Sunday, August 3, 2008

To "P" Or Not To "P"

Here's a question for you. Since I'm moving and making all kinds of philosophical changes in my life, including downsizing our home and being happy with less, I have run into lots of opportunities. Today's question is what about plastic? Of course, as a mom on the Waldorf path we already don't have any plastic toys or furnishings. Or dishes. The only things left to confront are plastic food storage containers. I hate them and already threw them all out. Nasty slippery things. But now I am preparing for the school year and Natalie's school likes a no-trash lunch. They also don't like the kids to use plastic. Nancy L. recently threw out all the plastic dishes and replaced them with glass (Montessori was big on children, even the little ones, having real adult glasses so they could learn to be careful). The glass plates and bowls are swirly and lovely. And I agree BUT how do you pack a no-trash lunch AND not use plastic????

For example, N won't eat sandwiches, only leftovers like pasta and soup and so on. How on earth do I pack that in a reusuable container that isn't plastic? Or if I get her on board with the sandwich choice are we looking at wrapping them in wax paper? Where does wax paper come from? Is it recyclable? Is there some kind of cool website with watertight lidded lunch dishes made of bamboo or tin or something? In the 1800s it was a tin lunch pail, right? What kinds of food did they put in it? I remember a story in Katie John where she tried putting a hot baked potato in her coat pocket to keep her hands warm in the winter -- she had read that in the olden days children at one-room schoolhouses used to do this. Then they would eat the baked potato for lunch. She tried it and the b.p. burst in her coat pocket and she ended up with potato all over her mittens. Not trying to be a Luddite here but if you take away the plastic where do you go from there?

Any thoughts on this subject or website links would be appreciated.

The lunch thing is a big concern for me as we roll towards the beginning of the school year. Setting up for school is always an expense and Natalie's school requires more than most -- cloth napkins, a potted plant, rolls of film, and so on. It's a lovely school but it is a private school so they assume that families are working with a pretty big budget. I have seen some of the lunches that children packed for summer camp and it's like oh... some of them have three different sorts of fruit and a sandwich and chips and a dessert or two and a nice drink. I can't afford to pack all that food every day, not to mention that Natalie would never eat that much. She's very picky. But I'm feeling dreadful, like I can't get lunch "right".

One thing we did manage to accomplish yesterday was my goal of buying more local produce. In addition to the Clagett Farm pickup we went to a locally owned small grocery store for the dairy products and fruit I need to supplement what the FP gives us each week. It is a tiny little local store. AND I stopped at a pickup truck at the side of the road and bought my watermelon and cantaloupe from a man who grows them not four miles from my house. So cool. The girls got to thump on a bunch of melons to check them out -- we ended up picking a really good one. I'm feeling very proud of myself for buying local. I always have such a craving for watermelon, even in the winter. I guess this means I need to be more hydrated. I love the texture of it, too, not just the flavor though. There's nothing else that feels the same way in your mouth. Happy Summer!

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