Day 50: hamburger

Today’s menu: hamburger, whole wheat buns, tater tots, fruit jello, milk

I ate everything. Good thing I didn’t forget the ketchup. I just slathered that patty with ketchup to get it down. I’m basically beef-free in my “real” life so this is a big adjustment. I will not be eating beef hamburgers ever again after this “experiment” is over. I’m so done.

Thanks so much for your amazing comments on my previous post! I can keep going! 🙂

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40 thoughts on “Day 50: hamburger”

  1. Every time you tweet your meals you are bringing more attention to the really bad situation facing kids every day at lunch. Your timing is great because media is pairing it w/the Jamie Oliver TV show; maybe something will actually get done!

  2. wow…they couldnt manage to give you a tomato slice and leaf of lettuce to go on your burger. Even something small like this would make this lunch better.
    Love your blog!

  3. I feel your pain. I don't know how you stomach the "hamburger". Trust me, a real beef hamburger tastes nothing like what they pretend is food at a school. I am a school speech pathologist and mother of one kindergartener who carries his lunch because his mother wants control over the junk he eats! I'm learning to "bento" and we experiment at home before anything gets sent to school.

  4. OH NO! Please don't let this garbage turn you off from the wonderful world of hamburgers. Maybe Bobby Flay can make you a good one?

  5. I like to see the whole wheat bun! I don't know how you do this, definitely not enough food for me!

  6. oh wow, that looks horrible! They couldn't even add a piece of lettuce or tomato to the burger? How unappetizing! I agree with Julie, at least there was a whole wheat bun, but still, that doesn't save the meal!

  7. I never eat the "burger" in our school cafe. Disgusting! won't eat the fruit cup either. Love your blog. I could not eat the school lunch every day.

  8. This really is not even the point behind your blog, but seeing the things that your cafeteria serves you daily makes me realize that the cafeteria in the school I teach in is usually pretty decent.

    Do I think we'd get in trouble for the a la carte stuff we serve if we were checked out by the Lunch People? Yeah, probably…but some days we have decent food and for that I am grateful.

  9. Since reading your blogs and watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, I have reduced my son's school lunches to 2 times per week…. a small move, perhaps but it's a start! Corn dogs/Hot Dogs have no place on a school menu, Pizza should be limited (our school has been known to serve it up to 3 times a week in it's various forms – pizza dippers,pizza bread etc) chicken nuggets are offered up to 10 times a month… Keep up the fantastic work, it's a real eye-opener for us moms who have no idea what goes on in the school cafeteria!!!

  10. This is a pretty good lunch as far as school lunches go. Some of the first posts reminded me of when I was really sick a few years ack and spent a month in the hospital. Talk about BAD food!!! Still I ate everything, so that I could come home to my family-good appetite shows good health.

  11. Some of the foods you show here actually look better than what I got served in high school. Later in life I found out what was getting served was rejected prison food – seriously! When it was too outdated to serve it to prisoners, they sent it on to us.

  12. Yeah… that looks like the exact same thing they served in my college cafe. too. Only way to get those down was with a more-than-healthy dose of ketchup and mustard… Probably contains a lot more fillers than it does meat is my guess. Thus, the baddness.
    And… You're truly doing something awesome here!! Keep it up 🙂

  13. Yuck … puke … yuke! I send real food with my son to school in a thermos or brown bag. And don't add any money to the lunch card he was issued … ever.

  14. I don't understand this whole "fruit jello" thing. Is that normal in other parts of the country? I grew up in south Florida. I don't get the point of putting the two together.

  15. Mrs. Q you are a better woman than I am.

    I have been employed as a "cook" for 9 years now and have never eaten our school breakfast or lunches.

    Mrs. S

  16. are u vegetarian or do u just not eat beef?
    most beef is much more appealing than that…even mcdonalds and who knows what that is made of.
    keep up the great work!

  17. I definitely love your blog and what you are doing to bring attention to these meals!
    I was just wondering though, out of personal curiousity and I'm sure others are wondering this as well, could you maybe be more descriptive about how the meal tastes? Sure the pictures are grotesque but I think it would be interesting to know flavors textures etc. 🙂 Just a suggestion

  18. A real beef hamburger is delicious. The stuff that is a part of the school lunch program is downright nasty.

  19. Everyday you push for change. Keep going. The kids that don't have a choice, the parents that need the free lunches to break even, the program administrators that are swimming in federal paperwork, reimbursement rates and mandated minimums – you are doing this for all of them – to show that we need to find a new way.

    Ganbatte!

  20. Wow, I eat about 2 pounds of beef a year (and it is not hamburger. I wouldn't waste that on what you are eating.

    You might seriously consider stopping this at the summer break (assuming there is one). You might want to analyze what you have been eating at that point. I have no idea how to analyze your meals: the blog is getting very confusing to my simple mind. A case of oh my, been here done that.

  21. I worked in a school for the past five years and I ate the hamburger once or twice. It really was not beef but a soy burger they served and whole wheat buns. Healthy I suppose but not to tasty. They try to be healthy, whole wheat and such but the taste is not great.

  22. I agree with the above comments that you shouldn't hesitate to eat REAL meat once this is over. I love a juicy burger made from local grass-fed beef. That's real food!

