Hot Lunch eLearning Style

If you ask any kid what their favorite part of school is, I’ll bet you a majority of them would answer, “lunch and recess!” If you think back to your school hot lunches, I bet you remember Friday pizza days. Your tray may have looked like this:

Ahhh…the rectangle pizza that fit neatly in the compartment. As I look at this picture, I don’t know what bougie school this kid went to, but we never got soft pretzels with mustard. And the fruit cocktail and milk need to be switched. What kind of monster put them in the wrong compartments?? Oh the humanity! I digress…

You could always tell a lot about a kid by the way they ate their rectangle pizza. They usually fell into one of a few categories:

  1. The Folder: This method involved folding the pizza in half and eating it like a taco. It’s efficient and no-nonsense, however this method had its drawbacks. If you didn’t staunch the flow of grease with a wad of those useless mini napkins before you folded it, you’d have to tilt it and let the grease drip out through the trough created at the fold. By the time you were done de-greasing it, all the cheese would have slid to the center and completely ruined the cheese-to-soggy crust ratio. If you didn’t do the trough method of de-greasing and just started shoveling in, you’d have a river of grease dripping down your chin and arm. It was not attractive.
  2. The Knife and Forker: This method of cutting the pizza into bite-sized pieces was generally adopted by prissy girls who wrote with fancy pens with fake flowers and flowy feathers on top. They also had a coordinating headband, bow or scrunchie for every outfit. The Knife and Fork method, while much tidier and sophisticated, was slow and inefficient, (especially if your school had plastic utensils) leaving you with little time for recess after lunch.
  3. The Slob: This is probably the most direct method of getting pizza into your gob, but by far the messiest and grossest. It required strange contortions to steer the floppy, drippy mess to your face and it was annoying and unappetizing having to sit next to this Oscar Madison. You could always tell which locker belonged to this kid too. It always had a coat or random papers sticking out their half-shut door (if they could close the locker at all), and it smelled like rotting apples or smelly socks.
  4. The Hybrid: This method requires a bit of prep, but is totally worth it in the end. First, you staunched the grease with napkins, then cut the pizza into quarters. This allowed the diner to neatly pick up the pizza without needing to fold or slop pizza goo everywhere. Students bound for National Honor Society utilized the Hybrid method.

Which kid were you? Or did you always bring cold lunch and never experienced Pizza Fridays at school?

The inmates are generally hot lunchers, and I’m totally fine with that. It’s less stress on me not having to be sure there is lunch food in the house, much less needing remind them to pack their lunch in the first place. Having one less meal to plan each day is pretty awesome too.

But now that the inmates are eating their lunch at home for the foreseeable future, I’ve decided I don’t want to be the cranky lunch lady. We decided to try to plan the weekly lunch menu together to make things more efficient and less stressful. If they decide they don’t want to eat “the main” for lunch that day, they are welcome to make themselves a sandwich. This helps in so many ways. 1.) I can more easily plan my grocery shopping instead of needing to buy a full buffet of lunch foods for them to choose from each day. 2.) It saves time every day because I don’t have to repeatedly rattle off their choices like a waitress and then waste time waiting for them to decide what to have. 3.) I’m no longer a short order cook at lunch. They either eat the jointly pre-determined lunch or make themselves a sandwich.

Here is this week’s menu:

And because I’m the quirky weird mom, I kicked it up a notch. I found a list of all the weird food holidays and we incorporate those into the menu. As you can see this Thursday is National Hot Dog Day. Last week there was International Bacon Day, so we had BLTs. Next Friday is National Cheeseburger Day, so if they have a great week, McDonald’s it is! (In case you’re interested, here’s the link to the holiday list I used: https://foodimentary.com/)

And what would hot lunch be without the compartmentalized tray?! Mmmm hmmm! Oh yes, I did! Each inmate has their own lunch tray! Here’s First Born’s lunch from yesterday:

Chicken nuggets with BBQ, smiley fries, carrots (a vegetable — I tried!) and half a banana (just like school!) Now I need to get little milk boxes and it’ll be perfect!

So far it’s been working pretty well. Come to think of it, I should have bought the Warden his own lunch tray too!

Next school element to recreate: DETENTION!

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