A column by Erik Sosa
I yam what I yam
“Woke up in the morning. Put on my new plastic glove. I served some reheated Salisbury steak with a little slice of love. Got no clue what the chicken pot pie is made of, know everything’s doing fine down here in Lunch Lady Land.” Adam Sandler is pure genius.
Now, let’s see...Plastic gloves, check. Reheated food, unacceptable. Love, always. And trust me, a Lunch Lady always knows what’s in the pot pie. It¹s her job! However, as we all know, not all institutions are created equal, and I am only here to give you my sampling of the lunch menu. Who knew peaches and chicken patties were so popular among elementary students.
This week I was given a dose of Lunchroom Power, which should never be confused with Cafeteria Duty. That¹s right folks, as of early this month, I slowly made my way back into the workforce, W-2 forms and all the fixin’s needed to be an employee of the State. I mean, it was bound to happen eventually after 15 years of not being in the workforce. I was beginning to lose touch with reality as an artist and stay at home, Dad. Yes, my art is doing well, and I can’t wait for my new show, No Paint Left Behind in January, but I needed somewhat of a routine and social stability to keep me from going Stepford. Our newly minted teen boys are now officially 13, and they want nothing to do with me. Well, as mentioned previously, unless it’s to be fed or driven. So, what better way to integrate myself into the social working system than by accepting a position as a substitute cook, or as I like to say, ³Lunch Daddy.² And, to not be egocentric in regards to my unique undertakings, but this idea was Cole and Parker.
Never in a million years did I think I would even consider such a glamorous position of serving peas and scraping charred meat sauce from trays so big, I didn’t even know existed. But that is what happens when you raise minions. Your perspective and decisions on life and opportunities are challenged and reprioritized. Now, I’m not saying I always make the right decisions, but it does happen from time to time! Now, as I write this, the biggest smile comes across my face because I loved being a Lunch Daddy for so many reasons. And, so what if I got the flu right after? What does one expect when confronted with a school of 700 germ-infested adolescents? I choose to see it as an initiation of sorts, and besides, it builds for a stronger immune system in the long run.
Popeye said it best when he quipped, “I yam what I yam, and that¹s all that I yam. I’m strong to the finish cause I eat me spinach.” You know it was all canned, right?!? So, without further adieu, the following are my top 10 reasons as to why I choose to serve the younger ones.
1. Breaking stereotypes. As we all know, the kitchen is not just for the ladies. #BAM
2. Feeding the hungry. Nothing says love than a full stomach in which to help kids grow and learn. As they say, the fastest way to a person’s heart is through the stomach.
3. Conquering fears. One of the reasons I am not good in the kitchen is partly since I¹m seplophobic. I always think fruits and vegetables will rot the same day I get them. I’m learning that’s not the case if you refrigerate. So, hence, I am learning a few tricks and am starting to get comfortable being around food.
4. Expanding my horizons. Being around food allows me to better plan and prepare meals for our growing boys. Who knows, this small culinary step may be the start of the catering empire I never dreamt of. Start small, dream big!
5. Super Dad. Should anything happen to go down on school grounds, I am there to protect anyone in need. We live in perilous times people. Hey, did I mention my hair net doubles as a cape? Go-go gadget spatula!
6. I know what my kids are doing and eating at school. Besides the fact
that information on a string telephone travels quicker than a working potato clock, I am happy to report, that all meals cooked in that kitchen are made by hard-working and loving ladies who want nothing but the best for children. Yes, they may be a bit OCD when it comes to cleaning, but it’s needed and very much under-appreciated. Efficiency is the name of the game in Lunch Lady Land.
7. You can’t beat the schedule. I get summers are off and I’m hone by 2 PM. It’s a substitute position, so you really can’t go wrong with that.
8. Free lunch. Need I say more.
9. Working without the politics. The lunchroom is one of the major arteries of the school. However, it seems to bypass the day to day politics. “Honey, I just came in it to boil and serve some ham. Peaches, you go have a nice day.”
10. I get to be around kids. As an artist, I find value in vibrant energy that feeds my creativity. Plus, I get to stay on top of new trends and ideas. I’m getting shirts made for all my co-worker. It reads: All women are created equal, but only the finest become Lunch Ladies... and lassies.