The Amish Cook: The pink lunchbox saga brings back memories

Published 8:41 am Wednesday, June 14, 2017



I’ve always dreamt of being a schoolteacher. As a little girl I imagined what it would be like to teach the lower graders, watching them learn to write and read. Somehow little children have always had a special place in my heart.

Email newsletter signup

I loved being a big sister and having younger siblings to tell stories and teach new things. Their favorites were hearing stories about the day of their birth and how excited we were to welcome them into our family.

Another story they were always ready to hear was about our two stillborn sisters whom we had been so eager to meet, but then were devastated to find that they had passed away. The highlight of this story was about how they went to Heaven to be with Jesus where we will all go someday.

Time kept ticking onward. When I was 15 I was a teacher’s helper at our church school. Several years later when the school board was looking for a teacher my hopes began inching up. Would this be my chance to fulfill my dream of teaching young children. But then my mother really needed me to help her at home. 

My dreams of teaching school had to be put on a shelf.  “Maybe later,” I told myself.

As things turned out, several weeks after my 19th birthday a young man from Danville, Ohio requested my friendship. As our courtship began and our relationship progressed I knew without a doubt that teaching school would definitely need to be put on hold. Even though I had dreamt of becoming a teacher it paled to the thought of being Daniel’s wife and a stay-at-home mom with children of our own.

Now eight years later I have a 5-year-old daughter who loves drawing, coloring, and writing. She plans to go to kindergarten this fall, then to first grade the following year.

Now, here’s the question that has been on my mind for some time: “How am I supposed to not teach my daughter to read?” Finally, I talked with our lower grade teacher who teachers grades 1 – 4 and asked her opinion about having children know how to read before first grade. She explained to me that she has no problem with it as long as  they blend with the rest of their class as they go through their workbooks even if they have already learned the basic concepts. And, in case you are wondering, were are working on learning to read English even though we speak mainly German. Julia will learn her German reading in school.

I simply couldn’t wait any longer. I don’t know who is the most excited, Julia or me. Today she is learning her first word starters. It’s so amazing to me how God created these young brains to learn and store so much information.

Julia was all smiles when I told her that we could pack her lunch bucket one of these days when we’re playing school. Actually her pink lunch box is quite special to me too.  When I started first grade I was very proud of my brand new pink lunch bucket. Amazingly it hung together all eight years I went to school. Then, interestingly enough, my younger sister Mary Grace started first grade the year after I graduated and used my pink bucket for her eight years of school! The latter years it was only sentimental determination that kept her using the prized lunch box. Dad glued it numerous times from the wear and tear. After her graduation the two of us had a tough time deciding who got to keep the old faithful lunch box. It turned out that I found one identical to it in the thrift shop, so Mary Grace got to keep the old one. I knew I had to buy one for my daughter even though she was only three years old now.

Occasionally I pack it for her on special occasions, tomorrow will hopefully be one of them when we play school. We’ll be eating on our back porch, right next to the woods. Lunch will probably consist of pizza cups, fruit, cupcakes (Julia’s favorite) and some fresh, homemade ice tea.

 The pizza cups are something you may enjoy making. With Daniel being a “pizza person” I’m always delighted to try a new version of pizza so I am eager to hear his opinion of this new idea.

Julia’s pizza cups

1 10-ounce can biscuits (or make your own)

3/4 pound ground beef

 3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup pizza sauce

 3/4 cup shredded cheese of your choice

Brown and drain beef. Add salt and pizza sauce. Place biscuits in a grease muffin tin (press into bottom and up the sides). Next, spoon about 1/4 cup meat mixture into biscuit lined cups and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400 for 12 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Remove from muffin tins to serve. Yield, 12 tasty pizza cups.

Note: other items like onion, peppers, and mushrooms may be sprinkled on top of meat mixture.