Monday, November 10, 2008

A Sure Sign Winter Is On The Way

You know winter will soon be here when the school cafeteria starts serving chili and peanut butter sandwiches. Not mixed together. That would just be wrong. No, the students love the chili, but watch, we'll only get it twice a month from November-February. Of course, watch for a global shortage of chickens, because we are doing our best to eradicate them: chicken nuggets, chicken patty, chicken rings, chicken and noodles, chicken fries, and chicken-fried steak, which I still suspect to be a form of chicken.

No, the peanut butter sandwiches are not combined with the chili, but rather with syrup. They used to be really, really good. So good that you had to hold them together, or the two sides would slide apart due to the slippery syrup. Those were the days, my friend, when you had to lean over your tray so as not to drip syrup on your shirt. I've seen a grown man try to lick that syrup off his elbow after it left a snaily trail down his forearm. Those days are gone now, gone with the wind. If you are a teacher, the cooks will give you TWO sandwiches if you want them. Which most people do, because you can take those two sandwiches, and just about get one decent sandwich out of them. That's because there's a dollop of peanut butter in the middle of the bread, and then a border of crust and surplus bread, much like a picture frame around that special dollop of peanut butter. Sometimes, you can even find some syrup in there. The thing to do is peel off all the extra bread yardage, and eat the middle. Two middles, if you're smart, because in school lunch lingo, two middles make a sandwich.

The chili used to be served in hard plastic state-institution-green bowls set on the yellow plastic lunch trays. Those days are gone, too. We think it might have had something to do with Mr. B clanging his tray on the inside of the big gray trash cans, and saying, "Oops! There went a bowl!" Think about it: 25 years of chili and soup, twice a month for four months...

Now we have those white foam-type bowls that are meant to be thrown away. They keep that chili piping hot at 10:53 a.m. Keep it hot until 11:20 when lunch is over. It's hard to eat your bowl of chili, cheese slice, sandwich middles, and peaches or whatever fruit they toss you way in such a short time. I used to love chili day. Now I don't want to deal with the stress.

I'll not be having the chili tomorrow. But I might take a look at those sandwiches.

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