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More than a Mozzerella Stick

by: Rheanna Valentine/Senior Writer

Lunch is most students’ favorite part of the day. Not only because of the break time, but because it’s the time when most refuel. There are many different lunches provided to us, but only one can be the best. 

The options were first dialed down through interviews, where the top choices came out to be mac and cheese, pasta and mozzarella sticks, pizza, mashed potato bowl, ham and cheese on a pretzel, grilled cheese, baked potato bar, and chicken patty. 

Once these options were targeted down the next step was to find the number one. This was done through a google form survey that got sent out to all of our high school students. Although not every student responded to the survey, the final result ended up being pasta and mozzarella sticks. 

The glorious mozzarella sticks are served with pasta and sauce, broccoli, fruit, and milk to wash it down. Students of Blue Ridge get in the lunch line everyday and fill their trays with food to fill their stomachs. 

What goes into these meals though? 

There is more work and steps that go into school lunch than you would think. Did you know that the food your biting into had to be ordered a whole year in advance? Mrs. Linda Cole-Koloski, our school’s Food Service Manager took the time to explain the actions she takes in order to run our cafeteria. 

The first steps of providing our lunch, starts a year in advance. This is when Mrs. Linda orders food from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA sends materials to Highlinder Food, so they can make products that gets served to students. When it comes to the favorited mozzarella sticks, cheese is sent from the USDA and the sticks are made with that cheese. This allows for discounting in price, because some of the materials needed are already being provided, which is known as diversion.

Once all of the food and materials are made it comes down to the process of making the menu. Foods for the menu are ordered a week in advance, so incase anything doesn’t work out there is time to fix the problem or come up with replacements. When mozzarella sticks are on the menu things like milk, spices, tomato sauce, pasta, and mozzarella sticks has to be ordered.  Determining the foods that go onto the menu is more intricate than you would think. There are many requirements that have to be met for every single meal. Students need to take in specific amounts of calories and nutrients, in order to reach weekly targets. These targets are reached through projections and math. When it comes to our lunch, there are no random numbers or amounts. Grades have different amounts that should be obtained, which is why there are different serving sizes or extras. For example, high school students get larger portions than elementary and even get things like juice cups. Everything on our trays has a certain amount of calories that all add up in the end. Take the time to look into the lunch plans, weekly certification worksheet, and base menu spreadsheets and you will begin to understand all of the work that goes into your food. 

Next time you bite into your favorite meal, whether it’s a mozzarella stick or something else, think about the work and planning that went into it. In the end, the making of our school lunch is not an easy process and should be appreciated.

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rheanna valenitne
rheanna valenitne
Rheanna Valentine is a first year journalism student, and a senior at Blue Ridge School District. She enjoys participating in both cross country and track. She is involved in many clubs, but science club is her favorite. She has goals to go to college, in order to pursue on becoming a marine biologist.
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