What’s inside a lunchbox in 2018? Date and tahini protein balls with activated buckinis? A mason jar full of bircher muesli and low-fat yoghurt? A can of oxygen?
Things were simpler in the ‘90s. We liked our snacks sugary, our colours artificial and our Tamagotchis alive. The only ‘health food’ on the market was Diet Coke. Loud and colourful ads for Roll-Ups and Dunkeroos filled our screens during Agro’s Cartoon Connection. If you’re not familiar with Agro, he was basically a puppet troll-man with a unibrow who told rude jokes and definitely thrived before the #metoo movement.
Our parents didn’t completely outsource lunch making duties to Uncle Toby. There was usually a hastily thrown together sandwich in there. You had two sanga options – squashed Vegemite with Meadow Lea or squashed cheese and tomato (served wet). The sandwich was something to be endured, and the reward afterwards was a delicious a Le Snack, Kabana sausage or a fun size packet Tasty Toobs.
So this recess, join me inside the big tractor tire with spiders in it, as we reminisce about the most iconic lunchbox snacks of the ‘90s.
‘Real fruit, flat out!’ the ad shouted. Later at the supermarket, I was flat out nagging my mum to buy these. It was tough work and took persistence and dedication. She repeatedly said no, calling them ‘fake junk’. So I’d sneak them into the trolley under the fish fingers. This always backfired at the checkout, of course. But sometimes if she was feeling particularly beaten-down, she’d just groan and hand a fifty over to the check-out chick. Yessssss! To be honest, I’m not sure why I wanted Roll-Ups so much. They taste like a cordial-soaked yoga mat.
When questioned by psychologists about our deepest desires, it’s clear that humans want one thing more than anything else – to eat Nutella out of the jar. Dunkaroos provide us with an opportunity to live out this fantasy in a slightly more structured, socially acceptable way. ‘I’m dipping biscuits!’ You think. But you know the biscuits are inconsequential. They’re a tool used to mine that sweet, sweet hazelnut spread. Go on, just cut out the middle-man and eat Nutella out of the jar. There’s no shame here. Only love.
Kids go wacko for Kabana! Full of meaty goodness, these savoury sticks are a tasty treat for children of all breeds. Chewing on Kabana helps combat gum disease and will ensure your child has a lush, silky coat.
Yeah nah, these are foul. This is like a Kraft single, but fashioned into a shaft. The whole idea is that you peel off the cheese in sections, like that scene out of Black Swan where she peels the skin off her fingers. In the ‘90s, I distinctly remember seeing an ad for a version of this made of ham. Ham Stringers. They disappeared pretty quickly, so I can only assume they were made illegal and the manufacturers went to jail for selling pigeon meat.
Did you know that ‘Le Snack’ means ‘The Snack’ in French? It’s said that French sailors brought Le Snacks to Australia back in the 19th century, along with croissants and tongue kissing. They were a huge hit! After a hard day of finding gold nuggets and committing genocide, early settlers would sit down and unwind by the billy with some cheese and biccies.
Mother Nature be like ‘Hey, hold my beer while I create the perfect lunchbox snack.’ Bananas are tasty, healthy and even come in they’re own biodegradable packaging. Yet bananas are universally rejected by children around Australia. ‘YES TO KABANA! NO TO BANANA!’ We would chant, throwing our bananas over the fence and into the elderly neighbour’s yard. It’s not understood why children hate bananas so much. Is it the smell? Is because they’re shaped like a wang? One thing’s for sure, bananas would always end up liquefied at the bottom of our Sonic the Hedgehog school bags.
Image credit: Simone Bennett