Published August 29, 2016 at Huffington Post
Dear Bon Appetit,
You may have just lost me. I have been, until today, a lover of all things you. I subscribe to your magazine and gush over the pictures. My husband and I shout recipe ideas over the sound of our screaming children. "We should make this on Saturday," I'll say. He'll agree and offer to make a list of whatever ingredients we may not have in our pantry. We dream up dinner parties as we page through each new edition. And I love your emails. My husband and I race to forward them to one and other. "Subject: Tonight?"
But I thought you understood me too. I thought we were simpatico. But now, I know, we are as far apart as Earth from the most recently identified planet with the possibility of life. You just don't get me. Today, I received this in my inbox: 30-quick-easy-school-lunches-to pack for kids. I got excited. My two children go to school. My two children need lunch. I need these lunches to be "quick and easy" as I am a teacher, who needs to be out of the house by 6:30. I do not have time to labor over the oven in the morning. I require speed and convenience. I assumed that was what I was getting when I clicked on your oh so tempting link. But, Bon Appetit, this time, you failed me.
You gave me zucchini pancakes, and pinto bean and ham tortas. You gave me vegetarian sushi and fresh herb falafel. You gave me noodle salad with chile scallion oil. You were wrong on so many levels, that it became hard for me to click through the slideshow of insanity. It's not that my children don't like good food. Well, at least one of them inherited our foodie genes. My daughter eats raw oysters and crumbled blue cheese. She loves tuna and avocado sushi. But she is 6 and 1/2 and does not love spice. So, chili oil, maybe not so much. But it's not even the ingredients your recipes call for. There is nothing quick or easy, or even lunch-box-compatible in these meals. Is my daughter meant to know how to construct her own tofu summer roll out of lettuce, fresh basil, cucumbers and carrots, each placed neatly in their own adorable container? And when exactly are my husband and I supposed to have the time to be stirring in "thinly sliced scallions (green parts), toasted sesame seeds, and chopped peanuts" to my daughter's "quick fried rice"? This is, of course, ignoring the fact that my son eats only cream cheese sandwiches (to which you suggest adding sliced salami and pickles), or Wow butter and jelly sandwiches (because peanuts aren't allowed). So, forgive me if I'm not seeing how this relates in any way to me, or any mother I know, for that matter.
It pains me to say, that you may have lost touch with us "normals." Our kids run around the kitchen island screaming, often naked, with a granola bar in one hand and their sibling's favorite stuffy in the other. Their lunches consist of basic sandwiches. These may include the gourmet turkey and cheese, with a vegetable/fruit pouch, and a bar of sorts. I have bought sandwich rounds (circular bread) so that I don't have to take the time to cut off the crust for my son. That is to say that our mornings are about survival. They are about getting out the door. They are about brushing teeth, wearing clothes that approximate the weather outside, and finding shoes. Because, god knows, the pair is never together. The right one is behind the chair, and the left is under the couch. Or upside down at the bottom of the stairs. Or under a bed in the wrong child's room.
Perhaps Gwyneth Paltrow is now doing your editing. It is clearly no longer someone in touch with those of us who work, and don't have nannies. Because we are all about the basics. We are all about just making it by the skin of our teeth through the mornings. We are not making sweet potato and black bean burritos on a week day. I'm not sure who is.