These days my lunch tends to be coffee and cigarettes, and doesn’t require a lunch box. That’s good, because packed lunches aren’t what they used to be, thanks to terrible inventions like cheeze ztringz and ‘lunch bags’ (which are absolutely no use in a fight).

If you want to do a proper packed lunch, you need to follow my handy and informative guide to not doing it like a div. That way, you can take your rightful place in the hall, sitting around those gold metal water jugs.

Now then.

Lunch box

RB lunch box

The cartoon or heartthrob of the day was the best thing to have on your lunch box, although there was an unwritten rule in our school which meant having a Take That lunch box would get you branded a ‘girl’. Even if you were a girl, this was unacceptable.

For a good few years at primary school I had an ace Rainbow lunch box, and then I don’t remember what I had so it must have been rubbish. Kilroy or something.

Also, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t have a He-Man lunch box just because you’re 34 and work in a bank. Those people are just jealous because you look cool and hard and they don’t.



The main meal of the day for packed lunch-ers everywhere. No exceptions – don’t try to be fancy by turning up with lobster. Peanut butter or Dairylea, cut into halves or quarters (not triangles unless you went to public school), and wrapped in a food bag. Sometimes people’s sandwiches were wrapped in tin foil, but that was always gross for some reason. Crusts are a matter for your own discretion, but do remember that they make your hair go curly.


space raiders

Big area for debate here, but generally crisps were the norm at our school. Nowadays, crisps are illegal and kids are forced to have carrot sticks as a “treat”. The parents that pack carrot sticks in the crisps area of the lunchbox are the same parents who take their kids to McDonalds and then make them have a fruit bag, when all they really want is a Super fun happy choco e-number sundae. These children will grow up to be serial killers, or Gillian McKeith, and no one wants that.

My personal favourites are Square crisps and Fish n Chips. Alternatives such as Nik Naks, Space Raiders, Monster Munch, Frisps and Tomato Snaps are acceptable. Occasionally you can include a Dairylea triangle, but this must only ever be an accompaniment.



The hard line parents described above might actually give some ground here – if you count ‘allowing your child to have a strawberry yoghurt when all the other kids have Trios and Blue Ribands’. However, yoghurt will never come in for the same abuse as carrot sticks, on account of not being EVIL.

Speaking of Trios, do you guys want to read about when I tried to eat 36 of them in one go?

Whether biscuit, cake or yoghurt, your dessert must have some element of chocolate in order to gain the most cool points. The only notable exception to this rule is a Fiendish Feet yoghurt. That way, if anyone sasses you over your pudding, you can just show them your yoghurt pot and they will immediately shit themselves.

A brief aside on the subject of ‘swaps’. Personally, I always found the idea of eating food other children had handled repulsive, with their snot and their wee and their sticking their fingers where they didn’t belong. I suspect all the other kids felt the same, and that’s why no one really swapped at our school. It didn’t occur to us that A) sandwiches were wrapped and only touched by parents, B) crisps were in bags, and C) desserts were (mostly) wrapped. We still didn’t risk it – germs are everywhere. Also we were idiots. If you’re going to swap your hard-earned Penguin or Munch Bunch ‘Charlie Chocolate’ yoghurt for something, make sure it’s something valuable, like a car.



In a ‘roughneck’ flask that matched your lunchbox. This will smell of old orange squash, even if it is brand new.

Squash was the preferred drink. Not pop, because the gas would make the top of your flask fly off/explode. A few exceptions –

  • Bringing a carton of Um Bongo or a Capri Sun
  • Getting water from the gold jug
  • That’s it.

Some weirdos used to bring soup in their flasks. This is not acceptable but I will say this – have you ever tried messing with a kid holding a flask full of hot soup? No, because you don’t.

My stupid novel is here if you’re interested. I like selling books, it gives my life some meaning.

8 thoughts on “Your lunch box: a guide

  1. The lunchbox/roughneck flask combo fell out of favour once I was a bit older, and people had plastic boxes with tight-fitting kids, covered in Flintstones and Scooby Doo stickers from the dentist.

    It was around then that my mum insisted on buying little cartons of apple/orange/pineapple/radish/whatever juice that had a straw stuck to them. The only good thing about them was that you could squeeze them gently and replicate that Castrol GTX advert where the oil dribbles everywhere, but then you didn’t have a drink.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think there’s a whole article here just on drinks- King Size Ribena (the red one too)), Just Juice if you were boring 5 Alive (my favourite) and of course the king- Um Bongo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am laughing so hard at this! It’s amazing the memories that come flooding back, just like my flooded sandwiches back in 86. Diluting Orange was what leaked out of my flask though.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fiendish Feet were mega. The only truly high concept yoghurt. Its scandalous that they no longer exist and that whoever invented them isn’t the richest person in the world.



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