While I’ve spent some time writing about what goes on during recess in the past few weeks in Recess Road Trips, I haven’t written about one of the most important recess activities, the all-so-important eating of the snack. Along with the chance to run, talk and play, refueling is the other major purpose of recess.
Most children are starving by mid morning, so recess cuisine is an essential. Everyone is chatting and chewing while playing. When I was in school I thought everyone’s food looked better than mine, so I was always trying to strike up a trade. Actually, everyone’s food was better than mine, or so I thought. My mother had many talents, but preparing creative lunchbox snacks wasn’t one of them. I longed in vain for the home baked treats the other kids had, and couldn’t ever get any takers for the apple I was offering in exchange.
These days recess bartering is pretty rare. Why, you may ask? First of all, children are discouraged from sharing, as allergies are always something to consider when food is exchanged. Also, the tables have turned since I was in school. The snacks have become so healthy that there’s not much incentive to barter. Trading grapes for blueberries just doesn’t seem like much of a trade up. Most kids decide they may as well just happily eat the grapes and be done with it. As you can see from the pictures of random snacks from Dixon and Brighouse Elementary Schools, fruit outnumbers empty calories. In case you’re wondering how the permission to photograph snacks was obtained, I asked the puzzled owners of each of these snacks if I could take a picture of their food. While they were too polite to refuse, I got plenty of suspicious looks about this. Investigative blogging has its downside, no doubt about it.
Yes, there are rare sightings of chips or cookies, but healthy snacks rule at recess. I haven’t seen any pop on the playground at all to date, and in fact, this would be a downright shocking turn of events, given the sea of healthy food that would surround it. I guess my mom was way ahead of her time with the apple as a snack idea, but the world has caught up with her, at least when it comes to recess in Richmond.