At the end of third grade, I remember sitting on the mat in front of the foam pit with all the girls on my gymnastics team. In preparation for the team’s annual party, the coaches asked each of us what kind of sandwich and cookie we wanted for party lunchbox. I was nervous about what to request. Fortunately, my last name is at the end of the alphabet, so I was able to listen to what everyone else picked. Unfortunately, the trendy lunch was a BLT and Oreos–things we did not eat in my Jewish household. And like I said, I was 8, so I don’t even know think I’d ever heard of a BLT. I did, however, know what being cool was, and it did not involve PBJ and/or chocolate chip cookies.
In second grade, I’d broken my arm, missing out on a lot of gymnastics, meanwhile the other girls my age had shot ahead. I was on the training team and they were on the “D-team” or developmental team, a designation for highly promising young gymnasts too young to compete (this was in the 80’s, and if memory serves, 9 was the youngest age allowed in competitions). If that wasn’t bad enough, my from Lindsay. who lived down the street, was on the D-team and her mother dropped me off at the gym for the end of the year demonstration, and then told me to “get a ride with Lindsay” to the party afterward. I took that to mean that her mom was coming back and driving us to the party. An hour later, sitting in front of the gym, it was clear that her mom wasn’t coming and everyone was already at the party and no one knew where we were. I have no idea how we called her mom to come get us.
Needless to say, in third grade, I didn’t want to mess this up. So when Coach Mike called my name out, I said I wanted just an L. I knew I didn’t want bacon, and at the time I hate tomatoes. So for me, I had an L sandwich and some Oreos, which I’m sure I didn’t eat either. Probably not the coolest lunch, but I felt ok about it then.
Now, I’m much more confident about my food choices, and better yet, have devised the ultimate (vegan) BLT–portobello “bacon”, arugula, tomatoes, and avocado, on toasted bread, with a thin spread of Earth Balance. Crispy, salty, juicy, and not embarrassing in the least.