Here's the thing, every so often I have lunch duty at school. It's fun. No really it is. I enjoy spending time with the kids, opening their milk and Gogurt yogurt containers and having it spurt across the room or onto my shirt. I enjoy lifting the lids from small cups of fruit filled to the brim with juice that always, always, always spill all over the place. (Note to manufacturer: Please don’t fill the cups to the brim. It's messy.) I like cleaning up spills and vomit. Okay, not vomit—too often, but it does happen.
School lunches have changed over the years, although much has remained the same. Industrial tomato sauce is still industrial tomato sauce. And it smells exactly the same way it did when I was in elementary school. Peanut butter and Jelly is the number one bagged sandwich. Pizza is still on the menu and yes it does come with a side of veggies. In my day the vegetable of choice was a disgusting plop of spinach that didn't even look like spinach, the green was all wrong and the juice ran into my pizza crust and I just couldn’t eat it after that. Now, the kiddoes get a choice of carrots or apple slices conveniently served in a small plastic bag thus removing the threat of any cross food contamination. They get really swell French fries and salads with what I am told is the best dressing in the world. I'm not a salad dressing fan myself. Hotdogs, fruit cups and their choice of chocolate or white milk or bottled water even.(Yes, BOTTLED water) At least once a month the cafeteria serves breakfast for lunch. How fun is that? French toast sticks and I believe it's a sausage patty on the side. Bagels and Philly cream cheese. We never had that. Nope, it was pretty much mystery meat in slimy, gristle-filled gravy that tasted like wallpaer paste with brown food coloring. Nowadays kids are offered cheese steaks and hamburgers, Jello and I swear I saw cheese cake once or twice. Of course ice cream for dessert and not just a popsicle. Nope, they even get Snickers ice cream bars. Sheesh.
Today the main lunch offering was meatball subs. Rebecca, she's the other lunch aid, thought it looked and sounded so good she got the platter: a meatball sub in famous Philly bread, French fries, apple slices, milk and of course ice cream.
All for $3.50. Doesn’t that sound good? It tasted great too. That's the actual sub in the picture. So there you go, today's lunch –I think I'll continue the conversation tomorrow. Until then think about this. How important was school lunch when you were a kid? Oh, and just a note to parents: your kids tell the lunch aids EVERYTHING!