Lunchbox Memories

tuna-packed piquillo peppers


tuna salad with mayo, black pepper, and chopped celery. white bread (crusts off, naturally). green grapes. carrot sticks. wheat thins. a peggy lawton cookie

That was my standard elementary school lunch. The memory came to me a couple of months ago when the good folks at Food52 started tweeting and posting “Amanda’s (Hesser) Kids’ Lunch.” Unsurprisingly, twins Walker and Addie eat better than I do on most some days. On a scale from Lunchables to Amanda’s Kids’ Lunch, I think mine sat respectably in the middle. That’s not too bad considering that access to information about “good food” wasn’t as egalitarian when I was that age as it is now (thank you, internet).

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Stress Snacks

lyonnaise garlic and herb cheese


For two out of my four years at Boston University, I was lucky enough to live in the Maison Française (French House). Unfortunately, we didn’t speak as much French as we were supposed to. Fortunately, though, my backyard was a walking bridge across Storrow Drive and to the Charles; my room was cramped but fitted with a swanky fireplace with white molding that was boarded up with marble tile; and like proper Francophiles, almost all of my housemates liked to eat good food (well, most of them, anyways). I found it impossible to do work in our living room where study sessions turned to chatter sessions and silent reading meant pretending to read while watching something on our great flat screen. As a diligent little worker-bee, I tried my room, the library, the student union, the College of Arts and Sciences and cafés. So most days, I swallowed my pride, and made the convenient trek directly across the street to Towers, an underclass dorm that made me feel oh-so young. Fitted with two study rooms, though, it was my second home on regular days and my only home come exam periods.

When I entered my study room of choice, I was always greeted by the same faces, pale and gaunt with fatigue and longing for a break. These were some of BU’s most dedicated — a group of which, if I could go back, I wish I wasn’t a part. I missed out on a lot of life in that hall, studying for things that now don’t seem all that important. The souls behind those faces were silent friends. They weren’t the ones you spend time with on weekends but the kind who nod when you pass just due to recognition. They’d often flash an expression that called out, “I know your pain.” I mean, during finals period, I would spend hours upon countless hours with them.

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For the Love of Brown

almond flounder meunière


My favorite color is and always will be brown. Brown. Brown is neither dull nor dark. It’s neither one-dimensional nor ordinary. In grade school, I used to fake it. While the girls declared their love for purple and donned their pinkest duds for the first day, I would say I liked blue or something, my neutral and monochromatic ensembles pointing to another affinity.

Brown is the richest of all the colors. It’s the color of the tea that calms my nerves and its usual dark chocolate accompaniment. The French word, “brun,” is essentially an adjective used to describe brown or dark hair, eyes, etc. Coincidentally, it was one of the hardest for me to pronounce when I first started learning. Always having trouble with “r” in any language, English included, I couldn’t fathom jumping from the bilabial “b” to that distinct French “r” with much success. It took years and a French minor to perfect it. Now, I think it’s one of the most beautiful words in a beautiful language. It’s even the name of the only eye shadow that ever tints the lids of my green (unfortunately not brown) eyes.

Brown was the color of the fallen leaves when, two years ago, I suddenly found myself struggling to walk. The shattering crunch they made beneath my feet distracted me from each painstaking step. It was on those walks that I continuously questioned the path I was following. Now, I can run, but I still look forward to their beautiful sound and what thoughts they might provoke.

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