The whole sixth grade is going on a field trip tomorrow. It involves 346 kids, 40 adults, and both me and Heidi. Because she has been mostly 8th grade in the past, the two of us don't usually take the same field trips. And, since I'm in charge of packing lunches, it was only natural that she asked me what we were having.
"I usually bring a ham sandwich," I told my vegan wife. "It packs well and tastes good as I stand there supervising a hundred children or so."
She frowned. I shrugged.
"I was planning on sending you with a roasted cauliflower wrap, though," I disclosed a little later than I could I have.
"Yum!" she said.
"And, we're going to stop at the grocery store on the way home," I continued.
"What for?" she asked.
"It's a field trip," I answered, "we have to have special snacks!"
When I was a kid, my mom packed our lunches full of delicious homemade food, but we did not always appreciate it. Instead of blond brownies, oatmeal cookies, and milk, I was looking for Tasty Kakes and soda pop. The one exception to our nutritious lunch rule was on field trip days. Then, we were allowed to pick a store-bought treat and a can of soda to take along with us. (The soda went in the freezer the night before where it became both beverage and ice block to keep everything else fresh and cool.) I always chose a cherry pie and cream soda, but I have to confess that they were never as good as I thought they would be, and it was kind of a relief to go back to my regular lunch the following day.
Even so, I carry the idea to this day that field trip lunches should be special, and so I always bring a sandwich, some fruit, a bag of store-bought cookies, and a big bag of chips. The last two are to share, both with kids who don't have any treats and some of those who do, because it brings people closer to actually share a meal.
I explained my philosophy to Heidi as we shopped, and she picked up a couple of bags of Milanos and some Fritos to go with my Biscoffs and Cape Cod waffle chips. When we got home I started to put those items aside, but she grabbed the Fritos and opened them up. "Hey!" I scolded her. "You can't have those! They're for the field trip!"
"Who says?" she answered crunching on her snack. "We have a whole bag!"