Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I've Been Cheated, Been Mis-Cheese-ed

Here I sit, broken-hearted...

Don't worry. I'm not talking about Dutch Ovens or my fundraiser popcorn again. I'm setting the mood. Following a theme. Preparing to share with you the major disappointment that befell me today.

For two days I've looked forward to the school lunch. Don't adjust your trifocals. I'm serious. I have lunch duty all week, which kind of puts the kibosh on cooking anything in my microwave. I need to ship out to the front lines as soon as the 10:53 bell rings. In lieu of bringing a tasteless, soggy baloney sandwich to grab out of the mini-fridge, I have been repasting on fare from the cafeteria line.

Monday, I had two BBQ hamburgers and some chips with salsa. That was the regular meal. I refused the buns. The burgers were pretty much interchangeable with hockey pucks in size and shape. The taste was not bad, but the texture was spongy. My plastic fork kept bouncing off the meat. I had to cut them with a spoon, because knives are not allowed. Needless to say, my mother and her purse are not welcome at our table. The salsa spent the afternoon trying to burn its way out of my belly like Alien blood through metal. So I'm probably not going to consume that meal again.

Today was grilled cheese and chicken noodle soup. I know. They don't really go together. We used to have our grilled cheese with vegetable beef soup. That was fantastic. But now we have a new food supplier, and we get something called a Bosco stick with our vegetable beef. It's a tasteless tube of wheat bread rolled around some tasteless mozarella-looking cheese. But that's neither here nor there, because I'm here to talk about my precious grilled cheese. You know that bacon-marrying dude on the Jack-in-the-Box commercial? There, but for the hand of Hick, go I. To the altar with my grilled cheese, of course. Not bacon. He's taken.

I love our grilled cheese. I've even tried to recreate it at home, with limited success. The harder it is, the more I like it. A good school grilled cheese should sound like the plastic cafeteria tray when you knock in on the lunch table. Hard as a metamorphic rock. That's how I like my grilled cheese. But something went horribly awry today.


Call the wahmbulance, because I was nearly screaming like a big, next-to-you-in-an-airline-seat baby over this unexpected development. Most of my colleagues taunt me about my crunchy sandwich preference. But they also made note of the new texture.

"This side of mine isn't even brown!"
"It's soft."
"My sandwich is not the same."
"I can't even trade you, because yours is like that, too."

We can send a man to the moon and back, but we can't make a decent grilled cheese in the oven (with 399 other grilled cheeses) that will have a rock-hard, toasty crust.

I sense a conspiracy.

***DISCLAIMER: I do not blame our cooks. They can only heat up what the supplier ships to them. Perhaps there was a different kind of pasteurized processed cheese food, or different bread, or a new oleomargarine that was the fly in the ointment of my precious sandwich. I'm going to give them one more chance.***


Leenie said...

If school lunch budgets were even close to the money spent on sending science projects into the final frontier I think a lot of problems on earth could be solved. Somebody's priorities are really messed up. A good grilled cheese sandwich would be a great place to start.

Stephen Hayes said...

A grilled cheese sandwich grilled to a golden brown is a work of art.

Sioux said...

This was such a horrible offense, I think you should protest. Make signs. "I like 'em hard. No more limp grilled cheese sandwiches." March. Get your friends to join you. I'm sure a change is gonna come...

Linda O'Connell said...

I think you should wear a sandwich board:I like mine hard.

The best kind of grilled cheese IS toasted crisp. Hope you set them straight.

Josh Hoyt said...

I remember the good old days when school lunches were made by the cooks rather than reheated. I always looked forward to them but hardly ever did we have the money to buy them. I'm sorry for your loss I hope they don't disappoint again.

Leenie said...

LOL Sioux and Linda.

Val said...

And maybe ketchup would not be counted as a vegetable.

Yet they served ME poker-playing dogs on velvet.

Sioux and Linda,
Are you trying to get me sent home from school? On the very day of the flaccid grilled cheese, we were commenting on whether to report a kid for wearing a T-shirt that said, "It's all fun and games until somebody loses a wiener." Let the record show that it included a picture of a campfire and sticks.

I, too, remember those days. And spinach, with little cruets of vinegar on each table. Beans and cornbread. Hot rolls. Chicken pot pie. Chicken and dumplings.

Now the dessert sometimes is a Little Debbie cake. And the side dish a bag of Cheetos or Fritos. How those pass the nutritional guidelines, I'll never know.