When I was in middle school, hot lunch cost $1.25. (Yeah, I’m that old.) My parents gave me my lunch money for a full month, and I had to ration it. The problem was that all the other options, of which there were many, were far tastier (read: greasier, cheesier, sugary-er, fattier) than the hot lunch.
I never once bought a hot lunch tray.
Remember these? My least favorite were what my school called “Weenie Critters”. Mini corn dogs. Blech!
Staples for me were combos (cheddar and cracker, not pretzel, and NEVER pizza flavor), soft pretzels, or sometimes a cookie. When money was running low, I’d get the burger, fries and milkshake which was….$1.25.
Seriously. I don’t want to think about what was in that burger, but I will tell you that the fries tasted like pure, unadulterated heaven dipped into the milkshake.
By the end of the month, I would be scrounging in couch cushions to get enough for a bag of combos for lunch.
These days, I always bring my lunch to work with me. The cafeteria at the college is surprisingly good, and they have an excellent salad bar, but they are open very limited hours, and I tend to be busy and/or teaching during those hours, so I don’t go very often.
Last weekend when I was in Minneapolis, I made my obligatory Trader Joes run for wine, coffee, chocolate, and other various sundries. Most things were pretty boring, but I did find some new gems.
As tends to happen at that place, right?
This stuff? Is. AWESOME. And I can make it at work so easily for a great afternoon snack.
I love the kimchi, and this is pretty much kimchi seasoning on seaweed. It’s kind of pricey for a snack, but I have plans to recreate this using my kimchi paste.
I also found TWO new kinds of chocolate bar, that if you are lucky enough to have a Trader Joes around you, get there NOW and buy both of these. Not just one. Get them both. You’ll regret it if you don’t.
First up is salt and pepper. Yes. In chocolate. I wouldn’t have thought to buy this if a) it wasn’t on sale for $1.50 and b) it wasn’t right at the register staring at me while I was paying for my food. I am the person that they put all that stuff at the registers for.
I am an impulse purchaser and proud.
This is gritty dark chocolate. The salt isn’t very noticeable, but the pepper packs a punch right at the end. I love it and wish I’d gotten more.
They are my new fancy chocolate, while the other one are my new favorite classic dark bar.
I like my chocolate DARK and bitter (insert joke about how I like my men here) and this one is both those things, plus smooth. And when I say smooth, think jazzy tunes playing the background of a dark basement lounge. S-M-O-O-T-H.
After all that shopping and all the traveling and all the….shopping online (hush, you) I’ve been doing, I need to reign in the old purse strings, and it just so happens that there is a new Dollar Tree in town. Although, really? Has anyone ever went into one of those places and left without spending at least $15 on….stuff?
Yeah, there goes my lunch money. Again.
I went there to get stencils, which they don’t have, and left with….stuff. Some stuff I needed anyway, but most of it was stuff that was staring at me, being all I’m only a DOLLAR, Katie. What’s your problem?
Lisa Frank coloring book for $1? Yes! Strawberry Shortcake coloring book? Absolutely!
Rainbow sprinkles? You better believe it! Because if there is anything that will cheer up a PMSing woman who is still fighting back a cold, it is rainbow sprinkles, y’all. Or wine.
Just to be on the safe side, I drank the wine with dinner and put sprinkles on my “ice cream”. I’d have had more wine (to be safe, remember), but for this stupid 8 am class I teach.
Today we’re submerging tiny water fleas in various concentrations of caffeine and alcohol to observe their heart rates. Maybe I should bring in some sprinkles for the water fleas, to go with their alcohol. (See that? Full circle story telling at its finest.)
Did you eat hot lunch in middle school? What’s your take on bring lunch to work with you now? Who remembers Paul Frank and Strawberry Shortcake?