Lunch in the Alps



It's summer of 1990-something and I, being the oldest sibling, thought myself the smartest and therefore the only one truly qualified to educate my uncivilized little brother and sister. I spent the first several weeks pouring through our set of Encyclopedia's, collection of magazines, and old textbooks. I created coloring pages and writing exercises and math worksheets. Then I mapped out bike-ride field trips and rented videos for educational movie marathons. Since I wanted my students to get the most out of the experience I went in search of a nice space to set up the classroom, which turned out to be the little shed in our backyard. I happily swept out the cobwebs and set up a table and folding chairs. Our first day of Home-School finally arrived and I rang the bell to begin as soon as our parents left for work. The plan was to teach, have 'recess' at noon while I cooked lunch, and then watch videos in the afternoon when the summer sun made the building too warm. A week or so later we were learning about different countries of the world and their special holidays, clothes and food. Each day I tried to make a lunch that matched the country we were studying. But on one day in particular I found my teenage self anxiously scanning the options remaining in the refrigerator. There didn't seem to be anything I knew how to prepare and I could hear my siblings getting restless. I quickly decided on grilled cheese sandwiches and veggies. I placed a pot of water on the stove to boil, cut open a bag of peas and poured the vegetables in. It seemed strange that the tiny spheres bouncing out of the bag were very pale compared to their typical green complexion, but I thought the boiling water would correct the issue. A few moments later I placed the golden cheesy sandwiches on the plates and drained the peas. They were still white! How could this be? I could feel the anxious panic gripping my throat and wondered if white peas were poisonous! I carefully sampled a spoonful, just to make sure I could safely serve my siblings. Other than a lingering frozen taste I didn't experience any sudden illness or fainting so I determined the coast was clear and I called the other two in for lunch. I set the plates in front of them and explained that today's lunch was reflective of our study of a variety of European countries including Italy and Austria from whence our Snow Peas originated and were harvested from the Alps! I will never forget how their trusting and curious selves thoughtfully munched away at the 'snow peas' with barely a hesitation. Should I feel guilty for crafting such a culinary canard? I mean, they survived and learned something so.....


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