Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Still. Too. Fancy.

I have a basic rule about clothing: if you're going to cry if it gets wrecked, it's too expensive. There are a couple of exceptions (like my favorite dress when I was a girl, which my mom made, and saved, and which became one of Curly's favorite dresses). But mostly? If you're going to cry if it's ruined, it's not the best idea.

I have learned, through trial and head-exploding error, that a relatively similar rule applies to school lunches. If I am going to want to throttle the same child that I am trying to nourish because he didn't eat the fancy lunch I made: too fancy. Example in question? Vietnamese-style chicken salad.

It's actually a deeply simple salad. Shred some chicken and cabbage, chop up some cilantro. Throw in a handful of bean sprouts and dress the whole thing with a dressing made with lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and rice vinegar (and fresh minced chilis, if you like spicy, which I do. My kids? Not so much). Toss it all together and you've got a bowlful of awesome. I gave my boy a taste before packing it into his lunch, and his eyes widened as he said, "That is goooooood." And then, well, I've already mentioned that it's possible I nearly throttled him when I learned that he spent his lunch chattering with his buddies instead of eating his damn lunch.

So as easy-peasy as the salad is, I cannot recommend making it before you've had morning coffee, in case you find yourself blearily shredding chicken in the kitchen, trying to get everything together before anyone has to hustle out to catch a bus. The memory of getting lunch ready while every fiber in your body screams for caffeine might add to feelings of resentfulness if the kid then doesn't eat the lunch.

So, again, the take-away: if a lunch is involved enough to make you want to throttle the kids if they don't eat it, the lunch is too involved.

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