I might be hurting myself here by admitting that my mom made my school lunches every day right up until graduation. I know most kids took over that responsibility in the 6th grade, but I'm sure if I lived at home I'd still be bringing "Cake in a Bag" lunches to uni.
My mom will be the first to admit that she wasn't Stepford material when it came to making our lunches. But as disorganized as she always was, it was infinitely better than letting my dad make you a sandwich. I think I was actually given a jam, Cheese Whiz, Marmite, ham sandwich once (you'll notice the overuse of condiments, refer back to "The Kitchen" post).
So let me explain this a little better. The reason why I have dubbed lunches prepared by my mom "Cake in a Bag" is because absolutely everything went in one. And I don't mean nicely wrapped and placed in brown lunch bags. I mean plastic sandwich bags.
My earliest memory of these bagged lunches is way back when we still lived in Nova Scotia. I must have been five or six. My mom had sent me to school with half a jar of applesauce dumped into a zip-lock bag. I was so made fun of for it that I put it back in my rabbit-shaped knapsack and ate it back at home.
Another lunch, more common in my high school days, was the build-your-own hot-dog in a bag. This was a two-bag lunch. The first zip-lock would contain the cooked hot dog and bun, the second would contain all the condiments. Ketchup, mustard and relish would be squeezed into a bag and left to mingle together until noon. Once my friends and I had made our way to the cafeteria, I would have to turn the bag with the unhappy-looking mixture inside out and wipe it onto the hot-dog. People noticed.
Then there was the grocery bag, bagged lunch. There are two versions of this. One version is the makeshift sandwich bag. This is a grocery bag, knotted, then cut above the knot. The second is the more complex double tied, stacked lunch.
Step one: untie the first knot, get samosa. Step two: untie second knot, rub sauce-covered bag on samosa. Step three: eat as your peers watch in disgust.
Now, the most famous of all bagged lunches, the one that really seemed to make an impression on people was the favourite "Cake in a Bag".
"Cake in a Bag" was a constant throughout my whole school career. If we had cake at home, for some reason, we would also get some in our school lunches as a special treat. So, if we had your standard birthday cake with icing at home, my mom would cut off a huge piece and stuff it into a zip-lock.
On some unfortunate occasions, the bag would be overstuffed and burst open in your knapsack, covering everything in chocolate and butter icing. Not having a lunch box, these bagged lunches would hastily get thrown in with your books--getting pretty squished up--and becoming pretty unidentifiable.
Maybe the reason Cake in a Bag is the most famous of the Biagi lunches is because of the way you would end up eating it. Since my mom was usually too rushed to remember a spoon, we would end up squeezing the now mostly liquidized cake into our mouth, like a tube of toothpaste.
Unfortunately, these are the habits that seem to get passed down from parent to child: like the time I was working in the A-Team office and took my surprise birthday cake home by squishing it into large zip-lock as confused coworkers and producers looked on. How professional of me.
One of the downfalls of being brought up Biagi is that you eventually begin to think this is the normal way of doing things. It isn't until you notice the wide-eyed stares are that you begin to question it. In other words, until it's too late.