Thursday, June 08, 2006

Lunchboxes and the Limberlost

Dawn drew my attention to Jenniferschmoo, who in turn made me aware of Laptop Lunches. I ordered three laptop lunch kits for my kids and I firmly believe that they will bring about a lunch renaissance. In an odd generational/cultural reversal, when my mother first saw them, she said, "Like Korean children have!" (My mother is addicted to two Korean soap operas and I guess they feature bento boxes). But all I could think was "I wish Grammie could see these: they remind me of A Girl of The Limberlost."

I'm pretty sure this book is in the public domain, since I've been able to link not only the full text but also a searchable version above; thus I feel free to quote extensively on blog. If these passages persuade you to read this book, my work is done.

Wesley opened the package and laid a brown leather lunch box on the table. "Might be a couple of books, or drawing tools or most anything that's neat and genteel. You see, it opens this way."

It did open, and inside was a space for sandwiches, a little porcelain box for cold meat or fried chicken, another for salad, a glass with a lid which screwed on, held by a ring in a corner, for custard or jelly, a flask for tea or milk, a beautiful little knife, fork, and spoon fastened in holders, and a place for a napkin.

Margaret was almost crying over it.

"How I'd love to fill it!" she exclaimed.

Margaret, a neighbor, does fill it the first day. Then Elnora's mother, with whom she has a complicated relationship, decides she can't let Mag Sinton show her up (reading this passage always makes me ravenous):

Half the bread compartment was filled with dainty sandwiches of bread and butter sprinkled with the yolk of egg and the remainder with three large slices of the most fragrant spice cake imaginable. The meat dish contained shaved cold ham, of which she knew the quality, the salad was tomatoes and celery, and the cup held preserved pear, clear as amber. There was milk in the bottle, two tissue-wrapped cucumber pickles in the folding drinking-cup, and a fresh napkin in the ring. No lunch was ever daintier or more palatable; of that Elnora was perfectly sure. And her mother had prepared it for her! "She does love me!" cried the happy girl. "Sure as you're born she loves me; only she hasn't found it out yet!"

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