The only lunch that I remember in grade school included deli ham on Wonder Bread with mayonnaise, two cookies, a quartered navel orange and a container of milk. I’m sure there were other menus, but this must have been a favorite, although I would have to be pretty hungry to eat that sandwich today. The image of me sitting at a cafeteria table eating what I’m sure represented a labor of love for my mother is one of my fondest childhood memories.
The orange was an extremely important part of the meal. My devotion to oranges would manifest itself throughout my life. For instance, when I was expecting my daughter for three months I had to have an orange every day, or I was crazed (metaphorically speaking). I’m sure we all agree that food is more to us than tasty offerings, lack of hunger or nutrition. Lately, I’ve been thinking about a New York Times article about food that I read decades ago. Was it not the simplest good, the writer insisted?
At the time, I considered her position charming, even quaint. But I have definitely changed my thinking, most recently today when an orange at breakfast (it wasn’t even that good) took me back to a mundane but emotionally charged recollection.