Kids Eat with Their Eyes

By Douglas Patterson

After returning from spring break, students of Sci-High rejoiced at the sight of their completely refurbished cafeteria. Up until March 29th, Sci-High kitchen had been out of order since November. Not long ago, the Department of Public Health enforced a series of ongoing renovations which rendered the kitchen’s ability to provide hot lunches for the students, and the numbers of eaters during that period dropped drastically.

Ms. Diane, one of the school’s cafeteria workers, provided a little more information about the remodeling of the cafeteria. The Department of Public Health reconstructed the entire kitchen, which took six long months for it to be fully repaired. In order to meet the department codes, the kitchen needed to be completely refurbished. This meant electrical repairs, a new fridge and freezer, a new ceiling, a new coat of fresh paint, and new floors. Since the kitchen was under construction, the lunch was no longer made or served hot in the Sci High cafeteria, and instead of a hot plate of food students received lunch in plastic containers.

“My numbers went down,” said Ms. Diane, “Normally for lunch time we used to serve close to 330 kids and it went down to 175. Because of the presentation, they’d rather see us cooking than hearing it comes in the little pre-packaged containers.”

During the period of reconstruction, the cafeteria cooks made the food at Woodson, a high school nearby. Ms. Diane spoke about the cafeteria’s temporary transportation process and explained how the cooks would cook the food, then put the food into containers, seal it off, and send it to Sci-High. This appeared to be unfavorable in the eyes of teens. “Kids eat with their eyes,” said Ms. Diane, and the number of students that dropped the lunch program during the renovation period shows an apparent lack of appetite towards the unfamiliar containers that temporarily replaced their hot lunches.

Since March 29th, the cafeteria seems to be back on track and the hot lunch has returned to the way it used to be, cooked and served in Sci-High kitchen, and on a plate. Students are eating the food again, now that it’s no longer served in a plastic package, and they can see where its coming from.

Douglas Patterson is a freshman at New Orleans Charter Math and Science High School.

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