For me, priority number one is to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere in the cafeteria at Edison. If the students associate the cafeteria with being a warm, safe, supportive, and positive environment, they will be exponentially more likely to want to visit with me and see and hear what is going on.
I hope to continually introduce new healthy and exciting items, while still providing some items that kids will find familiar. I want them to feel that if they come for breakfast or lunch, they know they will find something they will like. Getting into the classrooms with samples is important so they will grow more familiar with some newer items, and hopefully be more likely to choose them in the future.
I try to pay close attention to what students like. I noticed the other day that one of our second grade students likes the sandwich with turkey, turkey bacon, and cheese. Recently she had a side of the blueberry dressing we offer, and dunked her sandwich in the dressing…and liked it. I hadn’t thought of this as being a way to introduce that dressing to the students, but I love that they are doing it. At that age, she may not yet be ready to make the jump to the spinach salad that the dressing is paired with. But as she gets older, I think she will be much more likely to someday try that salad, now that she knows she likes the dressing. By providing things like sweet peppers with the hummus plate, we can hopefully do the same. And I just introduced a yogurt dressing to go with the Greek salad.
My latest idea is to build a menu item called Toucan Tofu. It will be a very colorful and tasty tofu dish. Then, perhaps if any teachers are interested, we could have an art project to draw, or create, the Tofu Toucan. This would basically be trying to draw on the popularity of things like Kung-Fu Panda and the like. Students will be more likely to try a new item that is fun. I want students to have fun with food and it is important to me that the lunchroom be a fun place to dine…full of learning school spirit.
This is also true of building in the possibility of lunches based on subjects that are being taught. If a teacher is interested in celebrating the culmination of a project with a certain menu, we can do that!
In 2013, our Edison 4th grade students were able to articulate what they would like to see come out of our kitchen. Our district director or Nutrition Services, Keith Fiedler (thanks Keith!), visited our classrooms and asked students their opinions on what to serve for breakfast and lunch at Edison. Their ideas have now become a reality and our menu has changed to reflect their desire to have more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Our menu now includes Edison’s own Chef Ray originals:
- Homemade potato soup made from Oregon grown red potatoes.
- Hand rolled bean and cheese burritos with pinto beans, rice, and cheddar cheese.
- Local white bean and veggie burgers.
- Chicken fajita quesadillas in whole wheat tortillas served with fresh salsa.
- Spinach and tomato quiche with roasted potatoes.
- Hummus plates served with fresh vegetables and whole grain bread
- ….and much more!
Fresh and local foods from our local Willamette Valley farms
Local Highlighted Farm
|October||Kiwi Berries||Green Gable Gardens|
|December||Kiwi||Green Gable Gardens|
|January||Apples||Wildrose Apple Farm|
|February||Dried Pinto Beans for Chili||Hunton’s Farm|
|March||Red Potatoes||Wong Potato Farm|
|May||Frozen Strawberries||Thistledown Farm|