Sunday, June 11, 2017

Choice Lunch

Another school year ended and another nine months spent with a different lunch provider at my boys' elementary school in the Los Altos School District. We lost count, but it has been at least three different vendors in as many years.

Pea snaps, cantaloupe, chocolate milk and spaghetti: Lunch at my kids' school for $6

Both of my kids ate Choice Lunch food twice per week and they have generally negative feedback about it; some valid, some specious (Example: "It comes in a truck, so it isn't fresh." Well, of course it comes in a truck, the school doesn't have a kitchen.). The most common:

1) Much of the food that's supposed to be soft is hard and crunchy, such as the pasta and potato skins. Also, the food is often stuck together as one piece.
2) The hot item comes in a dish with an overlying plastic film. This film, more often than not, is bonded to the container with an iron grip and ripping it off sometimes means ripping the cardboard dish.
3) The food you get looks nothing like the food you order on the Choice Lunch website.

Kids can be harsh when it comes to school lunch, though. Tyler brought home his lunch last week (pictured above) and the plastic film came off fine. Yes, the pasta was a little bit stiff, but it was still acceptable. The negatives? The meat sauce it came with had little meat. Also, it ain't cheap--at $6 the price is a multiple of what many others are paying for lunch around the Bay Area. My understanding, though, is some of this is going to the school.

The verdict: Knowing what the kids are getting for their $6, we never had reservations about ordering the lunch for them given the convenience and, in truth, I don't think the food is really that bad. Getting food to a location in massive quantities and having it taste fresh is hard. It's an age-old problem not limited to school lunch--when's the last time anyone raved about airplane food?