Lunch pails have certainly come a very long way! We went from using oiled goatskins, to being able to purchase accessories for lunch boxes! It is actually unproven that oiled goatskins were used as lunch boxes. However, it is a little known (but well documented) fact that they were used as early as 3000 BC by the Persians as water carriers. It is quite possible that they, at some point, could have been used as lunch boxes
What about lunch boxes anyway? By the 1800’s, it was not a sign, as it is today, of showing off favorite television characters, comic book heroes or pop-idols. It literally was a sign of poverty. Those that carried lunch boxes showed that they just did not have the money for a warm, hearty meal.
Is this true? That just because they carried a lunch box, they did not have hearty meals? Cold food, no doubt. Nevertheless, just because it came out of a box and carried cold food does not mean it cannot be hearty! Even in the 1800’s this would ring true. Today, there are so many options. We do not even have to use bread any more! There are choices of tortilla wraps, assorted sandwich rolls such as hoagie, pita sandwiches, or even just meat wrapped with lettuce
In the 1800’s, what choices did they have for those hearty meals? Milk, cheese, fruit, meat and bread. Does not sound too much different from ours. In reality, it was a world of difference.
What made their lunches better than ours? So many things contribute to this. First, they had homemade bread. It was heavy, mainly because the real nutrients were not stripped from the wheat before baking. The bread by itself constituted a hearty meal. The meat was fresh~ fresh as in they killed the animal themselves and no preservatives were added. The fruit was picked quite possibly on the way to work or at the worksite itself. Therefore, no chemicals were added. The milk came fresh from the cows or goats that morning, and the cheeses were made either right there on the farm, or were purchased from a nearby neighbor.
Oh, yes. So many things made their meals not only heartier, but also healthier than ours. Although they definitely had their share of illnesses stemming from being too fresh (such as salmonella related deaths and illnesses in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s before milk processing laws were established), I still think that overall, theirs was a healthier, heartier meal.
Many healthy things can be packed into those lunch boxes we now have. Mostly, we need to be sure that they are packed with love, with nurturing and with tenderness and care. You can even purchase lunch box accessories if you wish! I have seen items such as folding cutlery sets, sandwich shaped hard plastic containers, cloth napkin sets, containers that contain ice and have dividers.
Lunch boxes are no longer a sign of wealth, or lack thereof. We have really come far from oiled goatskin water carriers!