Entering into the first full school year since covid, countless questions were running through the mind’s of BH students, though one question seemed exceedingly more important than the others: How will the lunches be this year? After students were burdened with eating the classic Mr. Sandwich in isolation every day or, on special occasions, having a Rooster chicken sandwich for the first half of the 2021-2022 school year, sit-down, family-style lunches were highly anticipated by the majority of the BH community. Unfortunately, a considerable portion of the BH community has been left dissatisfied with BH food program after the first few weeks of school due to factors largely outside of the kitchen staff’s control. To resolve this dissatisfaction with the current BH food program, we must first analyze the key complaints made by students about lunch, identify the underlying issues, and then I will propose simple solutions to improve BH lunch.
The primary issue many students have raised with BH lunch is that the lunches are lacking in quality. I’ll concede that this viewpoint has some merit: There have been a few lackluster lunches this year. However, variation in lunch schedule necessitates a “bad” lunch every once in a while. Unless BH students want the same rotation of lunches every week or two, the lunch staff has to try out new lunches, and not everyone is going to love every new meal. In my personal opinion, I think the standard of lunch quality has been relatively high this year with some particularly strong options being the cheese ravioli with a choice of marinara or alfredo sauce on 9/13 and the pork schnitzel and curly fries on 9/22. Moreover, even if a student doesn’t love the lunch option on a particular day, he has the ability to go to the salad bar, get some soup, or make a panini. With so many options, I find it hard to believe that the quality of food is the main issue with school lunches.
The second issue students often bring up about BH lunch is the quantity of food. In my opinion, herein lies the real issue with school lunches. On several occasions, when several students quickly finish the main entreé in a short amount of time, a line forms in the kitchen where and students have been left waiting for a considerable amount of time for the kitchen to refill the serving plates With an allotted lunch time of only around 30 minutes (and even less for waiters), students have a very limited time window to eat, and so the delay caused by these long lines means that many students don’t always get enough to eat or, on rare occasions, don’t get to eat at all. Moreover, on such an occasion when students are waiting a considerable amount of time for the kitchen staff to refill the serving plates, students often turn to their other lunch options, and, in doing so, create a significant amount of traffic up at the salad bar, hot bar, and panini presses, increasing the wait for alternative food options. Moreover, when the panini presses are broken, as is the case at the time this article is being written, the lunch options are significantly limited, and students might not have enough to eat.
While the problems addressed above are fairly significant, there are two simple solutions which would address these problems without placing an unnecessary burden on the kitchen staff. First, if the kitchen staff would increase the quantity of food on the serving plates, tables would not run out of food less often, reducing congestion in the kitchen. To implement this solution, the kitchen staff would, at most, need to buy larger serving plates and would not have to increase the quantity of food produced at all. Secondly, a better system to ensure the proper use of the panini machines would help to maintain the number of lunch options available. Potential solutions might be a camera, a faculty monitor, or, perhaps more practically, signs above the panini presses instructing students on proper use of the machines.
While this article has highlighted many issues with the current state of the BH food program, it is important to acknowledge that the kitchen staff has still done an excellent job fulfilling anexceptionally challenging job. Personally, I have loved many of the lunch options to date, and only hope that these options will be implemented so that the lunch experience of the students will be improved.