Thursday, August 21, 2008

making the grade

Here in the Lunchroom, we aim to please. But it's hard please everyone. Sometimes we have to make tough decisions. Decisions that are sometimes not fully appreciated. But we do it for your own good. You simply can't have pizza everyday for lunch. However, that said, sometimes making tough calls causes us ANXIETY.

It's kind of like going to the eye doctor and looking through his many lens/fly eye contraption.You sit in his chair, looking through the fly eye thing, and he says, "Which is clearer, 1 or 2?"

He turns a few knobs and flips a few lenses, t
hen "3 or 4?" he asks.

And again, "5 or 6?"

"7 or 8?"

Then, just to mix it up a little, "Is A better or worse?" he asks, "A or B? That's B. That's A."

You start to panic a little, because you want to give the right answer. Nobody likes to fail a test. You hesitate.

And the good doctor says, "That's B. That's A." switching lenses back and forth as he talks. "B. And A. B. B. A. and then its back to B, again," he says, now a bit impatiently.

Mamma Mia! You start to sweat, just a little, on your upper lip. You hope he doesn't notice. And at the same time you are wondering "If I say A, am I really saying 'Coke-bottle lenses' ? Does B mean normal lenses? Is 4 right, or should it be 5? If I say 8 is better than 9, does that mean I'm a good candidate for Lasik? But what if I just want contacts? What number correlates with contacts?????" You try to tell yourself to remain calm, but you hate doing badly on tests. You really want an A in eye exams.

And then finally, finally, the torture ends. He pulls the fly lens machine away from your face and you try look nonchalant as he scribbles the verdict on his little prescription pad.

I, your Lunch Lady, experience this exact same trepidation when I have the blessing of taking a meal to someone. What if they hate what I make? What if they secretly loath tomatoes, but won't tell me? What if they look at the food I make and think "who eats this kind of slop?" What if their kids only eat carrots? Or won't eat cheese? Or only eat cheese if it's melted in a soup containing potatoes, but not onions? Half the time my own kids hate what I make. (The Oldest Carrotstick insists she is allergic to salad. Salad??!!??!)

I would volunteer to take more food to people when they are sick, if only they could tell me what exactly they want to eat. I really don't want to get an "F" (for Foul) in Foods. Someone needs to come up with an "Inoffensive Food for Friends" Cookbook, full of good meals to take to your sick friends and neighbors.

If you were contributing to an I.F.F.F. cookbook, what would you include? What's your go-to dinner? Or what's the best meal anyone has ever brought you? Please, ease my pain -- give me some good suggestions. Or we just might end up bringing pizza for every meal after all.

optometry machine picture originally downloaded by John Levanen.


The Genealogist said...

I lost sleep last night with this same dilemma. I could take clam chowder, but what if they don't like clam chowder. Maybe Oriental Chicken Salad--doesn't everyone like that? I will include a small loaf of homemade bread, everyone seems to like that. Dessert or no dessert, afterall we don'e eat dessert every night. What to do. . . what to do?

kninsa said...

When in doubt, you can never miss with chocolate. If I'm sick just bring over a chocolate cake (maybe even German chocolate, mmmm) with chocolate ice cream. Presto, chango, better in 24 hours!

Head Nurse/Patient- you be the judge said...

I can't really help you, since I suffer from the same problem. Everyone's tastes are so completely different. My oldest patient will only eat cheese on pizza, the middle patient won't eat peanut butter or jam, and the youngest won't eat meat- except sausage or steak dipped in ranch.

I have had some meals brought in that were a hit with all my patients, but maybe nobody else.

Homemade biscuts or bread :)- and chicken noodle soup generally is well received (chop the veggies big enough for easy removal)

Shem said...

First of all... I am SO GLAD to know I am not the only one who stresses out over the eye exam. I am sure all my prescriptions are wrong because of me.

Secondly, CEREAL. Can't miss.

Unless you want nutrition. :(

Melanie said...

I used worry about this, too, but then I realized that every meal I don't cook myself tastes even better than the ones I slave over, so I don't worry so much anymore. Ranch Chicken is always a hit whenever I serve it to a group that includes picky kids, and it's so easy! Just dip chicken (breasts or tenders) in ranch dressing, roll in bread crumbs (flavored or plain or even used crushed croutons), and bake at 350 (60 minutes for big pieces, about 20 for tenders). I generally serve them with some kind of potato, veggie or fruit and a salad. Oh, and ALWAYS include dessert -- that's the best part!!! :)

miranda said...

I've never tasted something you made I didn't like, I can't imagine that happening. So make whatever you want, it always turns out yummy!! Don't stress about it.

Amber said...

Melanie, that is my style of dinner! Fast to make yet super yummy. Any more recipes like that up your sleeve? I can't wait to try the ranch chicken!

Kristen said...

about half the time we end up ordering out from some nice italian or chinese place and delivering it to the folks "in need".

as far as cooking goes, I stick to the "no broccoli" rule. everybody brought us broccoli when I had my youngest, and it gave me gas, which gave him gas, which made our lives miserable.

maybe it WAS a conspiracy...

The Hawkins said...

I have never failed with my chicken rolls. I only know 1 person who has not tried them and not liked them (a niece who claims she is allergic to chicken). I also have a problem taking food in for people afraid they may not like it. I figure if they were picky though, they would have to do what I do and say no meals husband can get fast food. My husband is one picky eater.

Amy said...

I can't imagine you know how to make anything that tastes bad..I've seen your recipes..those get me drooling. As a picky eater myself..I will have to agree with chopping of veggies big for easy removal. And dessert is always a must..after all who doesn't like something sweet? They can always start off the meal with that.