I am, of course, talking about Parker’s lunch box.
As I explained earlier this summer, the lunch box Parker used last year seemed to be at the end of its lifespan. It was disgusting and smelly and completely uninhabitable and the zipper pulls were coming apart.
This irritated me. I’d spent a long time — way too much time, in fact — last summer hunting for the perfect lunch box.
It needed to be big enough to handle the sometimes impressive volumes of food Parker requires. It needed two compartments (the better to pack hot and cold items in the same lunch). It needed to be insulated. It needed to be easy to open.
And since we are dealing with a 9-year-old boy — the most destructive force in the universe — it needed to be built like a tank and able to withstand the daily abuse he dishes out.
I ended up with this one. It looks large, but it’s actually perfect. At that price, I’d hoped to get a few years out of it.
And then that poor lunch box spent a year in my son’s hands. By this summer it wasn’t happy. Nor was I at the prospect of having to buy another.
Then astute reader Becky suggested what probably was obvious to everyone but me — throw it in the wash. Seriously, I had no idea you could do that with a lunch box. And frankly, I had zero expectation that it would emerge in one piece.
My washing machine tends to eat clothing, never mind things that aren’t supposed to go in it.
But with crossed fingers and a splash of bleach (seriously… the smell and stains were awful), I gave it a try.
It worked!!! Parker’s lunch box came out as clean and fresh as the day I’d bought it. Makes me want to wash it weekly!
Thus encouraged, I used pliers to restore the zipper pulls to their former glory. And with that, I declared it fit for battle for another year.
Many thanks to Becky!
Meanwhile, I wanted to share a few awesome reviews and stories that have come in the past few days.
There is this review today from Epicuious.com — calling it a “highly visual, super-handy guide to building ingenious portable meals.”
There is this great review from blogger Just Plain Sassy, saying: “This book was amazing!! I am using it as reference! It gave me so many great ideas for food my kids will eat, because kids demand better food than that same old PB&J, chips & a drink box!!”
There was this great story in the Concord Monitor yesterday, saying the book is jammed “with tips and innovations laid out in user-friendly word-bubbles atop the dazzling photographs by AP food photographer Matthew Mead, and a few workhorse recipes thrown in for the planners among us.”
And finally, this story in yesterday’s The Daily Meal, a collection of 10 lunch packing tips I culled from the book.