Day 90: chili *milestone*

Today’s menu: chili, beans, tortilla chips, fruit icee, milk

I guess I forgive the meal planners *somewhat* for offering an “icee” today because it was hot at school. The school is not “climate controlled,” so a frozen juice bar makes sense to cool off. Looking over past lunches, the last time I ate this exact lunch was February 16th, which was not exactly “icee” weather. The biggest problem I have with the icee (which contains HFCS) is that the kids only have time to eat the icee, milk and the chips, which leads to exhaustion, jumpiness, and overall hunger later.

I ate everything today including a significant chunk of the icee. You can see in the picture that it was cold. Hey, although it was super sweet, I liked it because it was a cold treat. A kid labeled this lunch “tacos,” which I don’t think it qualifies for because wouldn’t we need a tortilla (hard or soft) for it to be a taco? I’m calling it “chili” but it’s really “tex-mex” without the rice on the bottom. Strange stuff.

I have to say I was ravenous by the end of day and was rummaging around my desk drawers for anything I could find. I ended up eating a stale rice cake with peanut butter to hold me over. As I was going home I was overwhelmed by a desire for pizza delivery, but thankfully I did not give in and came home to heat up leftovers from our great weekend of food. I don’t even remember the last time we ordered pizza for delivery…maybe 18 months ago? For me that was an unusual craving.


I have eaten school lunches for the equivalent of half of a school year (the average school year is 180 days). I can’t believe I’ve made it this far. Should I be happy about this milestone? I am because I challenged myself to do something wild and here I am. It sure has been an experience. The project has been life-changing in big ways, but at school I still go along as if nothing is happening at all. Very few friends and even family know about what I’m doing online here. I think this summer I’m going to reveal myself to a few more friends and family members.

One thing I want to share with you is that while the project and my original goal stay semi-static, my job and my life are dynamic and have evolved. That means I’ve been thinking about my career in a new way. At this point I’m just in deep thought. I really enjoy thinking deeply and generating ideas. That’s how I came up with the blog! I have more great ideas simmering…it’s just a matter of execution.


Totally unrelated to the project, a very serious kid told me today:
“It was my birthday and then a fly bit me.”
It’s hard not to smile, but I tried to take in that information sympathetically. That does suck! But it was so cute too.

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17 thoughts on “Day 90: chili *milestone*

  1. Your school doesn't have freaking air conditioning? Even the ancient Romans had climate controlled rooms. Wow.

    The meal looks like a chili base + noodles? Awful half-breed food. Half noodly goodness, half chili-y goodness…all wrong.

  2. You've eaten a lot of really bad looking lunches… but that chili looks pretty horrible. Also, I have to say that it always amazes me that a HFCS juice pop/drink is counted as fruit for a meal.

    You should organize a waste-free lunch next year… that'd get you one really good lunch 😉

  3. why did they give you chili AND beans? seems like an odd thing for them to pair the chili with to me.

  4. When I first read the title I saw chili minestrone and was really confused, how can you combine chili and minestrone soup? I do not think the combination would be palatable, and I hope that chili tasted better than that theoretical combination.

  5. Chili AND beans? Looks like a lunch made almost entirely of brown lumpy sludge.

    Not the most appetizing-looking meal in the world…

  6. A lot of these lunches are really unappetizing, but this looks awful. I am guessing that's a meat-based chili and then beans on the side? Not very balanced, even for processed stuff.

    Oh sorry, they did throw in some Tostitos and some cherry-flavored sugar water. Yeah, my bad.

  7. You rock for doing this. It amazes me how many times you have a dessert as part of your meal (icees, cookies). In our district, those items are extra and not even offered to the Kindergartners.

  8. @Stepshep There are no noodles in this one!?

    @Anonymous I wouldn't call it "minestrone" because there are no beans in the chili. It's just taco meat stuff.

    It sure was a weird lunch…

    Thanks for the compliments. The project is redefining my life somewhat.

  9. What you ate there, Mrs. Q., would be called "Nacho Ole`" in local school food service lingo, but we would have had a (small) sprinkle of cheese on either the beans or the chili.

  10. Wow, in Belgium we don't even consider giving food like this to children. That isn't a healthy meal, would not even give this to a dog…

  11. You're supposed to have beans IN the chili (ok, I know that makes me a bad Texan since we're not supposed to put beans in chili, but I like beans), so if I was eating that I'd mix the beans and chili together.

    When I was in elementary school, one of my favorite school lunches was the soft tacos. They weren't that good but soooo much better than what is shown here (that stuff looks like vomit). It was taco meat with iceberg lettuce and chopped tomato (fresh vegetables OMG!), and shredded cheese in a soft flour tortilla. They came with pinto beans and spanish rice on the side. For some reason I always felt the need to deconstruct my taco and dump the filling out, mix it with the rice and beans, and eat that with a spoon and eat the torilla on the side. Maybe because the tacos were messy and if I tried to eat it in the torilla, the guts just fell out the back anyway.

    I'm guessing Ms. Q lives somewhere in the north, since up north a lot of buildings don't have air conditioning. It seems shocking to me, being a Texan, but when I've traveled up to Minnesota or New York before, AC was a rare thing. I guess it makes sense since it's only really hot for like one week a year. Not worth installing a whole AC system for that.

    Global warming's gonna be fun for y'all!

  12. you act as if school lunches are a bad thing, the truth is so many kids (including myself, until this year)eat school lunches everyday for as many as 15 years (2 years pre-school, kendergarden, 1st, 2nd….)we never complain, some of us eat breakfast, lunch, then most of us have a snake when we get home, lastly, dinner, just because you may nit like them dosn't mean noone else does. Though are lunch is 45 min. and were in middle school, your school deffinitly needs to be no less the 30min. if its not already, you say how kids don't have enough time to eat everything.

  13. My homemade chili always has the beans in it, not on the side. Is this supposed to be like Nacho's without the dayglo cheese?

    It really bothers me that the icee is the fruit for the day.

    No climate control. Is that a cost saving measure from the board of Ed. or is there no AC in the schools in your area?

    Our last day of school was June 1. I'm looking forward to seeing how you handle the Summer. I'm hoping that you keep the momentum up and keep motivating the masses.

  14. What do you mean there's no noodles?!?! What the heck is that yellow-y stuff in the top-right-quadrant?

  15. That pic looks disgusting. When I taught in the US I used to have major concerns about the state paid breakfast that was offered as well. Totally inadequate. I work in Honduras now with kids, and I insist on quality food in our small program. Today was ham and cheese quesadillas, fruit choice of orange or banana and a glass of milk. When I took over, we got rid of the cookies,crackers, and juice that was mostly sugar, and over reliance on peanut butter sandwiches. We try to have a fruit and veggie in every meal. I have 85 to 100 kids that we feed. I love it!

  16. i am actually an 8th grade student who reads this blog. i do think the school lunches are terrible. at my school if you hold the pizza up on its side you can watch the grease drip off of it. i really like this blog. i also think all schools should have air conditioning. at my school it is hard to learn because, most of the class rooms are about 85 degrees in the summer. our school lunch is not as bad as the lunches on here.

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