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February 21, 2013

STAWAR: Lunch: You can take it with you

(Continued)

Except for field trips and a brief period when I owned a Roy Roger’s lunch box, I always ate in the school cafeteria. My lunch box eventually fell apart despite my father’s valiant attempt to repair its handle with electrical tape. 

When I reached high school, I took my lunch money and bought a Hires Root Beer and Butterfinger candy bar from the vending machine most days for lunch. To add a little color and variety to my diet, I would occasionally eat a Snickers Bar and a Nehi Orange soda for its vitamin C content.

My wife Diane told me that for end-of-the-year school picnics her lunch consisted of a bologna sandwich, chips, maybe a banana, and for dessert, the iconic Hostess Cupcake. Ironically, that is about the same menu that was served in most county jails for most of the 1960s and ’70s.

 It was pretty much the same thing I would always take on school field trips. The threatened demise of the Cupcake and Twinkie, since the Hostess Bakery went bankrupt, would leave a huge gap in the traditional brown-bag lunch if some other bakery doesn’t save the brand.

For some reason, my mother started making me ham salad sandwiches for my lunch for the annual school picnic (it was actually bologna salad, since it was never made with real ham). This picnic was always held at an amusement park and was the highlight of the whole school year. All of those positive associations with field trips and school picnics probably accounts for my garlic bologna addiction today. 

When I was in college, I stayed at a dorm that had a food plan. If you were going away for the day or had classes too far away to return for lunch, the dorm cafeteria prepared box lunches that you could take with you. 

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