Lunch Break

School Lunch for October 16th, 2012

Hamburg steak, egg drop soup, dried blueberries

Served on October 10th, 2012 in a Saitama Elementary School

Hamburg steak with sauteed onions on a bun

Hamburg steak with sauteed onions on a bun

Today’s lunch wasn’t terrible. Actually, it was almost passable. Everyday an assigned group of kids from the 5th and 6th grade get to broadcast their own radio show type program from the school PA system’s broadcasting room. Most days they read the official school menu’s description of what lunch consists of and what it’s made of with some words of encouragement to get the little kids to clean their plates. Today they added an addendum to the announcement: Today’s lunch was a new, untried combination with new, never before seen elements.  Sure, we’ve had hamburg steak before. But, today we were served hamburg steak topped with sauteed onions! It wasn’t half bad. I stuffed that sucker into the provided dinner roll and ate like a queen.

Official Menu

Official Menu

The little packet you see in the foreground was a new item as well: Dried blueberries. The daily menu listed them as “Oishi Blueberries” meaning “Delicious Blueberries” but the kids didn’t believe a word of it. They were instantly suspicious of this tiny baggy of what looked like rabbit food. The class I had lunch with was a group of 4th graders and their teacher was pretty strict. Everyone must eat everything on their plates everyday! So, there was much debate at my table of how to hide or otherwise secretly get rid of the tiny packet of gross looking blueberries. One boy tried to hide it in his tooth brush cup saying he’d eat it tomorrow but the guilt caught up with him and he finished it by the end of the meal.  The thing was, the blueberries were actually pretty good. I’m not even a fan of blueberries in particular, but I damn loved this dried fruit dessert.

There was also much talk of the “Three Second Rule” as one kid dropped his bread on the floor. They decided it was safe to eat because it had only been on the floor for one second. I was a little mortified. Those floors are… not clean. We’ll leave it at that. But, still funny that it’s universal. I also got in trouble with the teacher for not finishing my bread. Sorry, teach.

Snack for Visitors

Snack for Visitors

For the last part of the day, a handful of teachers came to the school for the frequently occurring observations and district meetings. As usual, the cleaning lady worked her magic on preparing tea and snacks for them. She only has the crummy resources of the school but she always manages to make new, interesting, and pretty displays for the guests. Once, she made left over milk into a pudding-like gelatin dessert. Today was a little simpler. She served green tea in green and white cups on a wooden platter with small chocolate crunch bars placed artfully on folded paper bits. It was quite beautiful. I wonder what she did in her previous work.

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This entry was published on October 16, 2012 at 7:00 am and is filed under School Lunches. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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