Food, Humor, Life
Comments 9

My school bag smelled like the 1970s. Heh?

It was entirely accidental.

The WideEyedSpouse and I have been streaming the old Julia Childs off of the PBS website. They are rasty and sketchy and black and white. And in them, Julia wastes nothing. She made a French onion soup and tossed in the butts of the onions. I was aghast. I thought those were for the worm bin.

Another time she made a French tart crust. Pie crust to you and me, but she used a different technique, evidently a French one. What really caught my eye and stayed with me all through the week and into my errand run to Target, was her masterful use and reuse of waxed paper.

She made the crust dough and then wrapped it in waxed paper to chill in the fridge before rolling it out. Apparently this gives the gluten some time to relax. Whatever. Because it was t.v. and none of us had then or have now the time to sit around and chat with Julia over coffee while we waited for the dough to chill (unfortunate), she grabbed an already prepared and chilled dough mass out of the fridge.

It was half-ass wrapped in the wrinkliest mess of waxed paper I’ve even seen. Even Julia looked unnerved by it. She patted the mass once or twice as if that would smooth out the situation. That wax paper sheet looked like it had been wrapping pie dough lumps for a decade. And I thought, yeah, waxed paper.

So I bought some.

Sandwich1And I made a pbj to take to school for lunch and wrapped it in the waxed paper like a little present. Ends folded in on themselves all tidy like, clean creases. That pbj became a sandwich packet with dignity.

The waxed paper sandwich packet sat in my bag all morning during lab. The students diligently studied fish bones all around me and I prepared my lecture on bird bones while wafts of 1970s sandwich reek crossed my nose for hours.

Sandwich2At first I didn’t know why it was comforting or why I thought it was 1970s sandwich reek. I just kept sniffing near my bag and smiling. I clackety clacked away on my laptop and in a rush of odd recognition, I remembered that when I was a kid the WideEyedMom packed our school sandwiches in waxed paper bags. The bags had a little gusset and were just big enough to fold over the bread slices twice. The waxy pbj aroma wafted out of my kiddie lift up desk all morning, taunting me with lunch and recess ideas every time I went for a pencil.

My school bag reeked of the 1970s. And it was wonderful.


  1. That’s a nice looking sandwich package. My mom always gave me a buck and told me to just buy my lunch, so my lunch nostalgia comes to me whenever I make a cash transaction and isn’t nearly as touching.

    • Awesome – a constant nostalgia feed for you! I ate my share of the dollar school lunches – I particularly liked the grilled cheese or cardboard pizza.

  2. That is just a wonderful blog. It is so cheery, upbeat, funny, and tongue in cheek all at the same time. I even felt the stirrings of a small tear in one eye thinking back to my childhood and also remembering what a great lady Julia Child was. Those old French Chef episodes are awesome. I could watch them over and over. Anyone who enjoys cooking needs to watch them and learn from the master that arguably created the whole genre of televised cooking shows. This blog was awesome though. I noticed that new package of Cut-Rite in the “drawer of many food coverings” in the kitchen last night, but didn’t realize you were inspired to buy it from watching Julia Child. Thanks for the happy day here at work is crazy and this gave me a chance to smile.

    • Yeah, I hear you. I do like McD’s fries, but I also pine for the salty soggy crinkle cuts of the school cafeteria sometimes. Ketchup sponges.

  3. Dwain says

    Yes it’s a good story, but isn’t that a couple of avocado pits suspended with toothpicks behind the cut-rite box?

    • You know it. One pit is rooting and the others are deciding. It is the 1970s all over my kitchen. Oh, and those are Myerly’s crocks they are suspended over.

  4. Dwain says

    I still have a few peanut jars with the green lids. Good for pickled eggs yet!

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