  23. That is one very sad hamburger. And I am sad for you and all the kids who end up eating this stuff.

  24. MMMmmmMMM, That looks great! The only problem is how could a kid get full on that? They should have made it a double burger and added some cheese and bacon.

  25. We have hamburgers a lot at my school. They're thin, bland, and extemely greasy. The cafeteria does provide a piece of lettuce, pickles, and a slice of tomatoe, but they're hardly compensation. Kids still cover their burger (if it can even be called that)with ketchup. We're only allowed three little packs of it, however, which really isn't enough. I commend you for your efforts and resolve. I couldn't do this. I'll be graduating in a month or so. I hope that college cafeteria food is better!

  26. I am curious as to what the texture of the bread is. When I was eating school lunch in elementary school, we always had more fun playing with the hamburger buns than eating them. The bread was half stale, so you could take your finger and poke it, and instead of squishing like normal bread, you would have a hole right where your finger was. The surrounding area would stay completely intact, and not be squished at all. The game was to see how many holes you could put in your bun and have it still maintain its overall shape without squishing or falling apart. Yeeeah. We didn't eat the burgers either.

    Now that I am thinking about it, I guess my family did better by my food growing up than I thought. The reason I never ate a lot of the offerings for school lunch is because I was used to the good stuff. Take burgers, for example. I would help my grandmother make them from groundbeef, and saw exactly what went into them and how they got made. Then we had fresh sesame seed buns to eat it on. To this day, burgers to me just aren't right unless they are on sesame seed buns.

  27. I think I'm not only shocked by the amount of waste these meals produce (individual packages for single hamburger patties????) but by the food content involved. Are there really no vegetarian options at this school? No alternative to greasy tater tots and hamburger?

  28. I don’t know how you do this. I’ve been reading your blog everyday and seeing the food that they serve makes me gag half the time. I am a picky eater and I will be the first to admit that. It has only gotten worse as I have gotten older. I would never touch anything that came in a sealed plastic container. I wouldn’t eat the fruit cups either unless I was starving to death. I think of everything that I’ve seen you eat; I would only eat the fresh fruit and veggies that did not come in the plastic containers. I can’t believe they serve this kind of food to kids. In grade school I remember packing my lunch every day for the first few years. Then I started to eat the school lunches, and at first they were good (home-made chili, loaded baked potato, pizza with cheese in the crust, home-made chicken noodle soup were my favorites). Then I noticed that they were taking my favorite foods off of the menu and what was left on the menu that I would eat began to go downhill. The meat on the subs became “fake”, and I started to pack my own sub on sub sandwich days. My friends always questioned me but there was no way that I was going to eat fake meat! Then in high school I decided not to experiment and packed my lunch every single day. I am currently studying to become a teacher and still pack my lunch and a snack everyday at school. I find that I eat healthier and I drink more water since all I do is bring a water bottle. I feel really bad for the kids who have to eat that as their only meal a day. What on earth did those kids do to deserve such a gross meal? I don’t think I could choke down that hamburger even if it was my only meal. I hope that something gets done about school meals and they return to the home-made chili and chicken noodle soup.

  29. If you're reading these comments, I still think it would be great if you would tell us what the other option was each day and why you chose what you chose. You've mentioned that there are two different options every day, and I'm curious as to why you keep choosing things you don't like (such as hamburgers when you don't like beef, and pizza when you know you don't like the pizza–except the french bread version, of course).

    I agree with the commenter who suggested that you get more descriptive about the food. The pictures don't pain a pretty picture, but it would be nice if you could describe it more than just saying you ate it all, or didn't.

    Not trying to criticize, just suggesting some things that could make this great blog even better!

    Also, to the commenter from Florida who doesn't understand fruit and jello going together. I'm pretty sure fruit and jello have been combined since the beginning of time! At least since the beginning of fruit flavored Jell-O (early 1900's). I'm not sure why it sounds weird to you. Jell-O is fruit flavored. Why shouldn't real fruit go in it?

  30. I'm pretty sure your school has exceptionally bad food. The pictures you post are absolutely nauseating. How can anyone stand to eat that "food." Kudos on your ability to choke it down each day, it will be worth the effort!!

  31. Oh wow, I remember those days [last year :p]. This blog brings back memories, I remember skipping lunch almost everyday because I would rather be hungry then feel like there was a rock sitting in my stomach! I hope you don't mind but I was hoping to quote your blog for a scholarship essay about the importance of healthy lifestyles in school! :]

  32. I am glad to see that they offered a whole wheat bun, however as a student in majoring in dietetics right now, I am disappointed to see that lack of color and fruits and vegetables offered with this particular meal. I know that there was fruit in the jello and tater tots count as a vegetable but these kids need to be offered more quality fruits and vegetables. At least if they are going to put the fruit in jello then the school should offer a non-starchy vegetable instead of potatoes.

  33. Yeah, I'm a little curious as to what other options are available too. I remember back in middle school and high school, there was the daily featured entree/sides that was published each month. But there was also pizza, hamburger, maybe cheeseburger or burrito (I don't remember), and prepackaged salad, along with the usual sides of tater tots or french fries. The prepackaged salads always ran out, but I think that might be also because they didn't have very many.

    And they did have students working in the cafeteria with adults overseeing. The students would leave class 5 or 10 minutes early in preparation for lunch time.

    In elementary school, I think there was just the one entree and sides – no choices.

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