Day 70: pizza

Today’s menu: pizza, baby carrots, fruit cup, pretzels, milk

The pizza doesn’t look too bad today, right? I’ve said it before but the french bread version is better than the plain pizza. The crust is really thick so there is less of a chance that it will got soggy. In fact it holds up pretty well.

One of my colleagues/friends saw me with the school lunch and said, “I’ve giving you some of my salad.” Part of her lunch was a cucumber tomato salad with dill and feta. I told her in the nicest possible way, “No. Please eat your own food.” But she insisted so I got some extra veggies. She has seen me get the school lunch a lot (ahem) and I think she might be concerned. Her “bonus” salad was quite refreshing.


I don’t know how one would solve the packaging problem without investing money into real plates, silverware and a big dishwasher OR investing money into biodegradable containers. The current containers are sturdy paper sealed with plastic film. They are durable enough to serve cold and hot. Either way we are looking into some kind of major outflow of cash. Can someone with knowledge of the prices do a cost calculation?

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32 thoughts on “Day 70: pizza

  1. How is that pizza cooked? Because I'm assuming it was cooked in the box it came in. Does the school have a giant walk-in microwave for all these little pizzas? (Snark, of course, but I really am curious how they're cooked.)

  2. I'm curious to know if you've gained weight or if your blood pressure has elevated since you started the project. And how do you valance out the junk during the day with your regular diet in the morning & at night.

  3. Have u watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution? They need to implement his way of eating.. Fresh fruits, veggies. No processed meats.. My friend in England says he has done wonders at her daughter's school… she posted recently photos of her daughter having a hot meal.. unbelievable how middle America accepts the crap they allow the schools to feed their kids.

  4. kids share so you can too:) im sick for you for having to eat that pizza ….i feel so sorry for you BUT also extreme admiration for you at the same time.

  5. Does whatever school this is have no funding for lunch meals? I'm not familiar with the actual school system of lunch meals, but I think that the standard which a meal is served should in fact be better than the quality I see in the picture. While the actual standard being served right now seems to be okay, It might help a bit if the food being served didn't feel like it was just created from a large pot and slothfully dumped into a paper box and handed to students hungry for a meal. What our school does, is that we use plates, and on the plates themselves, are the food in paper cups (like the ones you hold fries in), or put into different corners of the plate. The price might be similar to what is being served in right now if not cheaper, but it definitely presents a way more palatable desire to eat. As for the food itself, it's very average; the praxis of all school lunches around the country.

  6. I agree! That has to be so pricey to purchase seperate packages of everything! Surely with all of the school budget cuts happening, this could be a good way to cut some budgets! I still can't get over how many ingredients are in a school pizza! Our elementary school (i'm a SLP) has no cooking appliances in the cafeteria; they can only re-heat things. We serve only white bread; it's disgusting!

  7. What do you miss eating most? Good on you for eating this stuff – I'm just astounded that we feed it to our kids for years on end. Maybe your work, along with others, will make a change. Now THAT would be fantastic 🙂

  8. hey there, aurora here,

    I'm 21 now and I don't remember that much packaging in school lunch in my highschool. I'm in maryland though so it might be different where you are and it's quite a few years later.

    I remember washable trays, silverware? and the only packaging i remember is for the milk, and plastic wrap for brownies or cookies.

  9. It might be interesting for you to do a ranking once school gets out for summer of your preferred main dishes and side dishes.

  10. there is a lot of trash from school lunches, isn't there? This meal doesn't look too horrible, but too bad they don't put any veggies on the pizza so it's more than just cheese! I wonder the same thing as Stephanie, how do they cook the pizza's?

  11. My girls (14, 12,& 9) say the pizza at their schools looks gross. I think they've been spoiled with Dominos and CiCi's. 🙂

  12. I know our kids' school got some kind of funding especially to upgrade the kitchens to get industrial dishwashers and such to cut down on the trash.

  13. I talk about your blog everyday almost it seems, while we sit at lunch in the cafeteria and I feel bad for you. I work at an extremely small, rural school, where we only have two cooks who prepare the food for all of our students. Also, almost all of the teachers *all but two I believe* eat the same food that the students eat on a daily basis, even a good chunk of us eat what they do during breakfast too. We have a hot lunch almost every day, even on days where we have things like pita pockets, or sub sandwiches they still heat up the pork and beans that go along with it. All of our food is served in the washable plastic trays, and we still have real silverware, and forks, spoons and knives. The only times that we have anything less than the plastic trays and real silverware we have Styrofoam trays and plastic silverware and it's only on holidays, or when the cooks are leaving early so that there is less mess.

