Monday, May 18, 2009

What's In Your Lunch Box?

Today's Wonder of the World is...the Lunch Box!

Flickr photo by migzhots
Hooray for the lunch box, with or without the matching thermos.
I had a few. Did you?
Mork and Mindy? The Bionic Woman? Fonzie or Peanuts?

My writing heroine, Anne Lamott, recognizes the profound meaning behind the lunch box. In her fabulous book on writing, Bird By Bird, she writes,
"Sometimes when a student calls and is mewling and puking about the hopelessness of trying to put words down on paper, I ask him or her to tell me about school lunches."
It seems that everybody has a school lunch story.
When she had to tell her own, she wrote,
"Here is the main thing I know about public school lunches: it only looked like a bunch of kids eating lunch. It was really about opening our insides in front of everyone. Just like writing is...The contents of your lunch said whether or not you and your family were Okay."

I remember lots of slightly soggy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, quite a few with tuna fish, and a few golden days when Mom let me bring Slim Jims. It's funny, but I'm having a hard time remembering the lunchboxes themselves.
I'm pretty sure I had a Holly Hobbie box at one time.

Flickr photo by Chicken Betty
Holly Hobbie always reminded me of the girls from Little House on the Prairie.
Of course the Ingalls girls didn't take lunchboxes to their one room schoolhouse. They used lunch pails instead.

Flickr photo by Denise J.
You know who else uses lunch pails?

Flickr photo by ericdavid44
The Dabbawallas!
Let's pause a moment and repeat that word over and over.
A dabbawalla is a person in Mumbai, India, whose job it is to pick up hot cooked lunches from the suburban homes of business people and deliver them to their offices downtown. They've been doing it since the 1880's.

I also find this lunchbox interesting.

Flickr photo by liquidarts
Liquidarts purchased it in a train station in Japan. Just pull the string, crack the lid open, and it warms itself up!

Bento boxes are amazingly cute. Have you heard of them?

Flickr photo by Keiki
They're segmented boxes filled with the most artfully prepared food I've ever seen. Seriously. Click here to be impressed!

I'd love to fly over to Japan and try one myself!

Flickr photo by wackystuff

Hey hey hey, get out of my way! All this lunch talk has made me hungry!

Flickr photo by LR Monkeytoes/Lisa
Before you go, please share. Tell me all about the lunchboxes of your past. What did you love to find inside? What did you trade for cheetos?
As Mushmouth would say, Hubave a wubonduber-fubul Mubondubay, y'uball!
Love, Becky


Susan said...

I love the Bento boxes. Too cute to eat. Thanks for such a fun post. Bologna sandwiches and Vegetable Beef soup were my favorite lunches to take in my Barbie lunch box. What a fun way to start our week, thanks.

jama said...

Yum! I mostly bought cafeteria lunches in my childhood, but I did have one lunchbox I remember -- it was red plaid -- no cute characters or anything (I feel deprived). I loved to find chicken noodle soup in the thermos, along with a tuna sandwich and an apple. Thanks for the cute video!

adrienne said...

That video made me smile - so adorable! My kids had bento boxes when they were little, but we never did anything creative with them.
The only lunch box I remember having was a red plaid one.

lotusgirl said...

Boohoo for me. I never had a lunchbox. Mine was always in a brown paper bag. I guess we were not very environmentally conscious. I love that school bus one at the top of your post though. The Japanese are very inventive with their lunch, aren't they? Cool!

a Tonggu Momma said...

I seriously had that same exact Holly Hobbie lunch box. And the Tongginator? Is most excited about having a lunch box for kindergarten next year and EATING AT SCHOOL. Who cares about the bus ride? LOL.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I had that Holly HObbie lunch box--and nothing beat a Twinkie inside of it!

Ellen said...

Oh my, what wonderful memories!!! I remember having a Casper The Friendly Ghost lunch box that I carried until it fell apart, to be replaced by a bright yellow one with the original Sabrina the Teenaged Witch on the front. My favorite thing to find in either was Hostess Sno Balls---the pink ones :)

Jojo said...

