Carbs once were common in school lunches

Carbs once were common in school lunches by Bob Karolevitz I read somewhere recently that mothers today pack school lunches for their kids with salsa, slices of cold pizza, Chinese stir-fry, cranberry chutney, yogurt-based raita (whatever that is), low-fat tortilla chips and lots of other gourmet stuff to get their fussy youngsters to eat.

They worry about food groups, calories, fiber content, fat-free items and everything else as they try to ensure a healthy diet for their grade school children.

And they wouldn�t think of having the same thing every day! They�ve got to be creative so their picky offspring won�t turn up their noses when they open their fancy lunch boxes � which also must be in-things so their peers won�t sneer.

Those gals make our mothers sound like they didn�t care about sound bodies. The truth be known, they were caught up in the economic realities of the Dirty Thirties; or they just didn�t have the dietetic facts to govern their thinking then.

We did all right, though, with our baloney sandwiches which we carried to school in paper sacks. (Now brown-bagging it is socially acceptable, even for adults.)

Lunch time became trading time for our generation. A cookie for an orange, a meat sandwich for a peanut butter one on store-bought bread. It got so bartering was more fun than eating.

And there was no thought of gastronomical correctness. Mothers packed the paper sacks and tin pails with what they had: a hunk of cheese, a hard-boiled egg, a wormy apple, etc. I think governmental hand-outs showed up in lots of lunch bags, too.

I asked Phyllis what she carried to the Meckling School in her dinner pail, and what she remembered was �that big slab of home-made bread!�

�We had lots of jelly sandwiches,� she recalled, �and by noon those thick slices were really soaked through.�

She would have flunked the Atkin�s Diet with all those carbohydrates, but nobody cared then.

Those were the days before hot lunches, Ziploc bags and diet fads. The idea about including containers of varied sauces so the kiddies could dip their veggies was about as foreign as Nintendo games.

Like all youngsters, we were hungry when we came home from school in those days. I can remember eating hot bread spread with lard � and I thought it was yummy.

I never got fat, though, as I could hardly wait to get outside to play. That�s how we burned off all those unwanted calories.

Yes, it�s just another example of how things have changed through the years. I�ve got to be careful so I don�t tout �the good old days� too much, however, in the face of current knowledge.

I suppose the mothers of today are caught up in a new set of frustrations unlike those of another generation. It�s all right if they pack their kids� lunches with all kinds of health foods, but they shouldn�t fault those of an earlier vintage.

After all, our mothers came along when newspapers were pushing cigarettes for the boys in service � and you know how that�s worked out.

One thing those soccer moms have going for them, though, is they don�t foist on their children a lard sandwich for an after-school snack.


� 2004 Robert F. Karolevitz

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