The Lunch Mate

It’s not too often that we parents are in the position of making dreams come true. But today, I single-handedly made one of the Gort’s dreams come true.

All year long the first grader dropped not-so-subtle hints about what he’d really like for lunch.

‘Hey Mom, so-and-so had a Lunch Mate today.’

‘What’s a Lunch Mate?’

‘It’s a lunch in a special container and it comes with a juice box and a treat.’

[Ah, one of those salmonella slash e-coli traps in an unrecyclable container.]

‘Mmmh, what if I made you a Lunch Mate? With a treat and a juice box?’

‘Well, maybe you could make me one and then I could buy a real one.’

‘Mmmmph, we’ll see.’

[Weeks, nay months, later]

‘Hey Mom, I know where you can buy Lunch Mates!’


‘At Safeway. I wish I could have a Lunch Mate.’

‘What if I made you a Lunch Mate?’

‘Well, maybe you could make me one and then I could also get a real one?’

Fine, on the last day of school, I will get you a Lunch Mate.’

And that’s how I lost my ten-month-long battle against the diabolical Lunch Mates.

I took the oldest boys to Costco and the Superstore yesterday. We were walking past the ‘hot dog’ section, when I saw the coveted lunch-time treats. There were one and a half days left in the school year. It was….time. ‘Okay, go get your Lunch Mate,’ I told the Gort. I might be overstating, but it was as if the pearly gates had opened and the angels were singing a chorus and there were bright lights and haloes. He approached the refrigerated section with a look of awe and reverence upon his face. His dream was about to become….reality.

He stared at the Lunch Mate selection for a minute and settled on the pizza kit, which came with a tropical fruit juice box and a little package of Oreo cookies. He carried the treasure in his arms for the remainder of the shopping excursion.

As we waited in the (very long) checkout line, he stared at the blue box. ‘It says I can make 3 pizzas!’ he announced enthusiastically. I couldn’t match his tone, I didn’t even try. ‘Lucky you,’ I replied; my stomach churning at the thought of ingesting even one ‘mini pizza’. ‘It says you can warm them up in the microwave,’ he continued. Unfazed by my unenthusiastic response. ‘Well, you don’t have a microwave at school’, I reminded him. Cold mini pizzas it would have to be.

We returned home from the store(s) and he carried his treat inside. ‘Dad, I got a Lunch Mate!’ he informed the professor as soon as he crossed the threshold. In a tone that suggested he’d be eating the Grade 1 equivalent of a Thomas Keller meal. The professor made the requisite parental (faux-enthusiastic) utterance: ‘Oh boy!’ Or whatever one says when one’s oldest son announces he is going to ingest something decidedly unappetizing.

‘Dad, don’t eat my Lunch Mate,’ the Gort warned the professor, before storing the blue box in the fridge.

As if.

6 thoughts on “The Lunch Mate

  1. oh that boy is going to be disappointed. It tastes terrible – even for a gr.1 palate! I did it once and each time we do groceries, the girls ask again. I’m going to tell them next time “sure, on the last day of school”

  2. You must report the verdict. I wonder if this is the first in a long line of palatal disappoints for him? If so you can hang it over his head for a long time.

    “Mom can I have….. in my lunch/for dinner/as a snack?”

    “No remember the pizza lunch mate. It tastes like that.”

    (Of course if he loves it you are in for some big trouble)

  3. Oh my word. I laughed so hard at this. My kids think those things are awesome also. It is always a special treat when I give in. I can hardly stand to think about the nutritional (or lack there of) value of those things.

  4. I was completely sure he would come home and say he didn’t really like the pizza. But he didn’t. He claims to have loved it ALL. And asked if he could take a Lunch Mate to school today….again. Hopefully he’ll forget about it over the summer…

  5. Funny…. My kids want bentos for lunch. I guess that is what their friends have and they feel left out having to eat the nutritionally balanced lunch that I put together for them. They would rather have cold rice and meatballs….

  6. For the record, when I went to elementary school, I often had Lunch Mates (thanks to a mom who hated the kitchen) and they were pretty tasty back in the day. I think they did a major company overhaul a few years back and the quality has been crap since then….and I only know because I can tell just by looking at them that they are crap, blech!


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