It’s Back-To-School time, and you know what that means. Surrendering your child to teachers, who everyone agrees 100-percent-no-question do the most noble job in the world, though, sure, there are bad ones, just like there are incompetent doctors or “too gropey” masseurs, and this is your child we’re talking about after all, so you can never 100-percent-no-question give your child’s teachers the benefit of the doubt, but still you don’t want to let on because, you know, why make your kid a target, which is why you wear that silly grin on Parent-Teacher Night?
But also it’s Back-To-School-Lunch time. That’s right, school lunches. So you can wipe that silly grin off your face.
Thankfully, Back-To-School-Lunch time coincides with Garden-Glut time, that period of the vegetable-growing season when your weeding and fertilizing and weeding and more weeding bear fruit – more fruit, in fact, than you could possibly know what to do with, even if they are punky and weirdly misshapen fruit. And by “fruit” I mean “zucchini.”
What better way, then, to use up your fall harvest than by passing them off to your unsuspecting children in creative, healthy and borderline disturbing ways. Try these simple lunch and snack suggestions. I SAID TRY THEM!
Sorry. That was the rutabaga talking.
Monday: The Carrots of the Caribbean
Ahoy, To-Matey! Your children will “treasure” this pirate-themed snack. It’ll shiver their timbers and shake their booty. (Consult your schools rules regarding shaking, booty-wise.) Your children may even ship out to sea for five years, after which they’ll maybe appreciate how you slave to put food on the table, the scurvy dogs!
Take three carrots of any length, though who are you kidding? You haven’t grown anything longer than three inches. That’s fine. Wipe dirt off with your fingers because washing is for chumps. Dirt = authentic. Lash the carrots together using the enchanted golden tresses of a glittering mermaid or household twine.
Next, populate your carrot “raft” with green bean buccaneers, cucumber conquistadors and scallion rapscallions. Run them through with the cold steel of death! Or, in this case, wooden toothpicks. Finally, add an authentic quarantine of spotty tomato chunks – the cursed plague! “Arrrgh?” How about “Yummm!”
Garnish with zucchini oars.
Tuesday: Beets-Side Yourself Sandwich
You know what’s just like bread? Zucchini! If you slice it just so and slather it with butter, margarine, Penzoil or the topping of your choice, it’s exactly like regular white bread. With a green crust. And seeds! Everybody loves seeds. And everybody loves beets, except for the many, many people who don’t. But your child is not many people. If “many people” jumped off a bridge, would they be able to eat these beets? Of course not. So it’s up to your child. Slice cooked beets and layer them between two thick slices of way-too-giant zucchini. Why not make that a double-decker zuke-wich. A triple! How about a zucchini panini! My God, so many beets! For extra surprise fun, don’t tell your child about the miracle of beet digestion.
Wednesday: Beyond Cucumberdome
In a world where cucumbers litter the earth, one mom has the courage to pick them all… and serve them for lunch.
Here’s a simple and effective way to use up those surplus cukes. First, find an ordinary paper bag. Then, fill the bag with sharks, at least two, but more are better. Next, put the cucumbers in the bag. Eleven cucumbers go into the lunch bag, three come out. The sharks took the rest. You know the thing about a shark, he’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eye. Until he bites a cucumber and those black eyes roll over white. They hate turnip, though.
Serve the surviving cucumbers in a bowl. You’re going to need a bigger bowl.
Thursday: Big Box of Tomatoes
Tomatoes. In a big box.
Friday: Zuke Can’t Always Get What You Want
Finely grate zucchini to fill three two-litre buckets. Let drain thoroughly, squeezing out any liquid. Combine the zucchini with two cups of flour, three tablespoons of oil and a tablespoon of hair dye. Spread the resulting zucchini paste onto several cookie sheets and bake at 325 F until luxurious. Let cool. Meanwhile, you will have read up on how to fold large-scale origami swans, which you will now proceed to craft out of the flat zucchini sheets. Present your best and truest zucchini origami swans when you visit your child’s principal, whose phone call about “cruel and unusual lunches” you will have received by now.
Next week: Homeschooling Your Undernourished Child