Poetry Friday: “First Day in the Cafeteria”

poetryfridaybutton-fulllOK, ok…so I’m a bit late. I know, school has already started and here I am without my late pass.

Students have been back to their classes for one or two weeks now and although I had wanted to post this earlier, I kept forgetting!  Between my wife’s and my lack of sleep with the arrival of our new daughter, Phoebe, 4 weeks ago and that 5-day-long weekend announcing gig at the local fair, my time – and my mind – have both taken some serious hits.

But, hey, today’s Friday the 13th! What better day to write about school?!?

And remember…there’s plenty more poetry out there. For the complete Poetry Friday roundup, be sure to visit Jen at Teach Mentor Texts!

“First Day in the Cafeteria”        

They could have served us burgers.
They could have served us fries.
They could have served us mac ‘n cheese
or deep-fried chicken thighs.

They could have served cold pizza
or greasy beef pot pies,
so why oh why – our first day back –
do we get “Chef’s Surprise??”

– © 2013, Matt Forrest Esenwine


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19 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “First Day in the Cafeteria”

  1. Cute poem, Matt. My middle schooler refuses to eat cafeteria food. Mostly because it takes too long, but also because of the grossness of items like “Chef’s Surprise” and — my favorite — “Ribicue.”


  2. Phoebe is already 4 weeks old? Wow, that went fast.

    Ah yes, cafeteria food. The words “surprise” and “special” on any menu are red flags. I have to say our cafeteria made good shortbread cookies though.


  3. We actually have a caterer that serves what seems like good food to me, better than I had, but the kids still gripe. I think it’s a thing to do, & prefer their little lunch boxes! Fun Matt. I remember something like that only it was “Chef’s Choice”-really always a surprise as you wrote.


    1. Kids used to complain in school, but I never thought it was that bad…then I went to college and the students complained there, too, even though it wasn’t that bd. So yes, I think many complain because it’s what they’re ‘supposed to do!’


    1. Tara & Myra, I started packing the kids’ lunches the day I looked at the school menu and saw “Mac ‘n Cheese with corn and buttered roll” as an offering. That’s right: starch, fat, starch, fat, starch. I decided right then I could balance my kids’ lunches better!


  4. Cute poem, Matt – and clearly a reason to bring lunch from home! From K-12, my mom set out our paper bags every morning, filled with a sandwich, a fruit, a snack, and five cents for a pint of milk. On really good days, we’d find an extra fifteen cents for ice cream! I just do not understand how/why schools are still serving this garbage to kids.


  5. When our schools started putting out a salad bar with fresh veggies and fruits, no one could have imagined how high children would pile their plates with kiwi slices or carrot sticks! That said, there are still some questionable main dishes… 🙂


    1. I didn’t start eating cafeteria food until I was in 7th or 8th grade – up until then, mom always packed my lunch. But I never minded our school’s food – perhaps because it was a small public school (41 kids in my graduating class!) that was able to maintain some quality control. And I’ll tell you, the day we got our salad bar was a joyous day, indeed!


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