I've worked on all 3 levels, high school, middle school, and elementary. I'm currently working at an elementary school during breakfast and a middle school during lunch. I know just about all there is to know about that food that YOU know nothing about.

Proof: proof

edit: I have to sleep.. I have work at 6 in the morning! Thank you guys for the questions and I'll answer more when I can!

Comments: 536 • Responses: 84  • Date: 

razl_dazl88 karma

What's the nastiest thing you serve at your cafeteria in your opinion?

Oddment_Tweak106 karma

I've tried everything that we serve, and the only thing I don't really like are the sloppy joes. They put the meat mixture right on the bun and then wrapped it all together and everything just got all soggy and nasty. Everything else tends to be pretty good, and my favorite has probably been the shepherd's pie. Most of our specials are really popular, like orange chicken with rice, chicken strips, chili, spaghetti with a roll, pasta bake, etc.

short_lurker18 karma

I really liked when sloppy joes were served during lunch. They don't remember them looking as messy as you described but they were wrapped and ready to go.

Also chicken teriyaki mmm best lunches during elementary school for me.

Oddment_Tweak31 karma

It might just be me, I'm not a big fan of soggy bread at all. Some kids really like the sloppy joes though!

I LOVED chicken teriyaki in elementary! They don't serve it here anymore though :(

Illadelph20687 karma

How come no matter how much I flirt with you lunchladies, you never give me a second handful of fries :(

Oddment_Tweak140 karma

We're hard to crack.

Big_Bang_Walker71 karma

Why do they insist on providing all parts of a "healthy" lunch to kids that don't want some of the items which leaves tons of fruit and milk cartons to be thrown out everyday? In California at the High School level.

Oddment_Tweak93 karma

Honestly, I wish I knew. It's like that at all of the levels. If we get audited on a random day, and the auditor sees that the students aren't leaving with at least one fruit and one entree on their tray, our program will lose it's funding. It does result in a huge amount of waste, and often I have to tell kids to just throw it away themselves, but they HAVE to take it.

ginger_ninja22224 karma

At my school, they set up a table for unwanted bits of school lunches like this. Milk cartons, fruit, the occasional juice carton, all dropped off by students who don't want it, free to take by those who don't have money on a given day.

Oddment_Tweak131 karma

I'd love if we're allowed to do this. That's a great idea.

notstacy51 karma

How are you treated by teachers and other members of staff? Does staff treat you differently depending on which level you work at?

Oddment_Tweak89 karma

It really depends on the person. Most members of the staff are incredibly nice and friendly towards us. But there have been one or two teachers who treat me like an idiot.

MrsDickGrayson10 karma

When I worked at an elementary school, the teachers were awful. Most of them were fresh out of school and in their first year. Numerous times my manager and this 3rd grade teacher would go head to head. (She blamed us for overcharging on a field trip..God I fucking hated field trips....Those were the worst to prepare.)

Oddment_Tweak3 karma

I have a field trip to prepare for next week :(

Most of the teachers at my school seem pretty seasoned. Some of them are stony and indifferent towards me, but most are friendly enough.

runningmoon43 karma

Given that I live in New Zeakand and have very few ideas of what kinds of food served in American schools, and all I do know comes from places like blogs or Reddit complaining about the food... What kinds of food do you serve? Is it as disgusting/horrible as people make it out to be?

Oddment_Tweak64 karma

Here, they get one of these 8 daily options: cheeseburger, chicken sandwich, spicy chicken sandwich, pizza, burrito, sandwich, salad, or parfait. Every day we also have a 'special' which can be anything from spaghetti to chicken strips to taquitos. With that main dish, they have to take a juice, and then they can take 1-2 of the following: milk, fruit, vegetable.

I can only speak for what they serve in my school district, but it's far from disgusting. I've tried all of the foods we make and they're all pretty dang good. Especially the salads and sandwiches, which are made with fresh ingredients each day.

OddDude5511 karma

Are you at Laguna Middle School? Because that is the exact same menu I used to have.

