For those that are unfamiliar with the cheese string, this in a piece of highly processed cheese shaped into a tube (or string) and individually wrapped in plastic. Simultaneously environmentally unfriendly, expensive and completely redundant (what’s wrong with cutting off a few pieces of cheese and packing them for an outing?), the cheese string exemplifies the many wrongs of our modern world. Unchecked consumerism contributing to economic and ecological instability, a convenience food of questionable nutritional value, the cheese string has many social and nutritional wrong-doings wrapped up in its individual plastic package.
I have a confession to make – after six years of parenting I turned to the cheese string in a crisis.
The day of the cheese string happened early one morning the kids when were yelling for food; I knew they needed something more than one drive thru meal to sustain them on a day of going to three different appointments in three different cities. I sent Hubby into a grocery store to buy cheese strings, fresh fruit and juice boxes while I went to the first appointment. We normally have healthy snacks packed for such occasions, but between being too busy with appointments and packing up (and moving!) our entire household, this essential task was neglected.
With the first appointment done, and the kids back in the car I offered cheese strings to the famished passengers. Six year old Mr. Sensitive, a veteran of Kindergarten and aware of all things cool in kids’ lunches, clamoured for the cheese strings. Marketing pays off, even if you never see the ad personally (we don’t have TV).
Three year old Little Miss Adorable and toddler Dunk were more suspicious. The Dunk took a few bites, and Little Miss Adorable threw hers somewhere inside the vent system of our minivan.
One busy day (and cheese string purchase) led to another, soon we had an entire week of take out and prepackaged food behind us. Our excuse was ‘we’re moving, we don’t have time to cook.’ Honestly, during these days I felt like a chef if I cooked pasta and reheated frozen meatballs, and dumped a jarful of sauce over the works.
One forgettable meal after another, soon our recycling bin was filled with empty pizza boxes. I hoped the garbage men wouldn’t sit in judgement on me.
Don’t worry, once we moved to Smalltown, Ontario, we became veterans of the different farmer’s markets, and now eschew produce that has travelled over 100 miles. And we avoid cheesestrings too!