An Insider Look at Our Food

An+Insider+Look+at+Our+Food

Photo Credit: Olivia Berard

by Lilan Kim, Freelance Writer

“It’s uncalled for. Inflation is affecting our school too.”
“50 cent cookies were the standard for years, it feels kinda rude to change the price.”
“Some kids already have trouble buying a full meal, now they can’t even afford a cookie.”

Cafeteria food, certainly a controversial topic among the talks of Glen Rock school students. From the quality of our food, to 50 cent cookies becoming 75 cent cookies, many are far from happy with the food the schools provide the students of Glen Rock. The lack of knowledge certainly raises questions and misconceptions about how food is provided to the cafeterias.
During my lunch period, I was lucky and grateful to get an interview with Shannon Burton, the Food Service Director for all Glen Rock Schools. I was able to get information that many don’t know about, leading to misconceptions about how certain things run in our cafeteria.

Many may wonder where the cafeterias obtain their food. Items like sandwiches and pizza are supplied via several companies. Our school has contracts with these companies, meaning that the quality of the food is as good as the company makes it. Foods like chicken nuggets and fries are pre-made and simply heated up. Other foods like pasta and meatloaf are made directly at the school. The chefs arrive and cook it at 5:30 a.m., which Burton believes is the reason behind why the “quality” isn’t good. The food doesn’t taste as good the longer it’s out for.

“But what about our 50 cent cookies?” Many of you may ask. There is often the assumption that the cookies at our school are made here. They are, just not in the way you’d expect. Pre-made cookie dough is provided by Dave’s Cookies. Dave’s Cookies being our school’s cookie supplier also gives them control over the price the cafeteria sells them for. The increase in price was a decision made by Dave’s Cookies. In reality, the only food price the cafeteria has control over are dishes made by the school. All pre-made food is controlled by the contracted companies via a price menu sent directly to Burton.

Some may wonder why certain cookies in our cafeteria tasted like protein bars. When our school first opened up after being closed for over a year, Dave’s Cookies were two weeks out of stock of cookie dough. The school had to resort to using whole grain cookie dough, cookie dough that is normally given to schools that can only serve whole grain food items. The most likely reason why certain cookies had a protein bar aftertaste.

Prior to COVID-19, Burton could average around $8,000 yearly. As of now, she’s lucky to even make $1,000. Catering food to school clubs was often how the cafeteria raised money. Due to COVID-19 though, they can only cater to board meetings. Just like many of us, they too were affected by the pandemic.

I started this article seeking answers to our cookies, hoping to bring the thoughts of my peers straight to the origin of the cookies. I found the answers, but they were not what I expected. In the aftermath of this, the answers I found made me realize how often we are critical of the cafeteria without knowing what actually goes on. We often don’t credit them enough for their hard work.