Oddment_Tweak14 karma

Nope :)

Shadow325 karma

There is a reason High school kids still bring their own lunch to school. Everything is frozen and sent to schools for reheating. School lunches also can be fairly expensive. Expensive, reheated, heavily-processed food that never fails to disgust.

Oddment_Tweak40 karma

You're right, almost everything we serve comes frozen. The kids have some good options in the salads, parfaits, and sandwiches, but most of them choose other options. Those are some of our only entrees that are made fresh every day. Here, the lunch is 2.50. Not too expensive as far as it all goes.

saintdev35 karma

What is your opinion of Jamie Oliver and what he was attempting to do on Food Revolution?

Oddment_Tweak5 karma

This has been mentioned a lot so I'll probably check it out sometime tomorrow.

phil0835 karma

What's for lunch today?

Oddment_Tweak48 karma

Chicken taquitos :)

ThatLuisKid33 karma

Has there ever been a time where a kid tried to hit on you?

Oddment_Tweak74 karma

At the high school and middle school, yes. I mostly get kids who say dirty things to me in Spanish expecting me not to be able to understand them.

LLCRad13 karma

I was a lunch lady when I was 24 and some of the students thought I was a student worker and asked if I got credit for it. I usually just went with it for a laugh. (Also California school district at a continuation highschool sometimes it was scary)

Oddment_Tweak24 karma

When I was at the high school I got asked if I was a student a LOT. Mostly by teachers.

TheyCallMeBallin30 karma

Would you honestly say that the food you serve is healthy?

Oddment_Tweak68 karma

I'd have to say it's somewhere in between. I wouldn't call it healthy, but it's definitely better than what they used to get.. which was Pizza Hut, fountain drinks, mozzarella sticks, chips, candy, cookies, etc. Money restrictions make it hard to give the kids the best and the healthiest options. We are still able to get them fresh fruit, romaine lettuce, reduced fat dressings, etc. The pizza has a whole wheat crust, low-fat cheese and pepperoni.

maxk123653 karma

Which is why the pizza taste like ass.

Oddment_Tweak68 karma

Not arguing there.

biaaaa14 karma

What is this you speak of Pizza Hut and shit? I never realized how jipped I was as a kid until now.

antoninj23 karma

At our school, we used to get pizza hut pizza, it was more expensive but worth it for some. We also used to get chic-fil-a breakfasts (at full price). All in High School.

I can honestly say that I loved all this nasty shit but I was poor as fuck. I used to get lunches from all the rich stuck-up kids who'd "get the food" because they had an account and wanted to hang out with friends in the line and then they'd throw it away. I saw SOME literally walk outside the lunch line with a tray of food and just dump it right there, and walk away with a milk carton which they'd take a sip off and throw away.

That was a gold mine for a poor underfed kid like me who wanted to save his lunch money for better things (like Pokemon).

EDIT: having an account is like having "prepay". You'd enter your student ID, if you didn't have an account, you'd pay cash. If you had an account, it'd be deducted. Parents often than not just paid for the entire week every week, no matter what the balance was so some kids would end up skipping some lunches or whatever and then having several trays of food at once during some "good" specials.

For us poor kids, picking up stuff from the salad bar was the way to go. You'd pick up some shredded cheese, some singles cheese, pickles and whatever and made your burger 10x more fantastic.

Acutuse4 karma

I used to raid the dumpsters after lunch session in high school. What the kids didn't throw away, the cafeteria staff did thereafter, and was usually still nicely isolated from the lined trays it was in, or even plastic containers.

Oddment_Tweak21 karma

They make us unwrap the food before we throw it away so no one can rummage in there and get anything. I've gotten in trouble quite a few times for not unwrapping before tossing.

PsychoKittiez1 karma

The schools I went to in CA (elementary, middle, and high school) served Domino's, but it was always kept under a heat lamp for 12 hours and burnt to a crisp.

biaaaa1 karma

We never got that lucky. The pizzas were those rectangle ones with the rubber cheese. I remember my Junior High school got a shake machine, and some kids spit in them and threw them at a teacher, so we lost that quickly. High School was okay, but we never had restaurant type food.

