The ultimate packed lunch?

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#1 Posted by Sombre (474 posts) -

Hello friends,

In a discord server I use, we've been talking about how comfy it was taking a packed lunch to school as a kid. I haven't had one in...over 15 years maybe? But I work at school, and we went on a school trip where we had to take a packed lunch. I took a generic mix of a tesco wrap, a ginsters pasty, a lucozade and an orange, bought morning of on the way to work. But when I look back at being a kid, I remember packed lunches being the absolute best. For me, it was all about:

-A sandwich on Blackpool Roll, usually with one slice of ham/chicken

-A bag of ready salted walkers (or store brand)

-A yogurt (petis filous strawberry was the best)

-Some sort of fruit, usually some grapes or a tiny apple.

-Some sort of chocolate bar (the KING being either a minty CLUB, or a minty Penguin bar)

-Some Robinsons blackcurrant jucie in my action man water bottle

Of course, nothing rounds off a packed lunch quite like the lunchbox. I had a "Goosebumps" one for the infants (Ages 4-7) and an "Action Man" one for the juniors (Ages 7-11)

I dunno, I look back fondly on packed lunches. This might be a British culture thing though? Looking back at what I read, I realise a lot of this might aswell be Swahili to Americans. But all my GB friends are welcome and encouraged to join in on this thread. Packed lunch boys leave no person out!

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#2 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8927 posts) -

My ideal packed lunch.

Bottled tears.

Meat.

More meat.

Meat to bookend the other meat.

Scotch

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#3 Posted by Shindig (4963 posts) -

We got milk at our school long after Thatcher stole it from us.

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#4 Edited by stantongrouse (236 posts) -

Pack lunch meant more break time - always go pack lunch. I had several years of:

Cheese and ham on a bap (salad cream in summer, Branston's the rest of the year - my Mum's idea of seasonal eating)

Walkers or Wheat Crunchies

Mint club or Trio

Flat Robinsons juice in a soda stream bottle (it was the mid 80s and I had food additive allergies so it was this or Ribena, and Ribena is pricey)

All in my trusted Optimus Prime lunchbox.

My school made some effed up pudding that was basically cornflakes, syrup, jam and custard so if I was able to trade the crisps for one of those with someone I would.

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#5 Posted by FrodoBaggins (2101 posts) -

I mean I still regularly take packed lunches to work. Sandwich or some form of lot noodle/ready to eat meal, bag of crisps, fruit (usually grapes), yoghurt, breakfast bar, maybe a chocolate bar or cheese stick. Not exactly the healthiest meals ever but you know.

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#6 Edited by SSully (5635 posts) -

I mean, can't you still do a packed lunch everyday? To save money I try to only go out to lunch only once a day, and pack a lunch the rest of the week.

My standard is a sandwhich, either PB&J, or whatever lunch meat I got for that week. Big fan of smoked turkey with pepper jack cheese. Sometimes take it up a notch by adding cucumbers and hummus. I always pack a fruit (typically an apple or an orange), some chips, and usually some crackers or something for a snack during the day.

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#7 Posted by Sombre (474 posts) -

Mint club or Trio

My man! I haven't thought about Trio's in...20 years?

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#8 Posted by billmcneal (1266 posts) -

I always like string cheese in a pack lunch.

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#9 Posted by stantongrouse (236 posts) -

@sombre: You couldn't take a Trio out of a lunch box without someone shouting the advert song on your face in my school. Ah, simpler times.

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#10 Posted by Sombre (474 posts) -

@sombre: You couldn't take a Trio out of a lunch box without someone shouting the advert song on your face in my school. Ah, simpler times.

In the same way you couldn't drink an orange drink without getting tango'd?

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#11 Posted by stantongrouse (236 posts) -

@sombre: Indeed, thankfully I wasn't allowed Tango so just got to see other kids' eardrums explode.

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#12 Posted by doombot13 (342 posts) -

PBJ

String Cheese

Apple

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#13 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3897 posts) -

@sombre: Tango got banned in my school because of that ad.

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#14 Posted by Sombre (474 posts) -

@sombre: Indeed, thankfully I wasn't allowed Tango so just got to see other kids' eardrums explode.

