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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Who’s Eating Your Lunch?

posted by on August 19 at 13:00 PM

bbqmeatball.jpgHoly Taco has actual photos of actual school lunches that were posted onto the website of a Harrisonburg, VA school system. These photos are supposed to be advertisements in favor of the lunches.

This reminded me of one of my most disgusting freelance assignments for this paper, when I reviewed Seattle-area school lunches. It turns out, the most disgusting thing that I ate for the assignment was something that the students would bring to school in lieu of eating the school lunches:

Jane wisely didn’t eat the school lunch. Ordinarily, she’d eat a sandwich that her mom made, but, due to a late start this morning, she’d brought a meal that’s de rigueur with today’s students: an Oscar Mayer Lunchables Mess With Your Mouth Tacos dinner with Free Sour Tongue Teasing Fizz ($3.19 at most QFCs). The distinguishing feature of the Mess With Your Mouth line of Lunchables is that the entrée (in this case, three small tortillas that the consumer fills with room-temperature ground beef in taco sauce that’s squeezed from a toothpaste-like tube) is supposed to be covered with crushed Pop Rocks, which are sour and explode in your mouth as you eat the lukewarm mini-taco. Also, you get a bag of Capri Sun Fruit Punch and, in case the sugar you sprinkled on your taco wasn’t enough, a box of cherry Nerds.

In conclusion: I’m so glad I’m not a kid.

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I just ate. Can you put that behind a cut?

Posted by Emily | August 19, 2008 1:01 PM

BBQ Poopables.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | August 19, 2008 1:06 PM

*adblocks image*

Holy taco, indeed...

Posted by Ziggity | August 19, 2008 1:20 PM

That holy taco link was the funniest/grossest/saddest thing imaginable.

Posted by indieguy322 | August 19, 2008 1:32 PM

How can kids afford this crap?

For lunch I had an organic apple from PCC. Most of my coworkers bring leftovers or grab something from Trader Joe's.

Very very sad.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 19, 2008 1:40 PM

Kids LIKE to eat crap. They get excited going to TGIF and Denny's. That stuff makes me puke.

I usually take leftovers to work for lunch. Today, I had a fresh Viet sub. Cost me $1.75.

Posted by Gloria | August 19, 2008 1:46 PM

If you knew how little money those schools have to prepare lunches, you would be pretty impressed that they can manage even food like that.

With 60¢ per person, what could you manage to cook?

Posted by Andrew | August 19, 2008 1:53 PM

@7 - Gruel. Sweet, nourishing gruel. And then you'd also have money left over.

Posted by Hernandez | August 19, 2008 1:56 PM

Why do those "meatballs" say "BM" at the top? No, wait, I don't want to know.

Hernandez, if you give the little bitches gruel, the next thing you know they'll be demanding THICKER gruel.

Paste. Feed them paste. That's what I ate when I was a kid and look how great I turned out.

Posted by Fnarf | August 19, 2008 2:06 PM

The school lunches I ate back in the 70s seemed like gourmet when compared to what kids have to eat today. Paul, you should come by my nursing home and review it. The staff hear thinks it's delicious (though they all go out to lunch) but i can't keep it down. I have lost 80 pounds since I got here last November.

Posted by elswinger | August 19, 2008 2:08 PM

@6 - all the Viet subs I can find cost a few million ... except for the one that McCain gave his speech from. Did you mean that one?

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 19, 2008 2:15 PM

The local news last night said some school districts will be raising the cost of school lunches this fall by up to 70%! (To almost $5 a day). At $25 a week give me a jar of Skippy, a jar of Strawberry Jelly, some bread, chips, and milk and I'd be happy (and have about $10 left)!

Posted by elswinger | August 19, 2008 3:48 PM

Back when I was in school, I considered school lunch a gourmet meal. It was all good. On some days you could even have seconds. But that extra milk always cost you a nickel. I don't think I ever did pay back any of those nickels I borrowed from the other kids.

Posted by papillon | August 19, 2008 4:36 PM

Well, it was better than those meatballs look, even the pink worms they called spaghetti. But the chili and cinnamon rolls were awesome! I couldn't get down the hominy, though, still won't eat it.
@10 Having worked in nursing homes I'm not surprised. Last I knew, but that was years ago now, the budget for feeding nursing home patients was about $1/day. Not a meal, a day. It's probably up to $1.50/day, less than the spending on school lunches. Blame government cuts to Medicaid, which pays the way for most nursing home residents.

Posted by Silverstar98121 | August 19, 2008 5:15 PM

"cheese-filled pizza sticks" "Italian Dunkers" "spaghetti" "Italian Chicken Sandwich"?

I would rather gatecrash Tony Soprano's birthday party, call his mother a $2 Gypsy whore and ask him why he's the only castrato in history who can't sing, than try to explain this shit to an Italian. I'm surprised they haven't withdrawn their ambassador in protest.

Jamie Oliver did a great series in Britain where he tried to provide decent school food on budget (i.e. next to nothing). And revealed that in Italy, they actually consider it important to feed kids high quality food - by law tomatoes and olive oil used in school food must be organic/extra virgin... kind of mind-blowing as a contrast!

Posted by banjoboy | August 19, 2008 5:56 PM

Yeah, and Oliver was vilified for it. Mothers were literally squeezing burgers and chips through the chain link at the school gates. And if you're familiar with what Brits will tolerate under the name of "burger", you still have no idea how badly those people crave garbage. It's ironic that Brits have, in London, developed one of the most sophisticated food cultures in the world, because the run-of-the-mill Brit diet is among the worst in the world, far worse than the average American's. Most Brits have literally never eaten a green vegetable unless it was boiled to death in a curry. Have a look at You Are What You Eat on BBC America sometime -- it's shocking.

Posted by Fnarf | August 19, 2008 6:16 PM

@16 I was amazed that he managed to shock some kids out of eating chicken nuggets just by showing them what they were made of!

My memory of English school dinners in the early 80s is of dull but at least slightly nutritious food -- stew, mashed potatoes, baked beans, boiled cabbage -- and always a square of cake with custard for 'afters'. But watching that series it seems now 90% of it is deep-fried.

Posted by banjoboy | August 19, 2008 6:43 PM

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