PsychoKittiez1 karma

We had the rectangle ones in elementary school as well. There was a tendency to serve a lot of pizza because most of the kids would eat it, but none of the elementary schools in my town could get Domino's on any day other than a Friday.

In high school they sold it daily in the snack carts (which were cash only) for $2.75 a slice, but usually not as a part of a meal, so the people on free/reduced lunch wouldn't be able to buy them.

Oddment_Tweak3 karma

Yeah, we still make the rectangle pizzas for elementary school, and get to the actual round pizzas in jr high and up. They used to sell Pizza Hut by the slice, but that was all done away with in 2005.

brakedust6 karma

Would life be easier to introduce a mandatory meal plan, where students pay a fixed weekly amount for five days of food? Seems to me with a fixed food income you would have a lot more freedom to plan healthier and more diverse meals.

Oddment_Tweak26 karma

Where EVERY student has to pay? Honestly, 95% or more of the students that we serve lunch to get a free or reduced meal. Most of our program's money is coming from that.

onlyincontext27 karma

Did you watch the episode of Chopped where it was all lunch-lady contestants?

Oddment_Tweak41 karma

Haha, YES! They represented well. It was actually pretty heartwarming to see how much they care.

YourFellowAmerican23 karma

What do you think would benefit school lunches as a whole?

Oddment_Tweak49 karma

More money. Definitely more money. If we were able to spend more on better food, we could put out a better product. We're limited to working 3 hours during the lunch shift, and we're limited to working with almost entirely frozen stuff.

material_methods6 karma

Do you think the USDA subsidizing frozen food is partly to blame with this? If a school wants to cook fresh, they have to buy the ingredients without help from the federal government

Oddment_Tweak7 karma

Yes, definitely. The program can't spend money that it doesn't have. There's no way that we could buy the fresh ingredients that we want to without the entire program going under.

chenone22 karma

What is the most annoying part of your job? What is the best part?

Oddment_Tweak52 karma

The best part is the students. I know that's probably hard to believe, but they can be really sweet, and most of them like talking to us. The worst part, getting everything done in 3 hours. It's a big time crunch with the prepping, cooking, serving, cleaning, etc.

TheHappyZebra17 karma

People in my school (highschool) tend to mess with the lunch ladies. Has this ever happened to you?

Oddment_Tweak39 karma

Yes. It happens more at the middle school. I've had kids throw things at me and call me names. However, I'm allowed to kick them out of my line, or I can get their name when they input their lunch number and give it to the vice principal.

regoapps10 karma

Have you ever done that? And if so, what did that kid do to deserve it?

Oddment_Tweak30 karma

I've closed my line before when kids get too obnoxious. They have a tendency to crowd towards the front, push, shove, cut, etc. If they don't listen to me when I yell at them to make a line, I'll shut my window until they get their act together. I haven't had to take anyone's name to the VP before, but I've come close. Most recently was a kid who stood at the window and just stared at me, refusing to move.

katelyncredible28 karma

Ughh this just brought back some traumatic memories. School lunch lines are the actual worst. So much cutting. So many shenanigans.

Oddment_Tweak7 karma

There really is.. the proctors try to keep it under control, but it's hard for us to keep track of it. Too many other things going on

nothankshanks15 karma

If you see a kid take food what course of action happens? What if they look hungry and tell you they have no money?

At my HS if you didn't have money or you lost it/forgot they had a PB&J for you. I had to ask for one twice in my four years being there and both times I was made to feel shitty. They were kind of assholes about the whole deal.

Oddment_Tweak33 karma

I use my best judgment. There are kids who ask for food just to give me a hard time, and there are ones who do it because they're genuinely hungry. We have a standard forgetter's lunch, which is a cheese sandwich, fruit, and milk. However, I will sometimes give a lunch for free. I'm going to have leftovers at the end of the day anyway. It's unfortunate that they made you feel that way. All of the ladies at my school are very compassionate and understanding.. not all kids can afford lunch.