Shoutout to Gold bars, Classic Bars, and the little known... Riva Riva (I'm going back 20 years)

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#15 Edited by Jesus_Phish (3897 posts) -

@sombre: I had an on and off like/dislike with Gold bars. Sometimes I loved them, other time's I'd rather have eaten anything else.

My packed lunch was fairly similar, except my lunchbox was always just a plastic tuperware box. Sandwich, crisps, fruit that I'd usually ignore and some sort of penguin or classic bar. It was rare to get a club, they where more expensive and if my parents did get them usually the first to go.

When I moved into secondary school (teen years), I'd bring a back of popcorn in for what was a 15 minute break at 11 and then I lived close enough to home that I'd walk home for the lunch hour.

I still bring packed lunches to work though. Most days my lunch is a sandwich, crisps, fruit (which I've stopped ignoring) and tea. If we have leftovers from the night before I'll maybe bring that and microwave it.

*EDIT*

You've after reminding me of the pleasure of a Classic bar with a cup of tea, used as a straw.

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#16 Posted by Sombre (474 posts) -

@sombre: I had an on and off like/dislike with Gold bars. Sometimes I loved them, other time's I'd rather have eaten anything else.

My packed lunch was fairly similar, except my lunchbox was always just a plastic tuperware box. Sandwich, crisps, fruit that I'd usually ignore and some sort of penguin or classic bar. It was rare to get a club, they where more expensive and if my parents did get them usually the first to go.

When I moved into secondary school (teen years), I'd bring a back of popcorn in for what was a 15 minute break at 11 and then I lived close enough to home that I'd walk home for the lunch hour.

I still bring packed lunches to work though. Most days my lunch is a sandwich, crisps, fruit (which I've stopped ignoring) and tea. If we have leftovers from the night before I'll maybe bring that and microwave it.

I bought a pack of Gold bars last week from Tesco, and I'm big enough (literally) to admit that I ate 4 in one go. They're good in that same way that Caramacs were- just different chocolate you didn't find anywhere else. CLUB bars were weird, although I DO remember my mum always buying Asda's own Penguin bars that were called "Puffins".

Growing up in a single parent household, I grew to love asda home brand stuff.

A friend on discord made the observation that I related to though. If you said to your mum IN PASSING "Oh garlic sausage on butties? That sounds good", and it was all you'd have for 6 months.

Those were the days

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#17 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3897 posts) -

@sombre said:

A friend on discord made the observation that I related to though. If you said to your mum IN PASSING "Oh garlic sausage on butties? That sounds good", and it was all you'd have for 6 months.

Those were the days

This is very true. I think that's what actually made me first start to dislike gold bars. I expressed liking them once and then for months thats the bar we got. And you could never say you didn't like something that you'd previously expressed a like for.

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#18 Posted by stantongrouse (236 posts) -

@sombre said:
A friend on discord made the observation that I related to though. If you said to your mum IN PASSING "Oh garlic sausage on butties? That sounds good", and it was all you'd have for 6 months.

Yeah, I remember saying I liked a super processed smoked cheese at a friend's house and that was in my sandwiches for months afterwards. It made everything not sealed taste of fake smoke. If you ever gave my Mum a cheap option she'd stick to it - my sister suffered a few months of "Sandwich Spread" after a similar comment. That stuff is weird, like pureed coleslaw.

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#19 Posted by Sombre (474 posts) -

@sombre said:
A friend on discord made the observation that I related to though. If you said to your mum IN PASSING "Oh garlic sausage on butties? That sounds good", and it was all you'd have for 6 months.

Yeah, I remember saying I liked a super processed smoked cheese at a friend's house and that was in my sandwiches for months afterwards. It made everything not sealed taste of fake smoke. If you ever gave my Mum a cheap option she'd stick to it - my sister suffered a few months of "Sandwich Spread" after a similar comment. That stuff is weird, like pureed coleslaw.

I also had that "Seafood spread" stuff for weeks. It's the most absolutely minging stuff to put on sandwiches ever. Or when you'd have a pack of sandwich meat, and your mum would put ONE slice of wafer thin ham on the sandwich. Now that I'm an adult, I put SO MUCH MEAT on my sandwiches, just to make kid me happy

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#20 Posted by someoneproud (623 posts) -

This is a really fun thread :)

I survived my formative years chiefly on:

Lucozade,

Shitty ham sandwich ft. a single poxy slice of ham, no sauce or salad :(

A Penguin

A yoghurt (strawberry or GTFO)

Pack of crisps (prawn cocktail preferred)

Job done. Nowadays I fucking hate ham sandwiches but it's a good time to remember just the same. I still drink industrial quantities of Lucozade.

