread or tortillas, chicken quesedellas, and chicken nugget sandwiches.

It's only October and she's telling me she's bored. I started looking online for options and found a colorful sandwich slideshow on and article on Chef Todd English, who preps his son's roast chicken with basil and parsley lunch the night before. (Well, yeah, if I had 17 restaurants, I'm sure I'd have a few tricks up my sleeve.)

So, I was inspired after checking these sites. I had brown sugar-flavored cream cheese, which could go with grated carrots from a salad mix. I lightly toasted a tortilla and spread the cheese. I thought the combo tasted pretty good. A bit sweet, but still healthy.

She asked me what was for lunch and I told her, "Brown sugar cream cheese rolled up with carrots." She agreed to it. (Yeah! 1 point right there!)

In the evening, I asked her if she liked her lunch.

"No, I didn't like it. What was in it?" Apparently, there was some lettuce leaves stuck to the grated carrots and the green threw her off.

I panicked. Was she hungry all day because I didn't test-drive this sandwich first? (Bad Mom Moment ahead!)

"No, I ate some of it. But, don't ever give that to me again." she requested nicely.

"Ok, fine. I won't do it. I was trying to be creative." I replied.

"No, don't do this creative again. All I want is a bagel and cream cheese from the cold food line at school." she said determinedly.

Done. Of course, she only repeated this for another 5 minutes how she doesn't like it, don't give it EVER EVER again, etc.

I don't want her to end up eating hot dogs, bagels, nuggets and pizzas from school. So, I'm open to (nut free!) lunch ideas suitable for a picky eater -- easy to pick up, unwrap and eat.


ZenDenizen said...

The carrots would've freaked me out more than the lettuce :)

Anonymous said...

They were shredded carrots! When you rolled it up, it looked like a veggie wrap.

Anonymous said...

You can always make a pasta salad or a couscous dish (with tunafish,or veggies) and then put it in a plastic container in a lunch box with an icepack.
I do that for my lunch....of course I'm way older!!!!

Anonymous said...

how about puri & masala ?
how about lemon rice ?
how about mac/cheese (duh :) ?
how about dosas/crepes ?
how about idlis/rice cakes ?

Anonymous said...

I have some recipes that I can share with you. But I would suggest you keep her food similar to her friends. (Mom was creative with me and once sent me with puri and acchaar. yeah, not a good idea)

mermaid said...

My daughter is only 2, but I can so relate. I go out of my way to find an interesting toy, or new website with fun activities or a new book, and all she does is ignore it for something else.

It doesn't sound like your daughter ignored what you made, but just didn't like it. Sometimes it becomes a personal thing, doesn't it? Why doesn't she like my creativity?

The fact that you went through so much trouble to be creative is proof that you love her, listen to her, and then even take her comment or rejection kindly.

Good for you. That's 2 points!

Anonymous said...

Taamommy -- yeah, great idea! But, who's gonna make the dhosa and idlis??? I want some too ;-)

BTW, I think it's important for schoolage children to eat what their peers are eating. Let the kids eat desi food at home and american style food at school.

Mermaid- thanks for your kind compliments.

I think as mothers, we don't take anything "personally" - we forgive our kids so easily. However, that is not always good because we've all seen kids who take advantage of their mothers for years!