Oddment_Tweak17 karma

Lol, I was singing that all day on sloppy joe (SLOPPY SLOPPY JOE) day.

CletusAwreetus13 karma

Is there room to get creative in the kitchen? Or is it all procedural.

Oddment_Tweak21 karma

It's mostly procedural. Sometimes we can make banana bread with the extra bananas before they go bad, and give that out to the kids for free.. little things like that. Some of the daily specials allow for some creativity, like the meat sauce for spaghetti or pasta bake.

kylejoesph1113 karma

When I was a fat 6th grader I would eat my pepperoni pizza with the cheese stuffed crust or cheese burger and what not and 3/4's the way I would "drop" my plate, so I could get a new one. It always worked and sometimes they gave me extra!

Was I just that good or are you lunch ladies that nice? :)

Oddment_Tweak14 karma

Both. If you did it often, we'd catch on and probably stop giving it to you. But if you didn't do it often, we have no way of knowing and won't deny you food just because we suspect you're lying :)

Ferdin_And_Ferdinand11 karma

What's in mystery meat?

Oddment_Tweak25 karma

Ground beef! The only 'mystery meat' we get is pure ground beef. It comes in a huge 10lb log, we cook it up with a variety of spices depending on what we're making it for, and that, is the ever elusive mystery meat. Ground beef.

aintnoskank11 karma

Does your school serve crispitos? It's like a fried burrito thing with meat and nacho cheese. They were the shit.

Oddment_Tweak9 karma

No... but that sounds amazing and now I'm disappointed that we don't.

B0SSARU11 karma

Hi, high school student here. Why are we given such small portions of food? I know it's for "health" reasons, but it's not filling at all. Also, they charge us extra if we don't get a milk and fruit when buying the main course, does this happen at your school? And if it does, why?

I don't want to waste stuff I'm not going to eat..

Oddment_Tweak14 karma

At my school you HAVE to take an entree and a juice, we don't usually have a problem getting kids to take those. So no, we don't charge more, and it seems stupid that they would.

About the portions, I'm not sure. Here, the portion sizes aren't really that small. It could just be something that your district does.

maybe_tomorrow_maybe10 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! Not a question, but input from a CA student. I receive free lunch at my high school and it is definitely filling and mildly healthy. We have snack, which is more of a breakfast, and we have everything from cereal to poptarts (exception to the healthy) to yogurt to even French toast! We need an entrée and a milk, and juice is optional.

For lunch, there are two types of lines. There is the line with pre-packaged food, that has anything from Uncrustables, sandwiches, salads, burtitos, paninis, Chinese, enchiladas, to chicken wings. Again, need to take a milk, a fruit or veggie. You can almost always get lunch without your ID here, or just ask nicely and the lunch ladies will put it on your tab. Then there's the buffet line. Monday is baked potatoes with the works, Tuesday are taco bowls with veggies, Wednesday is hamburger (grilled on site) I forget Thursday, and Friday is pasta day. Again, same requirements, and you can also get fresh salad as a side. The buffet meals are prepared on site by a cook. You need to pay cash or present your school ID to enter this line.

Yes, there are vending machines, but usually they're overpriced and keep breaking down during the lunch rush. But overall, I feel that my experience with the lunch service has been great!

TL;DR- food is the bomb.

Thank you for your hard work and care!

Oddment_Tweak5 karma

Thank you! It sounds like you guys had a lot more options than we do right now.

Called_Fox7 karma

What is the logic behind 25 minute lunch periods? It always sucked getting stuck at the end of the line, because it took 20 minutes to get through it.

Oddment_Tweak12 karma

Lunches here are 30 minutes, and most kids are through the line within 15 minutes. When I was in high school, I had the same problem though. I often didn't even buy lunch because I didn't want to spend my free time standing in line.

tony_spumoni6 karma

Why are lunch ladies always ladies? Are the men who aspire to the position shunned, or what?