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#21 Posted by isomeri (3125 posts) -

I mostly have packed lunches at work, because it saves me a whole lot of money each month compared to eating at the lunch places close to my office. I've got a desk job so I don't need a lot of calories to get me through the day. A nice salad with a croissant or piece of bread is usually optimal with a handful of nuts or an apple in the afternoon for a little added boost. Most of the time though I just have whatever leftovers I find in the fridge or freezer, so a lot of soups, pastas, curries, woks and so on.

Packed lunches never were really a thing for us in school, because Finland provides free school food up until university and it's generally relatively nutritious and tasty. Generally. In high school we did often sneak to a store to buy some ramen or sandwiches or went to the McDonalds if we had more money. In fact I had so much McDonalds back then that I got sick of it and haven't dined under the golden arches in almost 13 years.

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#22 Edited by gerrid (705 posts) -

For years as a kid I would have cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off that my dad would make the night before. They were always kind of soggy by the time I ate them, unsurprisingly, and the flavour was so bland, although my dad always added a little salt to them, which as an adult I now realise was an unnecessary but kind touch that a child would never appreciate. At 8 or 9 years old that's what I wanted though, I hated anything with strong or unfamiliar flavours (which I think is quite common at that age). I upgraded to peanut butter sandwiches when I was a little older, with a pepperami or a triangle of dairylea n the side. Then a penguin bar or a club bar. I think I had a spider-man or superman lunchbox, and definitely had a power rangers one. They have a very particular smell, too, a sweet yeasty tang from he encased bread, mixed with a sharp note from whatever side thing had been packed in, and the slight chemical scent of the plastic. In the end that smell mixed up to make everything in the lunch box taste faintly of each other, including the chocolate. It's a smell I can recall very readily even now. I was always a bit jealous of my friend who would have sausage rolls, muffins, more interesting sandwiches.

A pretty terrible lunch all told, but better than what the school was serving. I think part of the appeal was the routine of it, knowing what you were going to have rather than running the gauntlet of the dinner ladies' proclivities.

I have fonder and stronger memories of the after school corner-shop trip though. Having sourced 30p somehow, from some chore or found in a pocket or taken 2p at a time from the change pile. Deciding how it was going to be spent, thinking about it before the end of school, making plans and combinations which all fell apart because something was out of stock. 10p tomato toms was probably my favourite (unless your pack was ruined by crunching into an un-puffed one, ugh), the intense sweet vinegar tang of the ketchup dust which was so short lived, giving way to a savoury follow-through as the maize puff dissolved on your tongue. You don't get many in a pack so each one should be savourted. Space raiders or chipsticks would be good alternatives if the toms stock was depleted, but neither is as good.

Then always trying to get the most volume of penny sweets, carefully weighing up whether it was worth sacrificing quantity and variety for taste - yes the big marshmallow meant more sweet to eat, but the long strawberry fizzy straw tastes way better. Perhaps splashing out sometimes to get the 2p sugarred coke bottles instead of the unsugared 1p version or a dib dab. Or when you had somehow found a pound coin, getting a chocolate bar as well. The Cabury Secret bar was my favourite, a completely ludicrous bar of chocolate, spun into a sort of oblong basket in whispery strands, holding a precious cargo of chocolate mousse inside. I'm not surprised it doesn't exist any more, it must have been hell to produce.

Occasionally I'd have enough for a can of drink, an apple tango or maybe a fizzy vimto. Then on a really hot day instead it would be an ice pop or if you had got some rare windfall, a cornetto. I used to go to the same shop always with my best friend, so between us we could cover a lot of options. Sometimes we would forgo a few days of treats to save up for some collectible - packs football stickers mostly but also passing fads like pogs or go-gos or marbles.

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#23 Posted by Sombre (474 posts) -

@gerrid said:

For years as a kid I would have cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off that my dad would make the night before. They were always kind of soggy by the time I ate them, unsurprisingly, and the flavour was so bland, although my dad always added a little salt to them, which as an adult I now realise was an unnecessary but kind touch that a child would never appreciate. At 8 or 9 years old that's what I wanted though, I hated anything with strong or unfamiliar flavours (which I think is quite common at that age). I upgraded to peanut butter sandwiches when I was a little older, with a pepperami or a triangle of dairylea n the side. Then a penguin bar or a club bar. I think I had a spider-man or superman lunchbox, and definitely had a power rangers one. They have a very particular smell, too, a sweet yeasty tang from he encased bread, mixed with a sharp note from whatever side thing had been packed in, and the slight chemical scent of the plastic. In the end that smell mixed up to make everything in the lunch box taste faintly of each other, including the chocolate. It's a smell I can recall very readily even now. I was always a bit jealous of my friend who would have sausage rolls, muffins, more interesting sandwiches.

A pretty terrible lunch all told, but better than what the school was serving. I think part of the appeal was the routine of it, knowing what you were going to have rather than running the gauntlet of the dinner ladies' proclivities.

I have fonder and stronger memories of the after school corner-shop trip though. Having sourced 30p somehow, from some chore or found in a pocket or taken 2p at a time from the change pile. Deciding how it was going to be spent, thinking about it before the end of school, making plans and combinations which all fell apart because something was out of stock. 10p tomato toms was probably my favourite (unless your pack was ruined by crunching into an un-puffed one, ugh), the intense sweet vinegar tang of the ketchup dust which was so short lived, giving way to a savoury follow-through as the maize puff dissolved on your tongue. You don't get many in a pack so each one should be savourted. Space raiders or chipsticks would be good alternatives if the toms stock was depleted, but neither is as good.

Then always trying to get the most volume of penny sweets, carefully weighing up whether it was worth sacrificing quantity and variety for taste - yes the big marshmallow meant more sweet to eat, but the long strawberry fizzy straw tastes way better. Perhaps splashing out sometimes to get the 2p sugarred coke bottles instead of the unsugared 1p version or a dib dab. Or when you had somehow found a pound coin, getting a chocolate bar as well. The Cabury Secret bar was my favourite, a completely ludicrous bar of chocolate, spun into a sort of oblong basket in whispery strands, holding a precious cargo of chocolate mousse inside. I'm not surprised it doesn't exist any more, it must have been hell to produce.

Occasionally I'd have enough for a can of drink, an apple tango or maybe a fizzy vimto. Then on a really hot day instead it would be an ice pop or if you had got some rare windfall, a cornetto. I used to go to the same shop always with my best friend, so between us we could cover a lot of options. Sometimes we would forgo a few days of treats to save up for some collectible - packs football stickers mostly but also passing fads like pogs or go-gos or marbles.

I can physically TASTE this post. Great nostalgia. I always remember the day I got two "Tazo's" (I think they were Warner Bros pog rip off?) in my pack of prawn cocktail wotsits. All the kids at school called me a liar but I knew

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#24 Posted by gerrid (705 posts) -

@sombre: Yeah I remember Tazos, they were plastic pogs with little notches that you could fit together for some reason. Like you were meant to build structures out of them but they just came loose in bags of crisps so what are you meant to do? Also to get any sort of collection going you had to east so many crisps. Strange times.

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#25 Posted by Sombre (474 posts) -

@gerrid said:

@sombre: Yeah I remember Tazos, they were plastic pogs with little notches that you could fit together for some reason. Like you were meant to build structures out of them but they just came loose in bags of crisps so what are you meant to do? Also to get any sort of collection going you had to east so many crisps. Strange times.

Yeah man they were looney tunes branded. I used to love getting Taz ones.

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#26 Posted by FinalDasa (3231 posts) -

If I only think about this as what I'd enjoy the most as a kid it would have to be...

PB&J.

Tiny bag of Ruffles potato chips.

Capri Sun.

And a sandwich bag of 3-4 cookies. Chocolate chip of course.

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#27 Posted by IesuNoel (154 posts) -
No Caption Provided

Packed this instant noodle with tomatoes sunny tartine. Messier than a one year old at breakfast, but good eating all the way.

Had a package of crisps with it and a cookie.

Iced tea ordered from the cafeteria, but I suppose that may be cheating.

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#28 Posted by JPPT1974 (125 posts) -

Not much of a lunch eater as only eat one meal a day for supper but snack on things. But this is what I would have...

Salad no cheese nor dressing

Roast Beef Sandwich plain

Yogurt

A candy bar