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What I Learned in School… Lunch

My child is in kindergarten. For the previous five or so years, ever since all that laborious breastfeeding, and ever since making our son’s organic baby food from scratch, I’ve been revving up to pack him a healthy, well-balanced lunch for each and every day of elementary school. Let’s just say… that’s now how it has played out. Here’s what I’ve learned about school lunch:

  1. School lunch is one trillion times more delicious than anything I could ever possibly craft at home and send in his new, spiffy lunch box. Scratch that: It’s one trillion plus infinity better than anything I can craft at home.
  2. The cheeseburgers are amaaaaaaaaazing: yeah, that’s nine ‘A’s. The bun is “really squishy,” the cheese is “really melty,” and… the meat? Very “roasty.”
  3. The tacos are also highly recommended. They have A LOT of oil, in fact, and I quote, “a WHOLE river of oil.” And this is not a bad thing. Far from it.
  4. Sometimes, colorful options such as carrots, cherry tomatoes, and peach slices are offered. These are never, ever chosen. “No way.” And also: “Absolutely not.” Not to mention: “You’ve got to be kidding me!”
  5. Occasionally, they serve pancakes, which just might render that day the “best day of my life.” The truly fascinating thing is that on Pancake Day, they also serve “round meat” (a.k.a. sausage patties)! As in: “It’s the same shape as what’s in a cheeseburger.”
  6. They also apparently serve a rare edible item called “turkey sandwiches.” Reader, have you heard of these creations? I have been informed that they contain something called turkey and also something called bread. In fact, these include the exact same ingredients as the sandwiches by the same name that I sent in his lunch box for the first three weeks of school, the ones that came back home at 3:30p almost perfectly intact, albeit warmer and a little less fresh, with a maximum of one bite mark out of them. Hmm.
  7. The pizza on Fridays? [Shoulder shrug.] “So-so.” In other words, not as good as Dee Maria’s, the place near our house.
  8. If mom doesn’t see what’s getting eaten, she doesn’t know what is getting eaten. By the same logic, if she doesn’t see it getting thrown out, she doesn’t know what food is getting wasted. This significantly decreases her aggravation, her blood pressure… and her rate of face-palming. This might lead her to eventually and reluctantly conclude the following: It’s really nice to not pack lunch.

Jocelyn Jane Cox is a  freelance writer and author. Her 2012 humor book on life in the New York suburbs, The Homeowner’s Guide to Greatness: How to handle natural disasters, design dilemmas and various infestations, is available on Follow her on Twitter at @JocelynJaneCox.

Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

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