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An Adventure in Ambiguous Meat: Bork Burgers

In our school, in the vegetable-y bounty of garden-y wonderfulness, our students eat food in bags. Heated pizza in a bag. Chicken fingers in a bag. Apples in a bag. Everything in a bag. EVERYTHING. If they could package liquid in a bag, they would. OH WAIT. THEY DID. Chocolate milk in a bag.

While the parents, students, teachers, and faculty are welcome to grow and harvest whatever they want in the garden, we're not at a point where we can feed every student lunch from the garden. Until then, they'll eat what the school cafeteria serves them. So, Ali and I were curious to what exactly goes into the stomach of our young gardeners everyday.

So, at lunch, we  followed the herd down a yellow line leading us straight into the cafeteria. The first thing that hit me was the smell of ketchup. Automatically, I realized that all my nostalgic odorous memories of cafeteria food revolved around ketchup.  Good ole' high fructose corn syrupyness.  Strange, how nothing changes.

When we got to the cafeteria line, the other thing that I immediately realized was that while the grumpy, hair net-wearing cafeteria workers were still behind the counter manning the fort, they weren't there to serve lunch! Rather, they were assembling individually plastic wrapped and heated food and putting them in trays. What happened to the days where the cafeteria lady would scoop brown gravy into a small well in the middle of a mound of re-hydrated mash potato flakes? Where was the canned green beans still swimming in its own water?

Apparently, I had it really good in my childhood.

As we stood in front of a mountainous stack of pre-assembled trays of plastic covered reheated food, it was the moment of truth. Do I take this $2.50 and buy a tray or run as fast as I can to the taco shop next door? (One marginally healthier than the other... I'll let you decide which one is which)

Obviously, I went with this Michelin-starred tray o' bagged stuff.

Ambiguous mystery meat patty, mushy tater tots, whole wheat buns (the healthy version?), orange juice in a bag, and chocolate milk in a bag.

As the grease waifted up and into my nostrils, I took the initial bite and was struck by spongy ambiguity of the meat. Is it beef? Is it pork? IS IT BORF?

The world would never know, but apparently ambiguous meat is perfectly fine to feed the children of LAUSD. This is all, of course, followed by mushy tater tots and bags of chocolate milk.

I'll let you decide on the lesson learned.

1. Food tastes as good as it looks. See pictures.

2. Our school district is feeding what they believe what the future of our country deserve to eat. See pictures.

3. The tacos next door are very tasty.

Reader Comments (3)

I would be laughing if I wasn't crying. The low quality of school meat is an important issue right now and I'm glad so much awareness is being raised. But until this post, I didn't quite realize they were serving "BORF"! Thanks for this hilarious recap of your brave investigation into the School Cafeteria (insert creepy horror film music here).

January 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEvangeline

Right after college and before the tattoos I used to substitute teach. I was horrified at the food being served.

I never ate in a cafeteria. My mother packed me a humble lunch everyday.

We talk about food security and the need to grow our own. The system is failing the school children on several levels. How can we expect them to learn when they haven't received proper nutrition? *sigh*

Nothing on that cardboard tray is edible. Well, at least you can throw the cardboard in the compost bin.


January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnarchy in the Garden

eek! this takes cafeteria food to the next level. and heating in plastic bags?! apparently the school district didn't hear that wasn't good for the body OR the landfill. what a shame.

my homie is a lunch lady for fresno unified. she's still in the kitchen MAKING food. granted it's government cheese and's at least school cooked. this is just processed nastiness.

poor kids.

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterUNI

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