Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lunch Influential

lunchbox1-300x270 My kids have been eating lunch at school since they were 2 years and some change. Their nursery schools all have the option of staying for lunch on an as needed basis. Thank god. I don’t know how my mother coped. We even had half-day Kindergarten. Here it’s full day. The one annoying aspect is there is no “school lunch” program until after Kindergarten so I’ve been packing lunches. Chip is a lean, mean playing machine who usually brings home his lunch mostly uneaten. Lulu actually seems to eat her lunch AND take note of what those around here are consuming. Last year, Lulu started asking for a thermos one day at a store. I figured it was because it had Hello Kitty on it, but she started saying it was for “meatballs”. Random? My mother was there and said it was probably because some kid at school had meatballs in a thermos. My mother is very smart. I would still be wondering where the heck the meatballs idea came from.

Next came a request for a “fruit bar that you peel like string cheese”. A fruit roll-up? I asked wondering if that weird peel off the paper thing from MY childhood still even existed. Lulu shook her head. She explained Juliette has it in her lunch everyday. So, I asked the teachers who actually sit with the kids at lunch and they had no idea. They agreed to stalk Juliette’s lunch. I put a call into Juliette’s mother. Juliette’s mother is one of those moms who never checks her voicemail or e-mail. So unless I caught her in the parking lot, that was going to be a long wait. Then, at drop off, Lulu’s teacher waves a wrapper at me triumphantly, the evidence from Juliette’s lunch. Victory.

Then yesterday, Lulu relates a story of another girl in her class who “had an egg that looks like an egg, but you can eat it.” Lordy, say what? As luck would have it, Surfer Guy was in on the conversation and deduced it was a “hard boiled egg”. Lulu then queried, “How do you eat it with the shell?” Poor kid, clearly her food horizons are narrow. NOT! She has tried lobster, mussels, clams, sushi, Thai, Indian, Swedish…I could go on. I just haven’t given her a hard boiled egg. Who eats hard boiled eggs? Not. Me. I’m not a huge fan of eggs actually. I don’t NOT eat them, but I don’t boil eggs. Why would I? To make egg salad? Deviled eggs? No, because I don’t make those things. I don’t make much actually, but that’s for another post. So, tonight, Lulu asks for a “hard egg”. I asked her if she would eat it….Was she sure she would eat it? Oh, and Chip wanted in as well. They both assured me they would eat them. I thought about it for a millisecond and realized I didn’t know how to do it. This vaguely sounded like a “can’t even boil water” type joke. It’s boiling water and putting eggs in. But, for how long? How do you know they are done? Is there an easier way of doing it? Peeling?

So I looked it up. The first page of my search turned up a food blogger who absolutely has too much interest in hard boiled eggs. She has a fabulous 17 step process for making the most perfect hard boiled eggs. The preamble includes the tip that eggs that are 5 days old are the best for boiling. Are you kidding me? I don’t even know when I bought these eggs…Definitely last year…Sometime. Focusing on the actual directions: I was unable to follow around the point where she said to “sacrifice an egg” to see how it’s cooked. I was planning on making TWO eggs. She is telling us to essentially have an indicator egg in the “batch.” Because she “batch cooks” eggs. Of course. Don’t you? She doesn’t say what to do if that egg isn’t done. What"? You are screwed? Or…You sacrifice another egg. How do you therefore know how many eggs to have in the batch to sacrifice. Insane. I started to have science fiction type flashbacks to hard boiled eggs I’ve seen for purchase. I’m nearly convinced I’ve seen them for sale in the refrigerator at Fresh & Easy. But, maybe that’s my brain using a coping mechanism. Telling me that I CAN buy the finished product. I glance further down the page and see where she makes a reference to “forgetting to check” so she skips a step that she lists. Skips a step that she puts in as a step? My body does a convulsive shudder. I wonder if the kids will forget. Further down the page, it gets better. The comments. The fawning comments about how great her recipe is. How much each person loves hard boiled eggs. It’s like a happy walk down memory lane of egg eating by anonymous people. Sea salt seems to be a recurring theme. Sea salt is the ingredient “foodies” throw out there to let you know you are not QUITE as good as they are. I laugh out loud at the bitter commenter who wants instructions on boiling eggs at high altitudes. My reverie is jolted to reality by a repeated request for “eggs”.

