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Archive for May 2nd, 2012

I’ve posted about my aunties influencing my food life.

Other heroes that helped to form my life and outlook on food are the cafeteria ladies at my elementary school

I did not have too much fun at elementary school. I was one of the kids that got picked- on. Not athletically inclined, kind of uncoordinated, needed glasses at an early age, typical dork.  Nowadays they call it bullying. It wasn’t as serious back then as it is now but still, not very pleasant if you’re on the receiving end.

Some of the positive memories involved assisting in the school’s cafeteria.

Small-kid time, hanabaddah days, fifth and sixth graders would be “voluntold” to assist in the cafeteria for one day each rotation. For that day, the students assigned to the cafeteria were excused from classes for about half-a-day. In exchange for working in the cafeteria, lunch was free. Some teachers also waived homework requirements. The usual rotation was about once or twice a school year.

To most, cafeteria duty was dreadful. The “bullies” would  somehow convince their teachers to pass them by. When the teachers asked for volunteers to fill-in, my hand was one of the first that went up.

We reported after morning recess. Since we were only 10 or 11 years old, we weren’t allowed near knives, the ovens, or the stoves. We were assigned to shadow one of the cafeteria ladies and help with their duties which included dish washing. On several occasions, I was assigned to spray off the excess food  from food trays and pots and pans before sending it through the washer. That’s why washing dishes the other night was not foreign to me. If you’re wondering, the dish washer looked similar to the one used in the movie “Ratatouille” (not familiar, go watch it, I’ll wait).

Anyway, getting back to the cafeteria ladies. Most of them had personalities of stereotypical aunties or grandmothers. Firm, strict, but kindhearted, mostly happy-go-lucky. They made sure the lunches for the student workers had a little extra. They always made-up excuses to keep us longer than necessary thus allowing us to skip classes (a good thing).

They made the best shortbread cookies. Not traditional ones. Dense, heavy, thick. Awesome.

From them, I learned to be comfortable around kitchens and not take life too seriously.

Thanks cafeteria aunties, I think I turned out ok.

Eat well.

The Mouse.

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