Oddment_Tweak10 karma

I've worked with a couple lunch guys. I'm not sure why it is they don't seem to get into it as much. The ones I've worked with haven't been very good at their jobs though.. maybe they just aren't cut out for it.

pikameta6 karma

My 4th grade son loves these hard boiled egg things he gets at breakfast. He swears they are not like "easter eggs". Do you have any insight as to what the heck he is eating? i'd like to make them for him on the weekend but i'm stumped.

Oddment_Tweak5 karma

Oh, I have no idea! We don't serve any kind of hard boiled egg at our elementary school.

gummyqueensarah5 karma

Thank you for working to nourish students. When I was in high school, most of my lunch ladies were really, really nice – and I hope I was nice back! Have you ever met any particularly rude students? Any stories? What is a common behavior we should work on fixing (me, talking about general food service interactions)?

Why did you decide to become a lunch lady?

Oddment_Tweak6 karma

There are plenty of rude students. Mostly boys trying to impress their friends. I've had guys say dirty things to me in Spanish, expecting me to not understand. I had a kid throw an eraser at my face once. And most recently I had a kid just stand at my window staring at me.. just staring at me.

Most students are pretty oblivious to the fact that the person giving them their food is real. But it's always so nice to hear a student say 'have a nice day!' or something. It's little, but it makes a difference after 50+ students ignoring you.

I mostly became a lunch lady because, to be honest, I know several of the people who deal with hiring. Plus, the pay is good, and so are the hours. It's really not a bad deal.

Meskaline5 karma

Hi. Can you please tell me, what makes a “complete and healthy” meal there in the U.S.? and What do kids eat on average? (that you of know or can see) thank you.

Oddment_Tweak15 karma

Our daily entrees: cheeseburger, chicken sandwich, spicy chicken sandwich, burrito, pizza, sandwich, salad, parfait. Each day we also have a different special, anything from chicken strips to spaghetti.

With the entree, the students can get 2-3 of the following: capri sun, milk, fruit, vegetable.

Each entree that we serve has to come up to a certain calorie or carb count, and every student HAS to take at least one serving of fruit. Most kids tend to choose the spicy chicken sandwich or the pizza- we make the most of those and run out almost every day.

krampus5 karma

Do you still serve "taco snack"? I very much appreciate your service, but that "food" item was slightly traumatizing.

Oddment_Tweak4 karma

I have never served "taco snack".. and I'm not even sure what that could possibly be

RemiMedic5 karma

Have there been any mandated changes in the foods being served to children in your school? If so, are they able to purchase different food for more money?

Do you agree with the food being provided? (portions, type, rationales?)

Oddment_Tweak8 karma

I hope this answers your question- if not, I apologize.

The biggest changes came in 2005(?) when they completely revolutionized the food program. No more soda, no more candy, no more of the obviously bad for you, greasy pizza, chicken strips, mozzarella sticks, etc. We used to sell all of those things in the lunch line. Now they only get what is a part of the 'healthy school lunch'- they put in their lunch number and get an entree, juice, milk, fruit or vegetable. We DO still serve some snack items on carts that we take outside. At those we sell baked chips, water, gatorade, flavored water, and a couple different types of snack items.

socalova4 karma

At my high school in BC Canada, there are cooking courses that allow for kids to help in cooking/preparing the food. They also have more variety of meals served everyday, and sell only healthy foods. Do you have a program where kids are involved in helping prepare the food?

Oddment_Tweak7 karma

No, we don't have a program like that. I'm sure it's a liability issue more than anything. We have student helpers who come in and help us serve for about 10 minutes in exchange for a free lunch.

drixyl4 karma

What is your official job title? Is 'lunch lady' considered antiquated or diminutive at all? Or is it endearing?

Oddment_Tweak7 karma

I don't mind being called a lunch lady. My official job title is just plain 'food service worker'.

elephantx2 karma

How do you deal with customers who are unappreciative?