Fine. I head to the kitchen whip out a pot and put water in it. Place on stove and put on “high”. I walk away. A while later Surfer Guy comes home and says the pot on the stove is boiling. Oh, forgot that. I grab 3 eggs because that’s all I have. I drop the first egg in and it cracks a little. Oh, that’s right, they are fragile. I put more wrist behind the next two and a boiling they go. The one thing I retained from the “food blogger” was 12 minutes. But 12 minutes from the beginning of putting the pot on, not 12 minutes from boiling. And these are wicked small eggs. Screw it, 12 minutes it is. I manage to keep an eye on the clock (a timer would be too easy). Done. I grab a bowl with cold water and put the eggs in. The kids have circled, wide eyed. I ask Surfer Guy if he knows how to peel the eggs? “Just peel them?” he offers. So I crack one gently on the counter and try to pick the bits off the egg. Chip wants the first one. I get through the second one. The kids sit down with their eggs. They bite in. Chip wants the yolk out. Really? So I grab a baby spoon and gouge the stuff out. Then Lulu wants the same. Then they try some more and announce they don’t like them. I slap their dishes on the ground and yell for Bjorn, my black Pomeranian. Bjorn, who is only influenced by the instinct to eat to survive.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Social Media: I’m quoted

I’m quoted in this piece by Collective Bias about Influencers using social media and apps.



Twin Day

MC900235379 Tomorrow is “Twin Day” at Chip’s school. This is part of a week with a theme of “friendship, community and being nice to each other”. I think. It’s all fine by me. The kids are supposed to wear something with the color yellow everyday. Yellow isn’t a huge color for Chip but luckily he has a Swedish soccer shirt his Swedish grandmother sent him (Sweden’s colors are blue and yellow, in case you were going to google that). So Chip has been wearing that shirt all week. Tomorrow presents a new challenge: Twin Day. The gist is that you and a friend or group of friends are supposed to dress alike. Here’s the rub, Chip is in Kindergarten, he is 5 years old. He is illiterate, has never called a friend and all “plans” for his life are pretty much handled by ME. Not that his world will come crashing down if he isn’t “twinned”, but, you want to help the guy participate, right? Also, what if he gets to school and realizes all the kids are twinned and he isn’t? Ultimately, I will have let him down. There is much character building and personal growth that comes from harsh disappointment and I’m all in favor of building character. But, this is such “low hanging fruit” I’m thinking, so why not go for the save? So I started asking Chip yesterday if he had a plan for someone to twin with. He said, “I don’t know.” So I suggested a good buddy of his named Jack. “Ok,” says Chip. So I know Jack’s mother. I think I started off texting her about something else school related and she thought I was talking about Twin Day…Clearly it was weighing on her mind. So I jumped on the Twinning plans with her. She e-mails a simple idea of jeans and some shirt. But, I had to defend with the fact that Chip wears shorts…Everyday. Yes, since the first day of school, shorts everyday. Which is fine because we live in LA and we’ve had a mild Winter. At about this point in the day, I think I went to the dentist and was confined in a chair unable to text, e-mail or call even though I had my droid on my lap.

When I picked Chip up from school he mentioned that he thought Jack was being twins with a kid named Tom, but they were just going to wear the same shoes. Oy, the plot thickens.  A few hours go by during which I’ve been on a skid with everything else I have going on that is ultimately more important than Twin Day. I’m driving off to meet some friends for dinner when I remember Twin Day. I quickly calculate that by the time I’m done with dinner it might be too late to connect with Jack’s mom. So I call her. Jack’s mom has a real job so I’m sure Twin Day has been at the fore of her concerns the past few hours as well. We are both driving and both “handsfree” so, effectively, we can’t really hear each other. I round back to the shorts idea. She thinks it’s too cold. I don’t disagree, but toss back a pithy, “I’m from Boston” which is the passive aggressive way of saying, “I know cold….And this isn’t cold.” She laughs politely. I decide to go for the kill: “How about they both wear their school t-shirt and whatever on the bottom, because who cares and that’s good enough.” Jack’s mom is all for it, she just has to make sure she can FIND his shirt when he gets home. We agree to communicate by 2200 hours. I get home from a dinner that included way too many nachos and seek out the shirt. As fate would have it, Chip wore it today after school, even though he never wears that shirt. He continued to wear it during dinner at which meal his father served him fettuccini with Marinara sauce. You figure it out. I debate running a load of laundry when I make a game day decision to text Jack’s mother: “about to toss shirt into wash. What is the sitch on your side? And whose idea is Twin Day in the first place?” Bing! Response: “Found it! We are good to go!” Me: “Ok, roger that.” Then…I felt a surge of empathy for the as yet faceless kids who will come into school tomorrow un-Twinned and texted a rhetorical: “I feel for the kids who don’t have a parent who speaks English or is illiterate or a flounder.”

Or, ultimately, does it even matter to anyone but me? (And possibly Jack’s mother?)