Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Recently an aroma triggered the site of the lunch room in the old Washington Grade School. It was in the basement. The odor was of wax paper and old milk. Bleck. I can see that dingy room with desks as tables in a not so straight row. Years later, we would have our lockers in that room and it still smelled the same. Perhaps it wasn't the lunch room at all, rather, just a basement.

I thought about the lunch box and how the sandwich was wrapped in wax paper with the fold at the bottom in the bottom of the lunch box. Insulated bottles may have started the year but one forlorn day, many of us would hear the clinking of the glass liner in our not so cold milk.

I didn't thinking packing a sandwich in the bottom was efficient. Why not wrap it in such a way that it could be placed on the top above the apple which, when on top of the sandwich squished the bread?

And how long had wax paper been around anyway? Did Grandma's grandma use it? Perhaps. It is said that Thomas Edison invented it but then, doesn't he get credit for everything anyway?

I suspect that Grandma's grandma did use it. Most likely over and over. Lunch pails were tin then and just the idea of the lid sealed in the moisture. Now, I imagine if one opened that pail it was a full aroma of yeast on a warm day.

Is it wise to reuse any sort of food wrapping? I am thinking about a family down the street when the children were young. Sack lunch. Reuses the sack and the food bags over and over. With all the information out there on food born illnesses, it is simply amazing these kids never got sick. Maybe our bags were too clean.

Making lunches day after day is a pain. We had a plan. Pack a week's worth of lunches at a time and freeze them. Just grab your sack out of the freezer in the morning add fruit and go. Doesn't that sound like a great plan? Have the kids help! Meat and cheese on the sandwich, chips, and a cookie; bag it up. Except one of the children grabbed a bag AFTER school as well as FOR school.

When Grandpa was working he most certainly would have brought lunch. What I remember was quart jars with coffee. OR nectar. Root beer nectar. How odd for us, who have provisions to heat coffee or make it in less than five minutes OR to put it in a insulated container and keep it warm for hours to know people actually drank air temperature coffee.

Yet I do know someone who drinks air temperature soda. After all, if one is fishing on a hot day, that open soda is not going to stay cold very long. So there is a point. After all, the purpose is to hydrate. Well, then, water, perhaps.

I tried the room temperature soda for one summer and went back to a small cooler with an ice pack. My soda at home is in the fridge. I dare say I haven't bought much ice. A guest once asked if he could have ice and a glass. There was no ice. I since learned that many out there still use ice and buy a small bag for company. The last over night guests never used it. Most likely it is still in the big freezer in the basement.

What about an ice maker, you say? Well, the old fridge had one. Fargo's water does not make good clear ice cubes. I spent more time cleaning out the tray and lines than using it so the new fridge is simply a box with no frills.

So how do we wrap a sandwich? We have basket lunch on the way to the lake each week. A room temperature soda, a cold soda, and a container of milk go to the side. Fruit goes on the bottom followed by a cookie. The sandwiches are in zipper bags. One is marked, "T" because "T" likes more mayonnaise. MORE? Slathered is more like it. All of this is covered with a railroad hank, which goes on Tom's knee. We do not reuse bags for food.

It does not smell like wax paper
It does not smell like old milk
And the truck does not smell like Washington Grade School lunchroom.


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