Friday, September 12, 2008

Lunch Lady

(this post is dedicated to G, thanks for the suggestion!) :)

Emma has gone into this whole kindergarten experience wanting to do everything a school age kid can. Ride the bus? Check. Eat school lunch? Check. Is there any other way?

Growing up I had no other options. We lived out in the country so we had to ride the bus until we were 14 and could get a school permit. My mom worked and she didn't pack us lunches; I hardly ever remember bringing cold lunch except for the end of the year picnic we used to have. Back in the day we had peach colored lunch tickets with 20 punches on them. Man, you were screwed if it went through the wash because those babies disintegrated faster than tissue paper. I don't really remember having a favorite meal, but being a picky eater I know I didn't eat everything. I also dreaded going to 5th grade. For 5th grade everyone from the three elementary schools all went to the same building and that building had a reputation. The rumor was you had to try EVERYTHING on your tray at lunch time. I wanted to stay in 4th grade forever so I wouldn't have to be tortured like that. Somehow I made it through. By high school it wasn't "cool" to eat school lunch anymore. Most of my lunch hours were spent eating saltines dipped in ranch dressing. Nutrition at its best. Since we were a small school there was no open campus at lunch (face it, the town didn't have anywhere to go eat anyway!), no optional lunch except your choice between hot lunch or salad bar, and they even unplugged the vending machines during lunch hours. I'm sure things have changed quite a bit in 15 years.

Now its Emma's turn to experience government meal planning at its best. We look at the lunch menu the night before so she can decide if she wants to eat hot lunch or not. If the dessert looks good, then she will choose hot lunch. Does Emma like chicken fajitas and mixed veggies? No way. But put chocolate wacky cake on the menu with them and she's all over it. On Wednesday the menu was taco salad/lettuce/cheese, grapes, apple streussel and milk. We had just had tacos on Sunday night which she didn't want to eat and said "I don't like this." She shares my affinity for lettuce, so I knew there was no way she was going to eat a taco salad. She insisted she would eat it and didn't want to bring cold lunch. After school that day she did say the apple streussel was good--I'm sure that's about all she ate.

They should hand out a lunch menu "cheat sheet" at the beginning of the year for the first-time parents. During the first full week of school one of the main dishes was "Straw Hat". Anyone, anyone? Yeah, your guess is as good as mine. I asked the neighbor girl who is in second grade, so therefore a school lunch expert. She told me it was like nachos--chips with meat, cheese, lettuce. Emma's report was different. She said all she ate that day was the cheese. I still have yet to figure out what a straw hat is--hopefully its something edible and not some type of Survivor meal.

I can't complain too much. For a $1.80 she gets a well-balanced, nutritious, tasty (?) meal and I don't have to worry about making lunch in the morning. Long live school lunch!


TJ said...

I agree - I am lucky I even get the girls to school let alone with a packed lunch!

Mable had done incredibly well with eating at school. Other than refried beans, she seems to eat everything else.

KAS said...

$1.80? Holy cow, I remember when it used to be about $.80 for a single hot lunch ticket.

I had my "it's not cool to eat lunch" phase in middle school, so I would get a carton of milk and drink that (unless it was something really, really, good which was maybe once a month). But when I got to high school and switched to a different group of friends, I started eating regular lunches again. Have you ever gone on the H-D school website? Some of the lunches are exactly the same. Exactly.

Cristin said...

I pack Graham a lunch every morning AND send $2 for a lunch tray... I want him to have choices.. I just want him to freakin eat!!!

Minyo said...

Our school lunches aren't very good either. We don't even get dessert here. ISU food service used to serve Texas Straw Hat when I was in college. It was Frito's corn chips, covered with sloppy joe meat and sprinkled with shredded cheddar cheese. We eat it sometimes at home. It's quite tasty.