Long before they became the ironic purse of choice for Brooklyn hipsters, the school lunch box gave elementary school students one of their first opportunities for individual self-expression. (That and truancy. And then driving an ATV directly into social studies class. But we grew up in the South.)
Selecting the right lunch box was (and is) the childhood version of picking out your Facebook profile picture -- it's not just about who you are. It's about how you want to be seen by the world.
While the use of high-tech, insulated lunch bags has threatened to overtake the entire industry in recent years, there remains a dedicated faction of lunchanistas committed to the traditional box style concept. Lunch boxes are sturdier, look cooler and can double as a shield in your child's next dodge ball game or food fight.
All lunch boxes really need is a pop culture update. We've created a few (totally fake, sadly not-for-sale) examples to send your child back to school feeling confident about their identity as well as the integrity of that peanut butter and fluff sandwich that you packed with loving care, and with the intent of surviving an ATV crash into the side of a brick building.
Distrustful of the student government and the federally subsidized hot-lunch program, the youngster sporting a <a href="http://www.hulu.com/watch/412063" target="_hplink">Ron Swanson</a> lunch box packs their own meal. Oh, and forget milk in that thermos –- it’s much more useful as a bacon warmer. Lunch box and all foods therein are available now at Food ‘n Stuff. <em>-- Courtney Hyde</em>
Made of recycled aluminum and assembled in an eco-friendly factory that pays its workers a living wage, the <em>Rachel Maddow Show</em> lunchbox is perfect for the idealistic student council president or debate team superstar. All <em>RMS</em> lunch boxes come with a complete mixology set for Friday afternoon "Cocktail Moments" and a spare set of reading glasses so that you're always able to scan ingredients and ensure they're Monsanto free. That makes the <em>Rachel Maddow Show</em> lunch box the best new thing in the world this week. <em>-- Liz Brown</em>
The tyke who totes a Heisenberg <em>Breaking Bad</em> lunchbox is a complex child. He is both the five-time winner of the school Science Fair and the schoolyard bully. He’s also in the “empire business,” selling 96% pure rock candy in the cafeteria. If you’re thinking of tattling on this kid, “your best course would be to tread lightly.” -- <em>Courtney Hyde</em>
The stylish <a href="http://www.hulu.com/watch/408506" target="_hplink">Olivia Pope</a> lunch purse is perfect for any schoolgirl with a posse. Despite being impeccably dressed and an absolute "must" for any sleepover guest list, this kid isn’t your regular air-headed Queen Bee. Spill your secrets to her if you will, but know that you’re probably just a pawn in her game. Luckily, she’s on the side of the good guys -- well, usually. Fill up that thermos with well-aged grape juice to get her through the tougher moral quandaries of the day. <em>-- Naivasha Dean</em>
Even bullies need a nutritious, well-balanced school lunch. That's why the <em>Game of Thrones</em> lunch box line is now offering “The Joffrey Edition.” Each box comes with a pure gold Grail-style thermos, perfect for holding the sweet, delicious tears of your torture victims. Looking for a fun back to school treat to include in your little Joffrey's lunch box? Forget the 'Pigs in a Blanket' and go for 'Grapes on a Toothpick.' They'll remind your little royal of all those nice severed heads on pikes back at the castle, just ready and waiting for him to come home and play. -- <em>Liz Brown</em>
Ideally, this <a href="http://www.hulu.com/watch/470217" target="_hplink">young diva's</a> lunch box would be carried by an assistant, and hold the milk (causes phlegm, you know). This lunch box’s thermos contains hot water with some lemon on the side to soothe the voice. Any lemon remains can be squeezed in the eyes of anyone trying to get in her way. For lunch? A succulent meatball sub which our diva can't eat because she's "too nervous" for an upcoming audition. Instead, the sandwich is used to lure that none-too-bright hunk who, for what he lacks in brains, makes up for in chemistry at the school talent show. After all, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, just like the way to every young diva's dreams is walking over the backs of her enemies. -- <em>Martin Moakler</em>
This lunch box is designed to be proudly toted by that kid that other kids find a bit strange. You know, the one with an unfashionable devotion to superheroes or obscure sci-fi shows, who eats cereal for lunch and prepares himself a “special drink” that consists of hot cocoa poured into cold milk (like a cold hot chocolate). But look past his eccentricities, because in a few years he’ll be the coolest kid you know. He will also likely have diabetes. -- <em>Razmig Arabian</em>
The <em>Pretty Little Liars</em> lunch box comes in four different one-dimensional character-defining designs, so your special snowflake of a child can have an immediate and demonstrable answer to the age-old question, "Which one are you?" Going the way of the Spice Girls, Sex and the City, and heck, even the <em>Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles</em>, the <em>Pretty Little Liars</em> lunchbox comes in sporty, rebellious, preppy, and glamorous, so your child doesn't have to bother with the difficult task of figuring out who they really are. <em>-- Katherine Rea</em>
This lunch pail isn't just for any young entrepreneur. It is for the kid who comes into the '<a href="http://www.hulu.com/shark-tank" target="_hplink">Tank</a> telling the sharks they want 500 grand for 15% of their sprinkled cookie company, and they don't budge at the percentage, because they “can’t give up that much equity.” It is for the kid who tells Mark Cuban that they'll only bring down the price if they can meet Dirk Nowitzki and get some season tickets to the Mavs games -- for their entire youth basketball league. It’s for the kid who only eats lunch when their iPad runs out of power -- which is never. Basically, it is for the most interesting kid in the world, and the kid we all wish we could be, combined.<em> -- Gabe Pasillas</em>
Follow Hulu.com on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hulu