Of Peanut Butter and Taco Bell

I’ve been making school lunches for almost as long as I can remember. It goes waaaaay back. That’s because both of my kids are pretty much very picky eaters. I’ve never known this to be a problem for me, which is one reason why I’m always in need of losing about 10 pounds, but that’s another story.

With my two kids about 10 years apart, it’s given me plenty of time to look over school lunch menus, offer the better selections to the kids, and end up reaching for the peanut butter.

Peanut butter. Sigh. . . Where would we be without it. All these lunches over the years have involved peanut butter. PBJ sandwiches for my daughter, and peanut butter and crackers for my son.

Nightly meals haven’t been much better. They’re just as picky there. But I found that I could often trick my daughter into eating when she was young, simply by changing the name of the dish.

Taco Salad, which was always refused, became one of our most popular meals when it was transformed into SUPER NACHOS. Mmmmmmm.

And my daughter hated chicken pot pie, but loved Chicken Mulan, named after the character from the Disney movie. I found that food names with Disney characters were almost always an immediate hit.

This ploy, however, never caught on with my son. First, you have to understand that he was a pretty good eater until one day when he was 2, and suddenly pushed his plate out of the way. He has basically turned down the initial offering of any non-chocolate food since then.

Adding to the mix was a period of time when my daughter decided to become a vegetarian. To paraphrase Samule L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, “My daughter’s a vegetarian, which pretty much makes me a vegetarian.” But I was an unwilling member of this group.

The funniest thing was when we went to taco bell. My son only likes tacos with meat only. My daughter wanted tacos with no meat – just a shell, lettuce, and cheese.

I always tried to figure out a way to save mone with these orders. Since I was basically just ordering the stuff for single tacos, I tried to come up with some plan that would allow me to take the meat off one, and add it to some shells that I imagined I had deftly hidden in my pockets. But I was never clever enough to pull that one off.

Instead, every time I approached the counter, I began, “This is probably one of the strangest orders you’ve had today . . . ”

I was always just a little bit relieved that I never had to order a taco and then request, “Could you add peanut butter to that?”

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