Oddment_Tweak4 karma

Just let it roll off my shoulders. In most cases it's not worth it to get all worked up.

threwawayaway2 karma

I am currently a middle school student in the Corona /Norcco district and thay bring juice it up every wednesday. Do they have certain special items that come from outside of the school. -By the way im always nice to the lunch ladies.

Oddment_Tweak6 karma

Occasionally at the high schools they'll bring in In N Out or Coldstone. Sometimes the student council will have a barbecue. That's only a few times a year though. We don't have anything that comes out weekly.

burritoluv2 karma

Hi! Thanks for the AMA!

At my school, there's three different lines you can go through. I like routine, so I always go through the same line. The lady at the end, I have no idea what her name is, but I always say hi, type in my lunch number, then say thank you and go with my friends to eat my lunch.

For some reason, she is really nice to me! She always says "Hi burritoluv!" every time it's my turn and seems genuinely happy to see me, then when I was sick one day, my friends told me that the lunch lady asked where I was. I noticed that with every other kid in line, they just punch in their number and go, and she says nothing to any of them, just me. Does she just randomly think I'm a nice person, or is it because I always say hello and thank you?

Oddment_Tweak3 karma

It's probably because you say hello and thank you. Actually, it's most definitely that. If 100 kids come through my line, 98 of them don't say anything to me other than telling me what they want for lunch. I remember the kids who make it a point to say 'have a good day!' or something.

elephantx2 karma

What's the one dish you wish you could prepare for your students but you cannot?

Oddment_Tweak7 karma

Basically anything that requires real cooking. Almost everything we make is a heat and serve kinda thing. It'd be nice to be able to make something fresh.

fucking_spacecats2 karma

Orange chicken with rice, pasta bake - it sounds like California schools serve much better lunches than their Georgia counterparts. Have you ever experienced another county/state's school lunches? If so, what was your impression of them?

Oddment_Tweak1 karma

I've never served lunch in a different state or even county. It'd be pretty interesting to see all of the differences in quality, though.

BarstowLyons2 karma

Two questions.

1) Working all three levels, is there a difference in selection and quality as a student gets older.

2) What would you want the parents to know about the food there children are consuming?

Oddment_Tweak13 karma

1- Yes! There is a big difference between elementary school lunches and middle/high school lunches. Elementary school kids get fewer options, and a much smaller portion size. Where ms/hs kids get 9 or so options for what to eat, elementary school kids get two options. Also, the food we get for elementary schools is just kinda weird. For example, one of the options is 'chicken double dogs' which are two mini (very small) frozen, wrapped hot dogs (bun and all) that get heated up in an oven and dished out like that.

2- Honestly I just think parents should be aware of what their kid is eating in general. Especially if you're one of the few kids who actually has to pay for their lunch. They should know all of the options available. Besides that, there's nothing too scandalous that parents should know.

LarneyStinson2 karma

What advice can you offer parents to make your life easier?

Oddment_Tweak5 karma

I don't deal with parents as much at my level, the only things I can think of- make sure you're keeping track of how much money you give your kid to put in their lunch account. Too often the kid's account runs out of money and they can't have the full lunch. Also, at the elementary level, parents should make sure their kid knows their lunch number. It's not a huge inconvenience, but when I have to stop the line to look up a lunch number and write it down, it wastes time the kids could be eating.

dirtydan2252 karma

In your opinion, do you think the school district serves the food it sometimes does to save money, or because the tax payers don't want to pay the money to get quality food?

Oddment_Tweak3 karma

If the program got more money, I'm positive they'd spend it on a higher quality product. I often hear about having to cut things out of the serving menu because we simply can't afford it.

Brett_Favre_42 karma

Do you have children? And if you do, do they bring lunch to school or eat the school lunch?

Oddment_Tweak6 karma

I don't have any kids. My mom was a lunch lady too, and I ate at school.

