national school lunch week 2012 — friday

pasta bar

the most hated menu option on the middle school lunch program is the pasta bar.  i have watched students line up 25 deep for deli sandwiches because we are out of everything else to eat except pasta bar.  so what makes up this loathed pasta bar.  you get a serving of noodles, and a choice of up to 2 sauces out of 3 options of sauce including; cheese sauce, spaghetti sauce, and spaghetti meat sauce. the funny thing is the kids love mac and cheese.  and the mac and cheese is the same noodles that are used on the pasta bar with the same cheese sauce, just on the pasta bar they aren’t mixed together.  some days i worry about them that they haven’t figured out to create mac and cheese from the pasta bar.

my final conclusion about eating lunch every day at work…………i’m glad it’s over and i shall be bringing my lunch again next week but i’m also taking a menu home with me so i can highlight the days when i want to chow down on some of the food i do enjoy.  while the food wasn’t that bad just lacking in flavor it also wasn’t very filling.  i think it’s from all the soy and corn fillers commodity food is filled with.  i understand why the kids are starving by the end of the day when they go home, the food temporarily fills them up and is gone 2 hours later. i have also come to realize that we could probably only serve them chicken nuggets and pepperoni pizza every day for the rest of the year and the kids would be the happiest kids in the world.  my hopes and dreams for the youth of america……that by the time they get to college they get more adventurous with their food choices.

national school lunch week 2012 — thursday

wrap it up

the photo does not do this lunch justice.  so far its been my favorite from celebrating national school lunch week.  today’s hot line option was buffalo chicken nuggets.  so i took those spicy nuggets and put them into a wrap sandwich, a little lettuce, tomato, plenty of pickles, american cheese and a dash or two of ranch dressing, all wrapped up in a giant tortilla shell.  i will admit it was yummy and got me thinking this lunches haven’t been that bad. a little lacking in seasoning and flavor but by far not the worst thing i’ve ever eaten.  and i’ll admit i’m a total sucker for those industrial mashed taters.  give me those instant tater flakes!!!

taters in a can

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

national school lunch week 2012 — tuesday

the queso dog

tuesday in the middle school cafeteria is known as “tortilla tuesday”  aka nacho day.  nacho day is our most successful day for the hot lunch line.  normally i bake 40-45 pizzas a day, on nacho day i bake a total of 15.  nachos however were not sounding as tempting as they could be so for today’s national school lunch week lunch i created what i am going to call a “queso dog.”  i took a hot dog which we were offering on the grill line and topped it with some of the nacho cheese, jalapeno, and chopped tomatoes.  the funny thing about the hot dogs, is that starting at the middle school level they get a foot long hot dog but they don’t allow us to order foot long hot dog buns. no matter which lunch lady wraps up the hot dogs they always comment on this.  i think it is because we take pride in our product and having your hotdog hang out of its bun an inch on both sides just isn’t how these ladies would proudly serve their dogs.

 

national school lunch week 2012 — monday

its national school lunch week!  what does that mean?  well when i asked my fellow lunch ladies they had no idea.  we all fantasized about having the week off or perhaps even getting our lunch catered.  however when i looked up national school lunch week, i discovered that the school nutrition association sets a week aside to celebrate new programs, recipes, accomplishments and what makes your school lunch unique.

i have decided to celebrate national school lunch week by eating lunch at work everyday.  yes this lunch lady won’t be bringing her lunch this week she’s eating off the hot lunch line.  school lunch programs have a bad rap.  most the time everyone is horribly applaud by what we serve our kids and i’ll admit i’m sometimes applaud too but it’s also not the school lunch programs fault.  when the government doesn’t invest in better quality ingredients there is only so much you can do to create 600 lunches with a budget of $3.00 per lunch.

each day this week i’m going to try and create a yummy lunch with all items that are available to students and staff who get the hot lunch.  all items you see on my plate can be recreated by the average student.

so what was for lunch today?……………..cheese pizza with a side salad

ya know why i love my job…….

because teachers have students but lunch ladies have kids.  and i have two very special types of kids that i’m responsible for this year.  last year and this year i’m responsible for the allergy kids, aka the kids who are allergic to anything and everything eatable.  in the morning i make up special little breakfasts for them that are put in sacks with their names.  at lunch they go through my line so i can make sure they haven’t picked anything that might have something they are allergic to.

the second group i look after are a couple of kids that are red flagged because they are homeless. i have to make sure they come through the line everyday and that they do get food, no matter what.  these two really put things in perspective for me.  it made me think about what i used to do, working for hallmark, where i’d have to track down information like “when was the first barbie keepsake ornament?!”  or file away the Hall Family’s personal christmas cards every year. my kids have made that all seem very meaningless. i wake up at 4:30am because i love the special ed students that come through my line and tell me to have a good day or so i can go make chit-chat with the “at-risk” 8th grade girls homeroom, which has now gotten them all eating their breakfast i deliver to them.   i might work 20 times harder for a lot less money but knowing that at the end of the day my kids got feed maybe they only meals they’ll get all day, or they got peanut free food and had their orange juice instead of milk is much more satisfying and makes me glad to go to work every day.

cafeteria style

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FUDultion REVOLUTION

more than once a day at work i have to have a little conversation to myself that usually goes a little something like this……..”ya know the typical american just reheats crap like this for meals, they don’t cook from scratch, i’m not typical with how i eat and cook, the vast majority are ok with getting a meal through a drive thru.”

my conclusion about school cafeterias is that the quality and types of food that are served in them is an excellent reflection of how the majority of people eat within the united states.  frozen breakfast corn dogs, pepperoni pizza with strawberry milk and dorritos, nachos every tuesday.  whenever a radical suggestion is made like “maybe we shouldn’t offer pizza everyday”  the conclusion is always the same.  the school system doesn’t want to deal with the parents complaining and the parents don’t want to hear the kids whining, so give them what they want. but the beauty with kids is, yes they might whine and complain at first but they will still eat what is put in front of them.  they also get bored with the same food over and over and over.  as an experiment one day, i made up 5 veggie pizzas, i was told “they won’t eat it”, i sold out and i sold out of them again when i made them a second day.

the US has a health epidemic in full swing, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, which all can eventually lead to cancer, with kids developing these problems as early as 8, and now our expected life span is going down because of these health issues.   we as a society have forgotten how to feed themselves. we have been raised on drive-thrus and microwaves are the number one kitchen appliance.  if we feed kids free breakfast everyday, provide them lunch and send them home with backpacks of food for the weekend, isn’t it time to teach them how to feed themselves with something that isn’t doesn’t have a toy included with the meal?

to make this happen we need a cultural shift. i’m declaring a FUDultion REVOLUTION.  if you can’t leave kindergarten without knowing your numbers, alphabet and how to tie your shoes, then you shouldn’t leave 8th grade without knowing how to cook a meal for yourself.  the goal with FUDultion REVOLUTION is to  incorporate nutrition and cooking skills into the general curriculum. i am going to use my powers of being a lunch lady, finish the handful of classes i need to become a genuine certified chef and take on one school at a time with FUDultion REVOLTUION.  if as a society we feel it is essential to learn to read and write in order to succeed, than it needs to also be essential to learn how to feed ourselves in order to achieve success.