Tuesday, June 2, 2009

against the grain

i wasn't raised on crustless sandwiches.

Quite the opposite, actually.

As a kid we never had such options. My dad was a culinary revolutionist, of sorts. He liked to dabble in unusual combinations of food. I once watched him BBQ Ritz crackers with peanut butter and jelly squishing out from the middle. I supposed he thought the hickory smoke of the BBQ would add to his elegant creation?

It was not uncommon for him to return home from work with all the fixins for homemade sushi rolls, or fried up frog's legs, or even rare breakfast cereals from the "grocery outlet" with Arabic writing on the box-front.

We were not given the option to deny these dishes.

Our typical school sack lunch would usually consist of:

* One PBJ on extra sourdough bread.  who eats pbj on sourdough?
* A plastic baggie filled with carrot salad. Oh...never heard of carrot salad, you say? It's shredded carrots mixed with mayonaise, sugar, raisins, coconut, sunflower seeds and pineapple. delish. Oh, and we did not get utensils to eat this salad. We were taught to rip the corner off the baggie and SQUEEZE it into our mouths, because "that's how the astronauts eat". Nice one, dad.
* A paper cup with two tablespoons of powdered TANG, covered with saran wrap on the top and sealed with a rubberband. We were supposed to go fill it up at the drinking fountain. Just imagine the mockery we endured from our other ruthless classmates as they sipped from their fancy capri suns and sugary juice boxes.

And again, unless we brought our own money to school, we were given no choice but to eat what was given to us. Or mooch off all our friends, which we did all too often.

My point is, I have not followed in these footsteps.

Instead, I want to give my kids all the things I've been dreaming of since my childhood.

soft, airy wonderbread
sugary cereals
creamy peanut butter
capri suns
fruit roll-ups
brand name snacks
pop tarts

and gosh darnit....CRUSTLESS sandwiches.

So sorry dad. You really built our character by force feeding us your creations and subjecting us to embarrassing situations, but maybe Jack could build character by learning to share his awesome lunch with some dorky kid sucking carrot salad from a baggie? 

just a thought...


Pugslvr said...

Tang...that's bringing back memories.

Jay and Gwen Sessions said...

The reason I BBQed the crackers was because they were stale and heating them up posponed the rancidity. Wow Jack doesn't know what he is missing, but crustless sandwiches sound good. I think this food thing is inherited. Grandpa Marc used to say that the crust made one's hair curley-his was and Jack's already is-so maybe he doesn't need the crust. You failed to mention my aweful waffles with everything and anything added to enhance them....chocolate, almonds-of course, raisens, etc. The popcorn kernels disappointed me since they did not pop. I am honored to be so well remembered-or so wanting to be forgotten.

HeatherM said...

You know I love your Dad he makes me laugh but you poor poor child. I thought my lunches were bad because I didn't get fruit snacks.

Haro FAM said...

Oh, my Ali! This post is hilarious! I think everyone remembers something their parents made them eat as a child. For me it was balogna casserole. (how the heck do you spell that!)
But I am with you, bring on the sugary cereal and snacks made with 1% fruit juice! YUMMY!

merideth said...

oh my goodness... so funny!! i can sort of relate. my mom used to make this tuna casserole thing on dry toast. yuck!
and i definitely remember wishing so bad for a caprisun and a kudos bar. i could have been so cool.

cara lou said...

Oh my gosh. I'm cracking up. Your dad sounds hilarious! I especially love "that's how the astronauts eat". You're whole post is killing me.

I had to eat the school lunch (cause it was free -- we were po')and I was SOOOO jealous of the kids who brought their lunch. The capri suns and fruit rolls ups seemed so glamorous.

Leanne said...

What a great entry... love it! Your dad cracks me up too! and btw that carrot salad sounds awful.

Lori said...

Your Dad is awesome. Love the tang cup!!!

Broadobalds said...

I remember sitting at the NuSkin consoles discussing our crazy school lunches growing up. I think that's when we forged our friendship. Out of mutual humiliation.

I love your dad.

Tracy said...

I love it! That's hilarious!

I was raised during the '70's and 80's when people thought that a weekly dose of liver for dinner was good for you. I can't imagine how anything that tastes that awful could be good for anyone.

The drink box that I was deprived of was "Super Socco". I was taught to just get a drink from the fountain at school if I was thirsty.

Marie said...

Maybe one day my kids will blog about their terrible mother who only bought whole wheat bread, made whole wheat pancakes and brought apples and carrots for snacks. Poor things.

melissa said...

I couldn't let this post go by without a comment. See, I remember a couple sleepovers at your house when we were kids. And the thing I remember most, even more than jumping from the tree onto the trampoline and then flying off the other side onto the rocks, was how you would set your alarm for early on Saturday morning so we could get up and start breakfast before your dad got to the kitchen. Otherwise, who knew what would be in those pancakes.

Oh, and the first time I slept over your dad brought home little packages of almonds with dehydrated anchovies in them and then he followed us around all weekend daring us to eat more. It was terrible.

I love your dad. Honest, I do. But I'm glad Jack gets more "traditional" cuisine in his formative years.

ali said...

ha ha. melissa - I love that you remember all that! Sleepovers were the WORST at the sessions house! All our friends wanted to leave before breakfast!

Kaylynn said...

Should I be embarrassed that I LOVE carrot salad! Maybe not from a baggie but that salad brings back memories. I'm gonna be laughing about food all day. Thanks.

Becky said...

My favorite was the oatmeal w/ endless amounts of unidentified objects in it. We (you, me, garret, and my brother matt) put it in the garbage disposal thinking that we were oh soooo clever. Along comes your mom..."You guys are ALREADY finished with ALL of your oatmeal?" Then, she sticks her hand in that garbage disposal and finds the truth. We were in luck b/c she still had more oatmeal concotion in the fridge left over from a day or two before. So we STILL had to choke it down. I guess that it why you and your brother always wanted to come to OUR house:) Well, come-on all we had was non-sugary cereals (Cheerios, Rice Crispies, etc.) but at least they were grains and milk w/ nothing fishy. Oh the memories......I am with Marie. I feed my kids WHEAT bread with the crusts, whole wheat this and that. Fruit snacks are only a treat that they get IF they nap. I know I am mean, but what is a mother of stubborn children to do??

Desta said...

I think I just threw up a little in my mouth...

Amy said...

I still remember you telling us those stories so many years ago. I think they did build character. Your dad was on to something.

annie said...

Love it, Ali! Too funny!