IronGranny2 karma

I have a friend who would literally just walk up and ask for free lunch and get it. He wasn't on a reduced plan or anything. Has anyone tried doing this to you? Also would you get mad if I pronounce foods incorrectly. Like Jalepenos is Ja-lop-enos or Fajits is Fa-gitas? If I try that with a spanish lunch lady I don't get my food untill I say it right.

Oddment_Tweak11 karma

Kids try that all the time, but I can't give out free lunches. I can offer a forgetters lunch, or I'll let them to take some fruit. Occasionally I'll let them have a lunch and pay me back the next day. It kinda just depends on how they ask. And I really don't care how anyone pronounces the food, wrong or right I give it out!

biaaaa1 karma

Why are crispitos so God damned good. I mean really, those were like crack to me when I was in school.

Oddment_Tweak1 karma

We don't serve those :(

bigfatround01 karma

What are the qualifications for getting a job like that?

Oddment_Tweak2 karma

I just had about 6 months experience working in a hospital kitchen before I got this job. They're just looking for people with some basic food handling knowledge, safety knowledge, etc.

GentleVenom1 karma

Please answer.

Okay at every school iv been to they just flat out run out. And I don't eat. Are you actually out or what?

Cuz I know you don't get shipments everyday, is it like you can only serve so many in a day or what?

Oddment_Tweak5 karma

It's poor planning on their part if they run out. When we run out of food, we ALWAYS have nachos for back up. It's unacceptable to make a student go hungry because you didn't plan well enough to feed every student. We tend to get a general idea of how many students are coming in to eat each day, and we shoot to make about 20-30 more than that number. At my school, we rarely ever run out of food to the point of having to use nachos. We are always throwing away food because we made too much.

Driftover1 karma

Nachos if you run out... Portola? or is this a common thing.

Oddment_Tweak2 karma

It's probably just a common thing. It's a dish that needs little to no prep. Easy to throw some chips in a dish and give a nacho cheese out.

Murpeen121 karma

I teach. So, no matter what I eat from our caf, I get diarrhea. I also have a peanut allergy and I've had several out breaks without eating nuts. I stopped eating the caf and my problems went away. It's probably a me thing... But I wonder.

Oddment_Tweak2 karma

We have a full list of which products of ours contain peanuts.. I've never gotten any complaints here though. Can't say one way or another about the diarrhea. I usually don't have a problem when I eat our food :)

Yaymi1 karma

Thanks for doing the AMA!

1) How long have you worked as a lunch lady, and

2) In that time how have the school lunches improved or worsened?

Oddment_Tweak2 karma

I've only been doing it for about 3 years, so I'm not going to have a great answer here. They definitely haven't worsened, they've mostly stayed the same. However, they've lately (within the past 2 months) been trying to get more organic vegetables in the kitchen. We also have started offering side salads with romaine lettuce as a vegetable option, which didn't happen before.

kgilr71 karma

I always hated the smell of the lunchroom burgers. I could never figure out why they looked and tasted so different to burgers from the "outside world", do you know what goes into the burger meat?

Oddment_Tweak5 karma

I don't know off the top of my head. All I can say for sure is that they come to us 100% cooked and frozen, all we're doing is heating them up in a pan. We get our patties from here

yo-yo-yo1 karma

Who is in charge of deciding on the menu? Is it a school thing, district thing, state thing...?? Do you or your team get to get creative?

Oddment_Tweak3 karma

I have no say over the menu, I'm inclined to think it's a district thing.

0hBother1 karma

Does your school have a free lunch program? I had heard there is no such thing as a free lunch...

Oddment_Tweak3 karma

Yes, we have a free and reduced program. The kid's parents fill out an application, and if they qualify, their child will get either free or reduced (1.50) lunches for the school year.

danyanimal1 karma

Hey! I went to high school in SoCal, and I must say, the food was pretty bad. Hopefully things have gotten better since I left, which was about 3 years ago. I just remember the pure chaos that was the lunch line.

