We are nearly three weeks into the school year and two miraculous transformations are underway. My kindergarten daughter is emerging from her shy shell, but even more shocking is that my second grade son is becoming a less picky eater, all thanks to hot school lunches.
My son would be happy to entirely subsist on goldfish crackers and macaroni and cheese. However, since he’s been given the freedom to buy hot lunch in the cafeteria once a week, he checks the calendar carefully and usually chooses the day pizza will be served.
Right away there was some sort of mix-up and he was given a pulled pork sandwich instead of pizza.
“Did you eat it?” I asked, incredulous, knowing he couldn’t have gone without eating lunch, but unable to fathom that he’d gobble up a sandwich with sauce all over it; he barely eats ketchup.
“Yes, I ate it… and it was actually pretty good,” he replied, matter-of-factly.
If this situation were to happen and I was found anywhere in the proximity of the lunchroom, he wouldn’t have touched that sandwich. I can promise you that.
He even went on to tell me he tried the cole slaw that came with it, and he liked it! I held in my surprise, but inside kept thinking, What?! Who ate cole slaw?!
So today I paused while packing his lunch. I always pack some sort of fresh fruit or vegetable for snack time, but today the produce pickings in the house were sparse, so I took a risk and sliced up some cucumber coins for him, not the typical carrot sticks or apple wedges. Perhaps, I reasoned, the magic that occurs in the cafeteria might be transferred to any lunch eaten away from home, away from my motherly eye.
As soon as he got home he asked, “Why did you pack me cucumbers in my lunch?”
“Did you eat it?” I asked innocently, holding my breath.
“Yeah. And I actually liked the inside of it, just not the outside, green part.”
“What did you do with the skin?” I asked, still not sure if he dumped the cucumbers.
“I ate it.”
This article was originally written for Sacramento Parent