I want a Bento box!!! Sadly, my parents never bought us lunch boxes. Me and my four siblings were brown paper sack kids. The one thing I remember about the lunch box was when classmates would drop theirs, the thermos liner would shatter and you could hear the slushy sound of liquid and glass washing around in the thermos (oh I am dating myself with this info)!

As an adult I would like a Hello Kitty lunch box (I think Hello Kitty is the cutest). What about you?

writerjenn said...

About school lunch, mostly I remember that it was too short--something like 20 minutes. Barbaric! It got to the point where I would just wolf down a peanut-butter sandwich and a piece of fruit, and eat more when I got home from school and could relax.

Sherry said...

I never had a lunchbox as a child; we all ate meals prepared in the school cafeteria. But I've certainly packed a fair share of lunchboxes in my life.

TattingChic said...

Those are pretty cute! They bring back so many memories in the elementery lunchroom, LOL! I know I never had a Holly Hobby Lunchbox, but I'm pretty sure I wanted one! :)

Sue said...

Uh, yeah, my kids had bentos just like those when they went to Japanese kindergarten. OK, I confess, I think I made rice balls to look like soccer balls for my son once, but that's about it. They are fun to look at, though, aren't they?!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Very cool, people.
Jojo, to answer your question, I'd go back in time and buy a Wonder Woman lunchbox, of course!

ForCryingOutLoud said...

So funny that you should publish this today....yesterday I was debating whether or not I should get rid of a lunch box I'd bought on Ebay about five years ago. (Yellow one with three very MOD girls on it.) Exactly like the one I had, but missing the thermos. Maybe I'll just keep it to store other momentos.

(Mine generally contained sandwiches, (bologna or pb&j, and apple/banana/or box of raisens.)

Stacy Nyikos said...

I'm having lunchbox envy. Man, would I have loved to have one of those Bento boxes as a kid...or, you know, now. Now would work too!

LW said...

No lunch box here, I was a hot lunch kid....


Rebecca Ramsey said...

Louise, so was my husband. Apparently the lunches at his elementary school were so good that the whole town would join the line.

My kids usually eat the hot lunch at school, which I LOVE since I hate packing lunches.

Suzie said...

I think I had that Fat Albert lunch box I know I ahd a Scooby Doo one

Jon said...

I still have my Disney school bus lunchbox (with Thermos). I loved it as a kid, and still do!

May Vanderbilt said...

Man, Japanese kids have all the luck! They get to eat adorable Japanese food! best lunch story is this. My mom is not one of those touchy feely moms. But in elementary school, it was COOL to have your mom write you a note on your napkin and put it in your lunchbox.

My mom somehow didn't get that memo and I had to TELL her to do that. I even coached her on what to say or how to do it, like write the words in a spiral!

She was a good sport about it and I felt cool.

Moral of the story? Write your little kids notes on their napkins.

Kelly H-Y said...

I can't remember mine either!!! I remember the PB&Js, though .... and, bologna & cheese, unfortunately ... didn't like it when dad threw those in!

Rosemary said...

I still remember my Barbie lunch box. Wish I still had it.
Great post!
Chat soon,

MandyMaria said...

Wow! I just read that book over the weekend actually, and when I got to the part about school lunches, I took out my diary and wrote three pages on aluminum foil. I love the 1st lunch box picture you have there, but not so much the thermos. As a child I always feared that they held bacteria.

Silicon Valley Diva said...

I would have KILLED for that first (Disney) lunchbox! How cute:-)
I love the lunchboxes they used to make back then; the ones today are blah!

My mother used to make these cute little snacks, bologna or small hot dogs with cheese on toothpicks. And, often she'd throw in a cupcake.

Anne Lamott's suggestion, writing about your lunch as a child, always stick out in my mind also! I love that passage :-)

ParisBreakfasts said...

Oh Bento boxes...aren't they the very best thing ever!
Makes eating so much fun and full of surprises...
An adorable post :)

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I was such a picky little gourmet when I was a child. I never liked the smell of a lunchbox, so I requested my lunches be in a paper sack. Go figure. I could have gotten lots of cash from a vintage Monkee's lunchbox these days...if only.