Sue Spitulnik

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts



Make it Yourself

It’s National Pack Your Lunch Day. I get up every workday morning the same time as my husband and make a fresh salad for him to take for lunch. I put the homemade dressing on sparingly so it’s only a little soggy by the time he gets to it six hours later. His favorite topping is tunafish. Some of his work-mates have asked if I would make them one….we laugh as we imagine me with a list of each individual’s desires as my own children don’t eat what my husband likes, namely, the hot peppers, radishes, olives, and Asiago cheese. Sometimes, I make two, so there is one for me also.

When I was a kid, I envied my classmates that brought their lunch to school. My mother insisted we eat the hot lunch the school provided, for a fee of course. Now that I think back, most kids brought a sandwich, chips, and maybe some fruit. Back then I thought that was fine. Today I wouldn’t. You would more likely find me with a leftover piece of meat and some cold cooked vegetables, or even a dish of cold spaghetti.

My daughter is a body builder and she runs around with the ever-present snap-top container of chicken, brown rice, and broccoli. It has been cooked with some seasonings added, but she eats it cold, often with her fingers. I’m not impressed with watching the process, but her headaches are gone, she feels good, and she looks even better. I admire her stick-to-itiveness.

A couple of interesting facts from the calendar;   Mickey Mouse was the first licensed character to appear on a lunchbox in 1935.  The 1950 Hopalong Cassidy lunchbox was the first one based on a television show.

I also remember back in grade school the “rich” kids had metal lunch boxes with a thermos included, the “poor” kids carried brown bags.

While I was still working, I often stuck a container of food in my purse. One day it leaked. What a mess. The next day my boss brought me an insulated bag with a cat on it. I am still using it. And now, with the gluten-free days, I am taking my lunch more often than not. Van’s gluten free waffles make a great hamburger bun, with a bit of ketchup and mayo, hold the maple syrup.

What did you say you packed for lunch today?



Brownies To Go

Brownies were created when there was a request for a desert for a group of ladies that would be attending a fair in the late 1800s.  They wanted a small cake-like dessert that could be eaten from a boxed lunch.  A Chicago chef, working at the Palmer House Hotel, created the first brownie for the ladies, which featured an apricot glaze and walnuts.  The Palmer House Hotel still serves their original recipe for brownies on their menu.

Which are your favorite brownies: blondies, with no chocolate or the normal chocolate? When I was a kid, my older sister started making congo squares. They were blond brownies with both chocolate and butterscotch chips in them, plus walnuts. A pan of these could disappear in a couple of days when all four of us girls were still home. They were best when still warm and the chips gooey.

Brownies are one desert I buy a package mix for. Betty Crocker makes them just as good as any recipe I have ever tried and with no mess. Currently, they are one of the go-to gluten-free deserts that taste so close to regular you can’t tell the difference.

I think brownies became really popular among college students in the ’60’s when they were laced with a certain weed.  I can honestly say I have never had one of those kind. I don’t think I missed anything. I’ve also heard of adding ex-lax to them when angry at a particular person. Thankfully I’ve never had the honor of eating any of them either. I guess I’ve been lucky.

In the baking aisle of any complete grocery store you can get a good brownie mix and multiple flavors of chips. If you add chocolate mint chips they would fit right in with the rest of your holiday treats.



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