Anyway, just out of curiosity, how old are you? I remember all the lunch ladies at my school being rather old.

Oddment_Tweak2 karma

I'm just 24. The lines are still chaos, but I hope the food is better than it was back then.

The_Duck_of_Narnia1 karma

Do you eat the same lunches as the kids at lunch break?

Oddment_Tweak4 karma

Yep. I work 6.5 hours/day, so I'm allowed a free lunch and drink. I usually take a gatorade and a salad, but I've eaten every option that we make available to the kids. It's not bad food.

MilersCyrus1 karma

Did you work for LAUSD? I swear my middle school and high school served the most delicious coffee cake! Really good pigs in a blanket too

Oddment_Tweak2 karma

Nope, East a bit.

business_time_1 karma

Did you ever bond with any of the kids? If so, were you sad to see them go when they graduated?

Oddment_Tweak3 karma

Yes, at the high school level. It's always sad to see them go, because the ones that take the time to get to know the lunch lady are real gems.


What do you think of James May?

Oddment_Tweak1 karma

I can't say I know who that is.

hotakyuu1 karma

What are the post popular choices of food when it comes to the ones they get to pick from?

Oddment_Tweak5 karma

Spicy chicken followed closely by pizza. We run out of spicy chicken every day, and I don't blame them for liking it, it's really good. The most popular special is our chicken strips or the nachos.

hotakyuu1 karma

Yay, spiciness!

What about the top selection when it comes to a fruit or veggie?

Thanks for quick reply too :)

Oddment_Tweak3 karma

The kids love oranges and grapes for the fruit, and carrot sticks for vegetables. Most everything else doesn't go that well!

AlfalfaAsFuck1 karma

In the other post (where they suggested the ama) OP showed a rotting orange, how often do you throw away food?

To clarify, I mean how often is the food already bad when you get it. And do you throw it away yourself?

Oddment_Tweak1 karma

When we get shipments of fruit and vegetables, it all gets washed and the bad ones get thrown away. There are always some in every box, anywhere from 2-10. We keep the fruit for 5 days and after that it gets tossed. And if it looks bad, we toss it. We'd never serve a piece of fruit that looked like that. But yeah, I'd just throw it in the garbage myself.

Weewoo3121 karma

Which level was your favorite to work in? I would think elementary because little kids don't annoy as much, but little kids can also be terrible little shits. Also, which was the worst?

Oddment_Tweak8 karma

Middle school is the worst. I don't know if it's the puberty or what, but they are little assholes most of the time. I've had things thrown at me and been called names more than once.

The elementary school kids are probably my favorite, because they're so sweet. They're interested in me, want to know my name, want to show me the cool temporary tattoo they have on their arm.. it's just adorable.

KillUTillUDead1 karma

do all schools in the U.S. have cafeterias in elementary? or does it change by state

Oddment_Tweak2 karma

I can't speak for every state, but they SHOULD all have a cafeteria.

nsgafc1 karma

Are you more of a Doris or a Mrs. MacGrady?

Oddment_Tweak4 karma

I'm more of a Mrs. MacGrady.. I try to be as nice as possible

Sploitspiller1 karma

What brings you to Reddit?

Oddment_Tweak8 karma

Funny pictures, mostly. I'm just usually more of a lurker. (I'm also younger than most people are probably thinking right now.)

floopone1 karma

Have you ever worked at a private school? If so, did you notice a difference between the quality of lunches at a private school vs. public school?

Oddment_Tweak2 karma

I haven't, I've only worked in public schools!

DukeMaximum-7 karma

Have you ever banged a student?

Oddment_Tweak20 karma

I can happily say that I haven't.

Volcris-14 karma

Would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses or 1 horse sized duck?

Oddment_Tweak1 karma

I'm scared enough of one duck sized duck.. so I'll go with the duck sized horses.

WaveCaps-23 karma

Are you ever gonna reply? Im getting impatient!

Oddment_Tweak21 karma

Sorry, just trying to give good answers :)