4 questions with the lunch lady

Jeff Vrabel

1. Well, first of all, congratulations on another year under your belt.

Thanks, but we’re not allowed to wear belts. The students were finding that little hunks of leather were getting into their lasagna. They complained to the principal, and boom, one day later I have to come to work with my pants held on by a rope. Can I just tell you this: From experience, eating a little leather isn’t gonna kill you. For dinner, grandmother used to serve us a boot with cheese all over it.

2. How do you spend your summers?

It’s kind of tough to adjust to cooking for regular-size groups of people, so for the first few weeks of summer, I’ll make dinner for all the neighborhood kids, or the summer baseball league, or everyone at the bowling alley. They let us take the extra food home, so I’ve basically got a garage full of mashed potatoes and Salisbury steak that ain’t gettin’ any younger. Do you want some?

3. Thanks, but I’m good. What sort of plans do you have in mind for next year?

There have been a lot of exciting developments in the field of the pizza boat; I’ve got a few new things I’m hoping to develop next year. The key is to get the consistency just right with the cheese, which isn’t easy when the cheese has been sitting in a freezer on a plane from South Korea for a year.

4. Are kids more health-conscious these days?

Definitely, and with good cause! When I was a kid there was a “junk-food line” in the cafeteria where kids could buy anything, regardless of if it had any nutritional value. There wasn’t any concern for calories or carbohydrates or vitamins or minerals or any of that. These days, kids are a lot more into their health, and quality ingredients and freshness, which, as a lunch lady, are not words we’re used to hearing around here.