Oct 15, 2008

Third Grade International Food Meltdown

Help me. Please.

On Oct. 25 the third grade will have an International Lunch. That's all very well and good. But then they put us hapless parents into culinary straitjackets that we just cannot wiggle out of. Here are the restrictions primly listed on the memo, in which the lunch sounds less and less fun the farther down the list you get.

Our contribution must be . . . Asian. You know, like the wontons my Irish ancestors always fried up in a pot with the kelp, or hmmm, how about that pretty mean Pad Thai that John's Swiss German Mennonites made . . . a little melted Emmenthaler on the top. Yum.)

No refrigeration is available. Forget the vegetarian sushi from Trader Joe's.

No oven or microwave is available. Forget any main dish that isn't sushi.

Bring enough for two to four children. OK, nothing large, not a big problem.

Nothing can be packed up and brought home with the children. Nothing large. Again.

We're supposed to list the ingredients. That may not be possible if I get it from Shere-e-Punjab.

Nothing can be cooked or prepared with peanuts. Fair enough. We're pretty used to that one. But I don't want to inspect Shere-e-Punjab's kitchen.

At least we get to pick which course. Hmmm. Asian desserts don't do a lot for me. So not that. Jack likes gulab jamun, there's a thought. But that sticky syrup might spill . . . I think I'm going to pick up four samosas at Shere-e-Punjab. Usually I like to cook something for special meals like this, but all these stipulations have whittled down the universe of delectable dishes down to almost nothing but fortune cookies. And no one makes those.

Any suggestions?