by Jen Kwan, on friday
"Hot Meal Fridays" is a term unique to all those who attended my elementary school. One Friday each month the students all enjoyed a "Hot Meal" that we purchased through the school. It was generally catered in junk food and we absolutely loved it.
Pizza was the main choice, a few times we were given the option of some fried chicken product. Dessert was a frosted donut and we chose from foil-topped juice cups or milk in tiny clear bags (that we had to poke our straws into, it was complicated, there was a whole assembly on it. Milk in bags??? See here.)
I always remembered it as a day we all looked forward to. We would bring home our order forms, make our selections on the walk home from school, beg our parents for the 2 or 3 dollars that the meal cost, and joyfully hand our fully funded hot meal selections back to the teacher the next day. The school yard would be buzzing with everyone's choices at recess the week preceeding the feast; Hot Meal Friday was a hot topic!
That day's anticipation would start building as soon as the first hint of pizza wafted under our noses. Fresh, hot pizza was in the building! The whole school would pile into the gymnasium (which doubled as our lunch room) at the sound of the lunch bell. Teachers and volunteers would wheel in stacks of pizza boxes as we all excitedly swung our child-length legs under the benches.
By the time the adults sorted out who got pepperoni pizza, who had cheese pizza, which drinks each kid had, which donut they ordered, the pizza wasn't as hot as advertised but it was still amazing. We were given permission to enjoy junk food en masse. Guaranteed there was airborn pepperoni, burst milk bags, and squished donuts. Hot Meal Fridays were a riot.
Maybe it was the camaraderie that all us school kids felt eating the same meal at the same time, maybe it was the fresh hot pizza, maybe it was the milk-bag balloons we all made with our emptied milk, either way we had fun and it reminds me not to take my food-times too seriously.
The Hot Meal Friday section will be dedicated to the indulgent/lazy/junk/cheat/whatever days that we all have and that I think are an integral part of the happiness of our diets.