Today’s menu: pizza, salad, fruit cup
The last lunch. I never thought I’d make it this far. I was convinced even to the very last lunch that I would get found out. How is is possible that no one discovered me? I’m searching for an answer.
Months and months ago, back in March, I chatted with my mother about the blog project. I refer to my mother and my husband as my “handlers.” They help me manage everything and make decisions. I could not have done it without them. Where I’m jumpy and anxious, they are level-headed and laid back. Boy, do I have a great support system.
I asked my mom, “What do I do if one of the lunch ladies asks if I’m Mrs. Q? I can’t lie.” My mom confirmed, “You have to say that yes, you are Mrs. Q.” She went on, “But if they bring up Mrs. Q in a discussion with you, you don’t have to say anything. You could say, ‘I don’t know how she finds the time.'” Touché!
For weeks I entered the cafeteria mentally prepared for a conversation. Not once did anyone ever bring up Mrs. Q or ask me any questions at all. Granted, they are busy people and so am I. We did have various conversations though. On one occasion I brought up Jamie Oliver and asked them if anyone was planning to watch his show Food Revolution last spring. It was before the show aired and a few women said they were interested. And then we got on with our day and no one brought it up again.
a cheese and sausage close up
I think another reason that no one asked me even if they had been aware of the show is that I am a nice person. I have a good reputation. I like chatting with people and getting to know them. I value the work the lunch ladies do for my students, our students. They don’t get a lot of credit in my school, but they should. No staff member touches the lives of basically every student in the school every single day like the lunchroom staff. In discussions I have had with them, I know they care deeply about the students and their welfare. I sincerely hope that when this comes out one day that they don’t think that my interest in them was not genuine. In fact, each conversation I had with them added depth and meaning to my life, my work, and this blog project.
I’d also like to make it clear that this project was never about “slamming” one school food company, one school district, or one school. The meals I ate were identical to meals eaten by kids all over this country every day in a school in your neighborhood. This was a campaign to raise awareness. It was a way for me to share my unique viewpoint with parents, a perspective that most parents never get to see even though they are provided with menus.
Not sure why it needs yellow #5 and #6…
it looks like normal dressing, but there is a heck of a lot of ingredients
I drank my last fruit cup. I ate my last salad. Do I feel sad? Well, no. I am a little weepy with relief though. Like so many aspects of this project, I’m still processing what happened.
My sister texted me yesterday after the msn.com exposure, “omgggggg you are amazing!!!!!!!” I adore my sister and she made me smile, but that’s the kind of thing that makes me uncomfortable. Do I feel proud of myself? Hmm, not really. I’m just a regular person, regular job, regular life.
But a year ago my gut, a little voice, said, “Psst, you there. You with the idea of eating school lunch? You should go for it. No seriously. You might be onto something. You should do it.”
I can’t believe I listened.
For the past twelve months, I have been eating school lunch alone in my room, I have been photographing using a cell phone camera, I have blogging, I have been tweeting…all the while sending furtive messages back in time to last year in December and to the old me, begging myself, “Please do it. Please, please act on that crazy impulse.” (If you ever needed a reminder to listen to your gut, this is it)
Because I just might have done something to help my students. I just might have helped my family view food in a whole new way. I just might have changed my life.
The last lunch garbage!
I remain truly grateful to all of you for creating a community around this blog. Let’s continue this conversation next year. In celebration of what we have done, I’ve gone ahead and created a facebook account for the blog (I’m going to disband the ning account as it has peetered out. Since we’re all on facebook, it makes more sense). Please “like” it when you get the chance!
AND I made you another brief and ridiculous little video. It’s jiggly, because I am trying not to show you the rest of my desk…
STICK A SPORK IN ME — I’M DONE!!!!!!!!!!!