    Anyways, I'm always so anxious to see what you've had for the day, and I can't believe how many times in the 70 days you've done this project that you've had pizza. I'm floored.

    I commend you for what you do with this project, and I will say that your project has made quite the impression on my fellow colleagues and the students that I teach. I wish you luck!

  14. I find it strange that your school serves food with the plastic film still on it. At my school (I'm a senior in high school), everything is served in those little paper trays without the plastic covering it. The way food is served in school makes it seem as if it really was "cooked" and not merely heated up. The cost is the downfall though–nearly $3 for food that has downgraded over the past few years.

  15. hmmm… schools make kids bring in pencils, notebooks, etc., don't they? what if they made kids bring in some sort of reusable food container everyday also? and for days when kids forget them, they can have backup plates for sale. hmmmm.

  16. Schools do fund raisers all the time. Why not do a fund raiser to get plates or trays, flatware, and a dishwasher? It might take a bit of time and effort. And I'm sure that there are schools or businesses out there that have upgraded their current dishwasher and are looking for a home for the old one… Same with trays and flatware. Heck I'd send the plastic trays I bought at WalMart a few yrs back.

  17. When I first saw the pictures I thought it was odd that everything came in sealed packages. In my school in VA we have very little packaging.
    Most things are served in small paper rectangular bowls.
    There are a few Styrofoam cups.
    And a few square soft plastic bowls.
    And things like pizza don't have a package at all. We pick it up with a spatula and put it on our tray.

    We did however use styrofoam trays and disposable silverware, which I wish was different.

  18. Wow this one brings me back…! I remember once in elementary school when they served french bread pizza, they forgot to take the plastic wrapping off the top of the pizza, so the plastic melted over the cheese. Yes, I ate it. How was I supposed to know?

  19. Just started looking at your blog today, it is very interesting!
    I am a school teacher also. I was outside with the small elementary kids as they were enjoying field day. I was surprised, and maybe awarte of all the junk food that was being consumed in between events:( Sodas and chips seemed to be the norm. One boy had two bags on his lap eating them at the same time…

    Hope your blog effects some change!

  20. Why pizza and pretzels? That makes no sense to me. I understand the carrots and fruit cup, but why are pretzels necessary (nutritionally) when the pizza crust is a big piece of french bread?

  21. The main reason why schools don't use reusable trays isn't so much the initial capital cost of purchasing said items, it's the associated labor costs of washing those trays. In many instances, it would require hiring an additional person or paying overtime to the current staff. School's simply do not have the budget to hire additional staff.

  22. That pizza doesn't look too appetizing to me. However, it looks better than the "Tony's" frozen pizza, with bacon bits, and an unknown source of cheese,packaged in plastic that they serve at my school.

  23. The lunch is served with carrots and someone posts "there's no green." And if there were not carrots someone would post "there's no color" or "there's no vegetables". Lol

    There's always going to be something to complain about if you see what you want to see. Try looking at what is there, instead of just seeing what isn't there.

    Any meal served with carrots is a plus in my book.

  24. Hi Mrs. Q,

    Loving the blog! Our class did an analysis of foam plates last year and we made the switch to Corelle (and dishwashers). While it doesn't address the packaging issue (our school lunches are delivered fully cooked from our caterer), it may help get your students thinking about the post-lunch quandary of the garbage! Our report is in a PDF format, if you're interested in seeing it.

  25. Perhaps a funny question. I know you are trying to be anonymous, and I understand why…but…if that teacher who gave you the salad is truly reading your blog, wouldn't you have just "outed" yourself??? Just wondering about that….

  26. I'm trying to be less paranoid because people are sick of me whining about it. And so I decided to share some more details.

  27. I'm just curious as to how your school deals with children who have specific allergies. I'm deathly allergic to tomatoes, and when I'd eat school lunches as a kid, sometimes all of the available entrees had tomatoes in them (and sometimes you couldn't tell so it was better safe than sorry).

  28. I teach at an elementary school and we just recently (past couple years) switched from using reusable trays to styrofoam. I was concerned about all the waste, so I asked the cafeteria manager why we switched to styrofoam. She told me that it is more cost-effective to use styrofoam. The reusable trays, metal forks and spoons are just sitting in the kitchen. So it seems that stryrofoam trays are cheaper even without the initial investments in purchasing reusuable containers.

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