Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 09.5.15
Stanstead, Quebec


Back to School Lunch Time

It's Back-To-School time, and you know what that means. Surrendering your child to teachers, who everyone agrees 100-percent-no-question do the most noble job in the world, though, sure, there are bad ones, just like there are incompetent doctors or "too gropey" masseurs, and this is your child we're talking about after all, so you can never 100-percent-no-question give your child's teachers the benefit of the doubt, but still you don't want to let on because, you know, why make your kid a target, which is why you wear that silly grin on Parent-Teacher Night?

Yes, that.

But also it's Back-To-School-Lunch time. That's right, school lunches. So you can wipe that silly grin off your face.

Thankfully, Back-To-School-Lunch time coincides with Good-God-Garden-Glut time, that period of the vegetable-growing season when your weeding and fertilizing and weeding and more weeding bear fruit – - more fruit, in fact, than you could possibly know what to do with, even if they are punky and weirdly misshapen fruit. And by "fruit" I mean "zucchini."

What better way, then, to use up your fall harvest than by passing them off to your unsuspecting children in creative, healthy and borderline cruel ways. Try these simple lunch and snack suggestions. I SAID TRY THEM!

Sorry. That was the rutabaga talking.

Monday: The Carrots of the Caribbean

Ahoy, To-Matey! Your children will "treasure" this pirate-themed snack. It'll shiver their timbers and shake their booty. (Consult your child's school regarding restrictions on shaking, booty-wise.) Your children may even ship out to sea for five years, after which they'll maybe appreciate how you slave to put food on the table, the scurvy dogs!

Take three carrots of any length, though who's kidding whom? You haven't grown anything longer than three inches. That's fine. Wipe dirt off with your fingers because who has time for washing? Dirt equals authentic. Lash the carrots together using the enchanted golden tresses of a glittering mermaid or household twine.

Next, populate your carrot "raft" with green bean buccaneers, cucumber conquistadors, and scallion rapscallions. Run them through with the cold steel of death! Or in this case wooden toothpicks. Finally, add an authentic quarantine of spotty tomato chunks – - the cursed plague! "Arrrgh"? How about "Yummm!"

Garnish with zucchini oars.

Tuesday: Beets-Side Yourself Sandwich

You know what's just like bread? Zucchini! If you slice it just so and slather it with butter, margarine, Penzoil, or the topping of your choice, it's exactly like regular white bread. With a green crust. And seeds! Everybody loves seeds. And everybody loves beets, except for the many, many people who don’t.

But your child is not many people. If "many people" jumped off a bridge, would they be able to eat these beets? Of course not. So it's up to your child. Take cooked beets, slice into circles and layer them between two thick slices of way-too-giant zucchini. Why not make that a double-decker zuke-wich. A triple! How about a zucchini panini! My God, so many beets! For extra surprise fun, don't tell your child about the miracle of beet digestion.

Wednesday: Beyond Cucumberdome

In a world where cucumbers litter the earth, one mom has the courage to pick them all - - and serve them for lunch.

Here's a simple and effective way to use up those surplus cukes. First, find an ordinary paper bag. Then, fill the bag with sharks, at least two, but more are better. Next, put the cucumbers in the bag. Eleven cucumbers go into the lunch bag, three come out. The sharks took the rest. You know the thing about a shark, he's go lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eye. Until he bites a cucumber and those black eyes roll over white. Doesn't work with turnip, though.

Serve the surviving cucumbers in a bowl. You're going to need a bigger bowl.

Thursday: Big Bag of Tomatoes Tomatoes. In a big bag.

Friday: Zucchini Boats

The day prior, finely grate three two-litre buckets of zucchini. This should use up three or four of them. Salt the grated zucchini and let drain thoroughly, rinsing often and squeezing out liquid. Combine the zucchini with a cup of flour, three tablespoons of oil and a tablespoon of baking soda. Spread the zucchini paste onto several cookie sheets and bake at 325F until firm. Let cool. Meanwhile, you will have read up on how to make large-scale origami boats, which you will now proceed to make out of the flat zucchini sheets. Present your best and truest giant zucchini origami boat when you visit your child's principal, whose call you will have received by now.