September 19, 2012 by Marj Hatzell
Three weeks into the new school year and Bug Boy still loves middle school. He isn’t exactly fond of waking up a full hour earlier but he loves getting home a full hour earlier to peace and quiet. And Mommy all to himself for two hours.
He stated last week, “I love school! I always loved school. Oh, and I love Ms. H. I love Ms. B. I love Ms. C. Oh, and Mr. W. He’s awesome. And I love the cafeteria.
All I’ve heard about is this effing cafeteria.
It all started when the fifth grade visited the middle school for a tour and orientation back in the spring. From that point on, everything in middle school was “better.” All the kids were saying it. The food is better. The teachers are better. You can join more clubs. The cafeteria is waaaaay better. Oh, and did I mention? THE FOOD IS MUCH BETTER.
Last night was back-to-school night. One of the teachers showed a little movie the kids made about sixth graders and what they love about school (and, what they find challenging). 9 out of 10 kid stated they liked the cafeteria food much better.
Why? Perhaps because there is more selection. More variety. A salad bar. They are allowed to buy bottled drinks. It’s the same food vendor so the quality of the food isn’t much better. But last night when I logged onto the school district portal (where parents and students can check grades, homework, conduct, lunch money balance, etc. IT IS AMAZING. EVEN ONLINE TEXTBOOKS!) I found out why the food was so much better.
Because you can spend $9 on a lunch.
That’s right. $9. For a middle school lunch.
The lunch plan usually includes the entrée, fruit and veggies sides, some sort of starch (bread, potato, pasta, rice) and a drink. All for $2.50 or something. There are two hot options per day, a salad of the day and a sandwich of the day. Pizza and chicken nuggets are always available (even in this hippie, green, organic-loving town). But if you don’t get the entrée?
A la carte, baby. That’s “each thing tallied separately which adds up to a gazillion dollars since middle schoolers don’t understand the concept of virtual money/debit.”
He selected pizza, side (tots. Can’t blame him. That’s my boy!), a fruit, a veggie, a snack, a dessert AND a bottled beverage.
Which ended up costing $9. For one lunch.
When I quizzed him, he looked confused so we set new ground rules. “That two times a week max, eight times a month max you are allowed to purchase food? You may select a snack OR dessert. And drink water if you do a la carte, I send your stainless steel one in with you every freaking day. And also? Good job on the tots.”
He packed today.
This is where I’m glad Bugaboo goes to a school without a cafeteria and has to eat what I pack.