This school year, Bellows Falls Union High School acquired a new food service: Farm to School Cafe. The addition involved the hire of a chef from the Elm Street Brewery in Keene. Like a child showing off their brand-new toy, the school was not modest about informing the public of this supposedly improved program. After a month of hearing Principal Chris Hodsden’s (and the staff’s) incessant endorsement of the new school lunch, I finally grew weary of the insistence to ‘give it a try’ and utilized my food-loving expertise to put the food to the test for one school week.
Prior to tasting things for myself, I had only heard supportive comments regarding the quality of the new chef’s food. My initial encounter with the unfamiliar cuisine was when my father (said Principal) brought leftovers home during the summer. In order to make a memorable first impression for the staff, a variety of international food was thoughtfully and skillfully prepared. The reactions from my parents as they savored each and every bite left me considerably impressed. Thus, my expectations were dramatically high as I set off on my adventure to assess the food’s fabled quality. I was prepared for my first bite to be a mind-blowing experience which would force me to change my home-lunch ways. Alas, at first taste, I was met only with relatively above average food.
While the new lunch food is not some legendary addition to the school that will change my world for the better, I was still pleasantly surprised by the quality, variety, and nutritional values after overcoming my somewhat unfair bias. Each meal tasted far better than what it may have appeared, and the courses changed entirely throughout the week from hot dogs to Shepherd’s Pie. Additionally, they offered gluten-free options with a few days of notice. Despite many healthy alternatives remaining distasteful for my personal palate, I believe it is commendable that many of the ingredients used promoted a nutritional diet for growing teenagers, including whole wheat bread and grass-fed beef. By the end of the week, I found myself impressed by the new school lunch.
During my investigation, I uncovered a couple opinions from students regarding school lunch. Charles Bennett (Sophomore) explained, “It’s a lot better than last year. I know that’s not saying a lot, but it’s good.” To add, Abijah Palmer-Guest (Sophomore) stated, “It looks a lot better than last year, and I would consider eating it.” All in all, I recommend trying the new school lunch to any curious student because it is a large improvement compared to previous years.