Tag Archives: lunch

That’s What She Said

25 May

Maybe it’s because I grew up with brothers, or maybe it’s because I’m from the generation that gave us Beevis & Butthead (Beavis and Butt-Head | Full Episodes, Photos, Episode Synopsis and Recaps | MTV), but I’m beginning to realize that there’s something wonderful about middle school boys.

Relax. Before you set your Tivo to record my tearful confession of undying love for some 14-year-old (complete with stylish orange jumpsuit and assurances that our love was mutual), that’s not what I mean.

I mean I think they’re funny.

Every Thursday I head to the middle school for a few hours over lunch, to supervise Game Room. It’s a place where kids can come if they want to hang out and play games, away from the chaos of the general lunch crowd. 

The rules are simple. No cursing (you’d be amazed at the discrepancies in what constitutes a swear word), no bullying or running anyone down, if you burp you have to say excuse me (which never fails to elicit an eye roll), and because we’re in a very small room attached to the library they have to keep the volume low (definitely the hardest to enforce). 

There are a few girls that drop in once in awhile, but generally it’s just the boys. The bell rings and they burst though the door in a storm of t-shirts and backpacks, already negotiating for each other’s food.

“Dude, can I have your milk?

“Shut up, you still owe me from last week.”

Come on! I’ll pay you double.”

“Huh, huh. Your mom pays me double.”

Do you know how hard it is not to laugh at shit like that?

They crowd around the tables and devour their lunches, crumbs flying, while they play YuGiOh, which by the way, is very serious business. They wage fierce battles with things like Monster Reborn and Zombie Madness, with Needle Worm and Final Flame. 

It’s like miniature poker night with cheezy poofs and lunchables instead of cigars and booze.

It’s a complete crack up. Life (at least for two hours at lunch) consists of sports and boogers. Who knew things could be so simple? Life with girls is not like this.  

Girls, for example, do not obsessively follow every sentence with the timeless classic, “That’s what she said.” 

Which is kind of a shame, because it’s super funny. And that’s why, much to my daughter’s disgust, I have adopted it as my own, kind of as my new favorite thing. 

It’s perfect. Whenever I’m having a pleasant (and tediously boring) conversation with someone, that one simple phrase is always there to spice things up, like Tabasco for talking.

“So, how was your trip to Atlanta?”

“Nice, except we had a rough landing in Houston.”

“How hard was it?”

Huh, huh. That’s what she said.

It’s like there’s a 12-year-old boy inside me that can’t wait to sneak out and pollute the world with juvenile sexual innuendo. 

It’s awesome.

I haven’t laughed so hard, so frequently, in a long time. In fact, I think everyone should start doing it. (Huh, huh. You said do it.) The next time someone says something even remotely risque (you know, like, “How was your day?” or “Paper or plastic?”) just smile, drop your voice an octave and say, That’s what she said

Try it. I dare you not to smile.

With the school year coming to an end, sadly, tomorrow is the last day of Game Room. No more raging sessions of Uno (which I’ve learned has as many house rules as Monopoly), no more rigorous chess matches, or back room deals for the last half of a chewed on, gooey burrito. I will miss it.

And with my daughter headed to high school next year, I wonder if they’ll ask me back. I hope so. I can’t wait to do it again.

Huh, huh. That’s what she said. 🙂


Drippy the Sandwich Fail

19 Apr

When I was little, visiting my great grandmother meant crowding around her little kitchen table while she cooked and fussed. The adults would laugh and talk, and within no time there would be food on the table.

Usually it was chicken pot pie. And let’s just be clear. I’m not talking about some messed up creamy thing with frozen vegetables and a crust. Grammy Great’s pot pie was a steaming bowl of magic; a rich and salty golden broth, each spoonful bursting with chicken flavor, the homemade egg noodles light and fluffy, like little pillows of deliciousness. (Unless my Pap and I got ahold of them. We’d sneak around her and scrunch them up so they’d be kind of tough when they cooked in the simmering broth). And of course, there was chicken. Pot pie wasn’t right without a plate of pan-fried chicken thighs. Is there a better piece of chicken than a perfectly cooked thigh? Don’t think so.

The house was always too hot, and after you packed everyone in, plus all the cooking, the air got so thick you could feel it settle on your skin. The little window over the sink would steam over, making the room a bit of a red neck sauna. It got close.

But it didn’t matter. It didn’t even matter that there was a perfectly nice living room a few feet away, probably with cooler air. But that was for comp’ny, and we were family. So we crowded around the little table in the kitchen and laughed like hell over endless bowls of Charlotte’s pot pie.

My whole life has been full of women expressing their love through food. For better or worse, it’s part of who I am.

So now, as an adult, I take pride in the lunches I make for my family every morning. My husband likes his sandwich with toasted bread, my daughter not so much. My husband likes peppers and manchego with his ham, my daughter prefers provolone and black olives.

Over the years, I’ve taken some criticism for being an over-stuffer. I guess a big sandwich is hard to eat, or so they say. But a thin, wimpy sandwich is sad and tells the world, very clearly, that your mother doesn’t love you.

So I stuff.

You can imagine, then, how it went the day my daughter told me that her sandwiches had become famous at school.

I puffed up with pride, imagining other kids with sad PB&J’s, jealous of her delicious ham and cheese.

“Yeah,” she said, “they call you Drippy the Sandwich Fail because everyday I have to eat a sloppy mess. The bread is so soggy I almost have to squeeze it out. It’s pretty gross.”

“What? Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked, my mouth hanging open.

“Because I knew you’d freak,” she said casually. “It’s no big deal. It’s just funny.”

“No big deal?” I stammered, my delusions of sandwich grandeur slipping away. I could almost hear the other mothers whispering. Poor girl. Can you imagine? Nothing for lunch but a soggy sandwich… 

“Not really,” she said, grinning. “Why are you being crazy?”

“I don’t know! Because! Because it’s just…it’s my expression of love. And it’s all jacked up!” By this point I was pacing around the kitchen, in full lunatic mode.

“You’re expression of love? Really?” Insert generic teenage disdain.

Exactly, I thought. Like when I sent little notes in your lunch box and cut your bread into cute heart shapes.

I sighed and laughed. It was pretty funny. Drippy the Sandwich Fail kind of has a ring to it.

Since then we’ve nixed the black olives, which were soaking into the bread all morning causing the problem. I guess her sandwiches are better. I don’t ask anymore. If it matters, she’ll tell me.

Just the other day she came home smiling.

“Mitchell forgot his lunch today, so I gave him half of my sandwich.”

I slumped. Feeding your own kid a soggy mess is one thing, but other people’s kids? Not okay.

“He loved it. In fact, he laughed and said ‘Drippy the Sandwich Fail makes a pretty good sandwich after all.’ Thought you’d want to know.”

It made my day. Not only because it was culinary vindication, but because she knew I needed to know.  And besides, if Drippy the Sandwich Fail is the worst thing her friends call me, well, how bad can things be?