School Lunch Program - the non-Wonderbread years

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by midlifebear, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. midlifebear

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    This should probably belong with the "Spit or Swallow" thread, but . . .

    First, my need to always set the scene: My first professional job was as a public elementary school teacher. I taught 12 months a year for 5 years in an inner-city elementary school. Every year I had 40 students divided between two curriculums: 4th grade and 5th grade in the same class. Of those students only 2 or 3 were ever Anglo. I loved the kids. I loved teaching. And I was good at it. But after 5 years of policing recess twice a day and having to serve lunch room duty stopping bullies from killing the weak and keeping food fights at a minimum I finessed my way into graduate school. It wasn’t the promise of money or a better job that tempted me to matriculate into a more difficult situation of slave wages teaching a full-time undergraduate load of English exposition classes of hung over UT Freshmen while carrying a full load of graduate school classes each semester plus working full-time as the editor of faculty publications for The College of Anthropology (that’s an equivalent of three-full time jobs stuffed into every week for five years, if you’re counting). It was the smell of the 4th and 5th grade kids when they came back to class after lunch that did me in. The odd scent of their sweaty little bodies mixed with the flatulence induced by trans-fatty foods and over-refined carbohydrates of the school lunch program partially underwritten by the State and the Federal Governments was too much for the most dedicated teacher to withstand.

    The following link leads to an article written by Alice Waters. If you were ever blessed with the opportunity to eat at Chez Panisse in Berkeley before it became prohibitively expensive for even the rich to chow down in her wonderful restaurant, you know what it’s like to experience food not simply as nutrition but also art for the soul.


    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/20/opinion/20waters.html?th&emc=th

    I’m curious as to what your favorite school lunch foods were for you LPSG-ers who attended public schools. I still have vivid memories of:


    • Government surplus peanut butter mixed with government surplus honey to be eaten from a paper cup or smeared on a pseudo Parker House Roll the texture of a rock.
    • Getting chocolate milk for Hallowe’en instead of the funny-tasting white stuff normally issued with every meal.
    • Spaghetti covered in ketchup instead of marinara sauce topped with meat balls made from a mixture of various unrecognizable ground meats. (This latter dish I remember from the first two years Reagan was in the White House when I was teaching school and before he was told ketchup wasn’t a vegetable.)
    • And then there was the finely ground Parmmegiano cheese-like product that smelled like someone had forgotten to wipe their bum. That stuff was truly scary.

    Anyone else care to share fond memories of their favorite (or not) school lunch specials? :smile:
     
  2. SpeedoGuy

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    I remember those peanut butter cups well. They were indeed inedible.

    I fondly recall placing the peanut butter chunks into a folded napkin which was violent snapped open, flinging the chunks up onto the acoustic roof panels of the school cafeteria. Some stuck and remained there for years. I wonder if some of them are still stuck there now?
     
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