A number of weeks ago, COVID temporarily kept us out of the lunchroom. All the students and their families were informed that they would have to bring their own lunches for a week. Since then, we’ve had two week-long fully virtual weeks where we had full access to our own kitchens for lunch.
For that “bring-your-own-lunch” week, there were many mixed reactions. Freshman Emma Duffield was very happy because “then I wouldn’t be the only one that brought them.” Emma was someone who brought her own lunch even when they weren’t required to.
As for what the students brought? I asked Ava Tabor. She brought a turkey sandwich four days and a yogurt parfait once. “My favorite is the turkey sandwich, obviously.” I mean, it wasn’t hard to guess considering she brought it four days out of the week. Emma brought some more diverse items. She brought a chicken salad sandwich, a veggie burger, and the TikTok wrap, a burrito bowl (which was her favorite), and a Chick-fil-A cool wrap.
Emma and Ava are in the same advisory, and when Ava saw the delicious Chick-fil-A cool wrap that Emma brought, she “got a little bit jealous. I'm not going to lie.”
Emma doesn’t really get jealous of other people’s lunches. “I always pack the meals I want to eat,” she said, “I mean, if someone has pizza, of course, I crave pizza, but I’m always content with the lunch I brought.”
Ava and Emma worked together with their moms to pack their lunches. Also, they both packed their lunches the night before. Emma does this so that she “isn’t stressed in the morning,” and Ava does this just because she doesn’t “have enough time in the morning.”
Packing your own lunches is something that Lovett students didn’t have to worry about until recently. Ava enjoyed packing her lunches because she “likes cooking, and packing school lunches is kind of similar to cooking.”
Ava and Emma said that the hardest part about packing their own lunches was taking time to actually pack their lunches. “It’s just time-consuming,” Ava said. Emma added, “It takes preparation...it makes me go to school later.”
There were some very humorous lunch fails. Emma didn’t have it that bad; the worst that happened was her “chicken salsa was a bit sour,” but Ava had some slightly bigger fails. “Once, I packed yogurt and it spilled everywhere. Another time, I packed a salad and the dressing spilled all over my bag. It was disgusting.”
All of this begs the question… do students prefer school lunches, or do they prefer their personally packed lunches.
Again, Ava and Emma both agreed that they liked packing their own lunches. “I can get in my necessary food that I need to be eating right now,” Emma said, “I can plan everything out and have more control over what I am eating.” Emma told me she thinks that it is a good learning experience. By packing her own lunches “it is teaching me how to be good at preparing my own meals” for later on in life. They both said that by packing their own lunches, they ate a lot healthier foods than they would be if they ate the school lunches.
Even though the students prefer to pack their own lunches, they still like some aspects of the school packing lunches for them, especially when the school serves pizza for lunch (pizza was both Ava and Emma’s favorite lunch).
“I like how you don't have to worry about having a lunch, and you don't have to worry about forgetting your lunch,” Ava said, “You know that it is going to be there.”
Emma has similar opinions about it, saying that she likes how “it is quick, it is easy, and it tastes good. Other than the fact that it is 100 miles away from all of my classes,” she joked.
As for the virtual week we had after spring break, Ava’s lunches changed a bit, getting a bit more complex. “I usually cook or make a smoothie rather than just bringing a sandwich to school” every day, she said. She said it also takes her longer to prepare her virtual lunches, probably because she has more time to make them.
Emma’s lunches didn’t change much and she was simpler in her response to this question. She said, “I bring bigger sides for school and a smaller main meal, but at home, I eat a big main meal and smaller sides.”
Now that we have another virtual week, I am back to making my good old turkey sándwiches almost every day. Mr. Newman’s lunches are a bit more diverse, and he had a unique perspective on the current situation.
The Jewish holiday of Passover started Saturday night, so Mr. Newman, who is an active member of the Jewish community, has celebrated this holiday for many years. He told me that usually, when we are in school and the lunch options are a little bit more limited, he brings his own lunch anyway. If we were in school this week instead of virtual, he said he’d have brought some matzah and “would have probably eaten a salad.”
But the fact that we are virtual this week is actually working in his favor, he said, and it is perfect for him to follow the dietary restrictions of the holiday.
“It’s not like I’m grateful to the pandemic for making that possible,” Mr. Newman added, “but it’s a little bonus.”