The Elementary Hot Lunch has historically been a highly coveted experience at Villa di Maria Montessori School. A long-held tradition. Practical life at its finest. The chefs deem it one memorable week when it’s THEIR turn to plan, prep and execute Friday’s meal for the first through sixth year students.
Woven and layered into hot lunch, you’ll “see”:
– Interpersonal skills at work: the art of compromise, problem solving, sharing of responsibilities, negotiation with peers and treatment of others with respect and kindness
– Mathematical skills in play- basic calculations with addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and decimals; higher level problem solving
– Practical life lessons expressed- planning a meal, grocery shopping, preparing and cooking for a large group, serving etiquette, sweeping, washing dishes and returning the kitchen back to its “resting” state
- First, we’ll view how hot lunch works from beginning to end with the help of beautiful photographs taken by Melinda Smith, VdM mom and photographer (round of applause for Melinda!)
- Second, we shall share the inside scoop from several Elementary students, who kindly volunteered to answer some questions via a written interview.
Hot Lunch Interview:
*Note: GAC = Gabby, Ava and Cecilia (Upper Elementary students who completed the interview collaboratively)
1. When it’s your turn to cook hot lunch for the week, how does the entire group decide upon a menu?
Chase: They agree.
Marguerite: We all decide on something and vote on it.
Ella: We all think about what kind of meal by ourselves, and then we have a vote on which one sounds best.
Emily: We throw random ideas together and vote on our favorites.
GAC: The three students all bring up suggestions of food they’d like to eat and vote upon them. It can be frustrating because everyone has different tastes.
2. Describe your trip to the grocery store:
Marguerite: It is awesome!
Ella: We have a certain amount of money to spend to get the stuff you need, so you have to find the best deal, round up your answer and subtract every time.
What store do you typically go to? Do you go to more than one place?
Klaus: No, just Schnucks.
Ella: We only go to one place- Schnucks.
GAC: No, just Schnucks!
How do you know how much of each item to purchase?
Klaus: We look at the recipe.
Marguerite: We measure the pounds, and we see how many people and how much we need.
Ella: You have to know how many people are eating hot lunch and then see how much food is in the box.
Emily: We multiply.
GAC: We usually figure out the number of servings we have before we go to the store, and we write down how much we need.
Do you have any grocery store tips to share?
Ella: If you don’t feel you’re great at math, I would practice it.
GAC: When doing math, do it fast so you can go look at the desserts. Also, try to get things that are on sale, so there is money left to buy candy!
3. Do all the students help make each part of hot lunch or do you divide tasks? How do you decide?
Ella: The three people who are cooking hot lunch split up and choose what they want to cook and serve.
Emily: We all pitch in, but I prefer to cut the fruits and veggies.
GAC: The students are put on different tasks by the adult, and when the students finish their task they can help others with theirs.
4. What has been your favorite hot lunch to EAT so far?
Klaus: Tortellini and pumpkin muffins
Marguerite: Whoopie pies and mini burgers
Ella: My favorite hot lunch is the one where we have brunch- breakfast for lunch!
Emily: Biscuits and gravy
Cecilia: Calzones- they were super delicious!
Ava: Fettuccine Alfredo- it was tasty!
5. What has been your favorite dish to MAKE so far?
Marguerite: Whoopie pies and mini burgers
Ella: Blueberry muffins, salad, spaghetti and a fruit bowl
Emily: Hmmm… Pancakes!
Gabby: Oreo bark
6. What are all the tasks involved in cleaning up once everyone has enjoyed hot lunch?
Marguerite: Washing the dishes, cleaning up the table from hot lunch and saving the leftovers.
Ella: Washing the dishes, drying them, putting them away. We also sweep the floor and wash the countertops.
GAC: First we all take the leftover food to the kitchen and the rest of the items on the table. Then we wash all the dishes and dry them and put them away. Last, we sweep the floors and wipe the counters.
7. If you could design your very own hot lunch, what would you make for the entire elementary?
Klaus: Pizza, watermelon, pumpkin muffins and ice cream
Chase: Sushi and tuna salad and bacon and cookie dough chocolate donuts
Marguerite: Whoopie pies, biscuits, chicken and rice
Ella: Spicy chicken, fruit bowl, root beer float, chips and dip
Emily: Ice cream sundaes, hot dogs, French fries
GAC: Macaroni with bacon, salad bar, lemonade and cookie bark
8. What has been the funniest thing that has happened either in planning, shopping, cooking, serving or cleaning up?
Marguerite: We didn’t have enough money!
Ella: To me, the funniest part of hot lunch is cooking because I love cooking with my friends.
Emily: Well, when I was cooking the pancakes, I flipped one too high, and it fell on my head. Ha!
GAC: Ava dropped cheese on the floor, and Mrs. LeBeau got upset, but it was just a little cheese! Cecilia’s group once added their shopping answers (the grocery list bill) in a tent full of beer. Once Mrs. LeBeau handed Gabby a tray of vegetables to put on the table to serve, and Gabby just started dumping the vegetables into the compost pile.
9. Are you the master of making anything special at home? If so, what is your specialty?
Ella: I’m not great at cooking, but I am fairly good at making desserts.
Emily: Omelets and fruit compote- In fact, I can do it myself without an adult.
GAC: Eggs, cookies, guacamole with herbs and spices
10. When the new elementary building is built, what do you think the new kitchen should have that it currently doesn’t have?
Emily: More counter and storage space
GAC: A donut fryer, 2 refrigerators, more counter space, clear dishwashers
11. Name at least ONE important thing you’ve learned while cooking hot lunch:
Ella: I’ve learned to make better deals at the grocery store. Like if you want to get parmesan cheese and one small packet is not enough, you would get the big one instead of two small packets because it is less expensive.
Emily: Don’t burn yourself and never close your eyes
GAC: Keep your hands clean. Do the dishes first so that you don’t have to do them at recess.
12. Finish this sentence:
If I could choose anyone in the world to be my special guest for hot lunch, I would invite
_________________________ because ____________________________________ .
Klaus: Augustin Hadelich because he is a good violinist
Ella: My mom and dad because they aren’t picky, so they won’t offend my food.
Emily: My family and neighbors because they’re awesome!
Gabby: Dad because he makes everyone laugh
Ava: Uncle Chris because he’s awesome
Cecilia: My dog because she’s really funny
Last but not least, recipes for the above photographed hot lunch: