NR Digital

Athwart

Puttin’ in the Ritz

by James Lileks

When I made my daughter’s lunch for school, I occasionally included the Sacrificial Carrots, or some variant. You put in a veggie to do your part as a good parent who tried, knowing the bag will come back with two warm carrots gnawed like a beaver who tests his teeth on a steel light pole and quickly gives up.

Sometimes I’d toss in an Uncrustable: a miracle wad of prefab goo that went from frozen to pliable by lunchtime. The spongy white exterior was “bread,” although it tasted like mashed-up hydrated Communion wafers; the peanut butter provided “protein”; and the jelly provided “fruit,” in the sense that an electron microscope could detect two or three atoms of actual grape. The reason that no one called it the Loaf o’ Kiddie Crack is that crack has more vitamins. I used them only in emergencies, and felt as if I’d failed to keep my daughter’s corn-derived sucrose consumption below an acre a year.

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