For approximately 13 glorious years, my mom and I have worked together to create the perfect packed lunch for me. And by worked together I mean she has graciously woken up every morning and prepared a lunch for me, which I then eat during my 30-minute lunch wave at school. I do not think she knows quite how thankful I am that she has taken away the anxiety induced by the Chartwells cafeteria food line.

Getting food from the cafeteria used to be an adventure. In Driscoll, I remember standing in line with my peers, and hoping that Chicken Patties, always a crowd favorite, were being served. One day, while at the long brown lunch table with my first grade class, we all nervously dove into our presumed Chicken Patties, only to realize inside that patty was a delectable mix of some fish and mac and cheese. After making several jokes about feeling nauseous due to the meal we just bit into, I myself got a little over-excited, and stood up seconds later only to throw up in the trash can next to our table. This was the end of me buying lunch.

In Cider Mill we always had “lunch buckets” for our packed lunches. These were always fun to jump into, and or to be knocked over into. As we paraded in our very impressively non-straight lines to the lunch rooms, two students were always assigned the privilege of taking the lunch bucket to and from the cafeteria. This responsibility was extremely important as a lost bucket would be catastrophic for the bellies of multitudes of fourth graders.

I have transgressed from L.L. Bean lunch bag, to brown bag, to actually no bag at all. These days I throw my lunch in my “carry-on-luggage-sized purse,” which I bring to school every day, and hope against hope in my rush out the door that my apple slices don’t fall out.

And now an ode to my current lunch, which my mom has down to a science. First, it consists of four fresh and juicy apple slices which has been cored, quartered and prepared with immense care and delicacy. Next is a Nature Valley granola bar, which I can munch on throughout the day to curb any hunger pains. And finally, the piece de resistance, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This sandwich has been finely cultured throughout these 13 years to create the perfect ratio of peanut butter, jelly, and bread. The key ingredient is the Pepperidge Farm “very thin” whole wheat bread, which we lovingly refer to in my house as skinny bread. I harp on this aspect of the sandwich because it truly makes a wonder of a difference.

Lunch is an imperative time to any high schooler. It is the time when we can race to finish up any lingering homework, or a time to relax, talk with friends, and refuel our brains with some food. No matter how bad my day may be going, as soon as I head over to my locker for my 30-minute break in the day, I reach for my packed lunch and feel OK. Whether lying on the floor with my friends in the senior “jungle,” sitting in the cafeteria, eating outside under the sun, or hiding my food from the librarians in the library, my packed lunch never fails to make me feel at home. To all the moms and dads out there making lunches for their first graders, fourth graders, or even seniors in high school, thank you. We love it almost as much as we love you.


Lynn Huffard is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with four classmates.