The science of peanut butter and jelly

A glimpse into daily life on tour

The Cadets continued learning drill to “Jingle Bells” today, and they put it all together with music and color guard work in ensemble this evening. Sophie recently referenced the whimsical color guard work at the beginning of the tune, but last night was the first time I got to see it. It seems the corps hasn’t done too many tricks in recent years, and it’s refreshing to see them showing off a bit. Ethan lifts Laney up onto one of his shoulders, where she sits sideways as they spin and toss a rifle up and down between them. Lauren and Mark stand next to each other, spinning a rifle into the air and running out of the way so the other can catch it. There are three or four pairs of different little stunts like this, and I’m sure the guard staff will continue to try more.

Unfortunately, we lost the stadium to the football team an hour before ensemble was scheduled to end, so the night ended in sub-sectionals.

Giant pans full of spaghetti and meatballs awaited us at 9:00 p.m., which got me thinking about the quirks of the food line. I thought it might be fun to share some of them:

  • I’ve decided that it’s impossible to get a reasonably-sized plate of spaghetti or taco salad here. It doesn’t matter how few noodles you start out with or how healthy the lettuce is that you pile onto your empty plate; once it’s all dressed up at the end of the line, it’s a huge, heaping pile of food that you shouldn’t be able to finish unless you’re marching in the corps. (But we come embarrassingly close.)
  • Speaking of not marching in the corps, it’s quite frankly a miracle that everyone on staff here doesn’t gain an obscene amount of weight on tour. Many of us run every few days in an attempt to fight it, but facing the delightful carbs and comfort foods that Cadets need to sustain their vigorous rehearsal schedule every day is a cruel test of self control.
  • Having said that, The Cadets also love their vegetables. Most high school and college kids could care less about them at home, but veggies become really appealing as they work as hard as they do. Broccoli gets snatched up as quickly as the coveted moist, chocolate chip brownies.
  • The music. The food crew always finds some random Italian playlist for spaghetti night, and this year we’ve noticed that a lot of mornings tend to begin with smooth, jazzy elevator music. Otherwise, you never know whether you’ll be listening to Jason Mraz, Luther Vandross or ‘N Sync.
  • For some reason, chicken patties are particularly delicious on tour. They’re consistently the uncontested most exciting lunch, although they’re probably the same patties being served in every elementary school in the country.
  • It’s funny to watch the foreign members of the corps go through the food line earlier in the season. The other day, our Japanese members were baffled by the large bowl of applesauce at the end of the lunch line. It’s kind of a hard thing to explain, so we just let them try it and figure it out, and I don’t think the texture went over too well with them, haha.
  • Eating off of styrofoam becomes so normal here that I try not to think of how immense each person’s “environmental footprint” is here on tour. But there’s just no good alternative since it’s the only cheap, disposable material heavy-duty enough to support a heaping plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
  • Then there is the science of the peanut butter and jelly table. When you see how much weight many members of the corps lose over the course of the summer, it’s important to realize how much more impressive that number is, considering that some Cadets eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich after every meal. Many use it as a dessert supplement if there isn’t anything else sweet out, and some choose it for breakfast, or make a sandwich after breakfast for the walk to the Day Meeting. Then there’s what the food crew likes to call “pulling a Gino” (I guess because Gino started this trend)—the unbelievably tempting habit of scooping up a big spoonful of peanut butter at the end of a meal. There’s always wheat and white bread, strawberry and grape jelly, and crunchy and creamy peanut butter. And I bet you could divide this drum corps against itself if you asked the group which peanut butter they prefer. People are passionate about it. This would actually be a great way to choose teams in a corps game of flag football or something. Now, on nights when there’s ice cream, cookies or brownies, the peanut butter station becomes an extra toppings station. And speaking of toppings, the volunteers like to occasionally surprise the kids by putting marshmallow fluff or Nutella out on the PB&J table. Can you imagine a healthier sandwich than two pieces of white bread heaped with peanut butter, marshmallow cream and Nutella?

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed that little glimpse into our world!

 

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