Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I grew up eating only cereal for breakfast, usually cheerios. My dad ate wheaties every day of his working life and they were always an option, but I was put off bran-flake type cereal for about 10 years after I discovered an infestation of itty bitty mealworms halfway through a giant bowl of wheaties. To this day, I have a bowl of cereal every single day for breakfast. I never get tired of cereal.

Lunch is different. Growing up, lunch was two cookies, a piece of fruit, and a sandwich comprised of wheat bread (which I hated), one slice of meat, and one slice of cheese. I went through lunch-meat fads (bologna! Ham! Chicken loaf! *shudders*) and after about a year of eating whatever, I never wanted to have it again. By the end of high school, I couldn’t stand sandwiches.

Then I got into fieldwork and sandwiches became my default lunch again. Does anybody who’s worked in the field more than a couple years actually enjoy sandwiches? How about sandwiches that were slapped together 7 hours before, have spent some time marinating in the sun, and have been mangled by various field implements in the field bag? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

I will eat anything other than sandwiches for lunch if possible. Aged leftovers? Check. Ramen noodles? Check. A varied selection of vending machine snacks? Check. I need to be ravenous (i.e. in the field after a long, hard morning) in order to overcome my aversion to sandwiches. And it’s too bad. They’re super cheap, relatively shelf-stable, and don’t require any other gear to eat.

Hmm. I should try some sandwich alternatives. Hummus and pita bread? Granola bars? Nuts? I’ll have to work on that.


A Life Long Scholar said...

I have never eaten sandwiches in the field. Even when I did field camp as an undergrad it was rarely necessary (though they provided plenty of bread, peanut butter, and jelly). Instead I would pack leftovers from dinner the night before, fruit, nuts, whatever else came to hand. I much prefer snacking on tiny amounts of food all day long than eating big meals, and with grazing, it is easier to have lots of little things than to pack sandwiches.

I was also a cereal for breakfast every morning person, and growing up we tended to have many different types in the house at once, and I'd alternate between them as the mood took me. Then I spent the summer of 1990 at the Oslo International Summer School, where the cafeteria had muesli available for breakfast, and I became a convert. I now mix my own by purchasing rolled oats and other grains, nuts, seeds, raisins and other dried fruit. Now my breakfasts are a nice healthy blend of several food groups, and I'm never, ever, tired of them.

Kim said...

I do hummus + pita bread a lot, sometimes with cheese. I've also made burritos - some people in my grad school research group argued that they warm up nicely in the sun at the top of a pack.

Anonymous said...

I do bring sandwiches in the field, because they're quick and easy, though not always the most exciting thing. I like to switch it up sometimes with cheese and crackers, or hummus and pita (like already mentioned). Another idea is to make wraps instead of sandwiches. A little more interesting, and less carbs!