Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chew, Swallow, Rinse, Repeat

One-a-Day Redux
Day Twenty-Seven:  Lunch

When I used this one-a-day list of prompts as a photo challenge in January, I posted a picture of my typical lunch. It hasn't changed since then. In fact, it hasn't changed much in nearly three years. I have a lifelong pattern of eating the same thing for lunch every day. It isn't an obsession--I don't get upset about eating something different (sometimes I'm delighted to)--but more of a comfortable routine. As much as I enjoy food, I don't like having to think about it too much.

Fortunately, I don't get bored easily, but the day will come when I decide I'm done with the cheese-and-crackers menu, and I'll switch to something else. Then I'll eat whatever that is for months on end.

I think this all goes back to my childhood, when I was an extremely picky eater. At the beginning of first grade I was sent to school with lunch money and tried the hot meal prepared by the cafeteria ladies. I gagged on it the first day, refused to try it the second day, and from then on carried a brown-bag lunch packed by my grandmother. She did try to introduce some variety into my diet, but gave up eventually and settled for packing only things she knew I'd eat.

One year it was baloney sandwiches (on white bread with mustard and dill pickle slices), Fritos, and a thermos of Kool-Aid (because I hated milk). Another year it was potted ham sandwiches (on white bread with mayonnaise), Fritos, and Kool-Aid. There were usually a few cookies in those brown bags, too. I never knew for sure what kind of cookies I'd get, so there was a little menu variety after all. Mammaw knew I'd never met a cookie I didn't like (except for the Fig Newtons that were my grandfather's favorite).

In junior high I thought it was uncool to show up with a brown bag from home, so I started buying lunch at school again. I skipped the hot-food line in the cafeteria and spent my lunch money on a vanilla ice cream cup and a bag of salted peanuts, which I stirred into the ice cream. Every day I ate that peanutty ice cream, and every night I washed my face and wondered why it was breaking out.

Most of my high school lunches were eaten off-campus. A few of us would pool our resources to come up with 25 cents to buy a gallon of gas for whoever had a car, then that person would drive us to the Dairy Queen, where I always had a chili dog and a root beer.

In the first paragraph of this post, I stated that I don't like thinking about food too much. Now, after several paragraphs of writing about it, I'm so hungry I can hardly stand it. That's exactly why I don't like to think about it too much. It's getting close to lunchtime,  so I'll stop writing and eat now. I know exactly what I'm having.

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