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Food service looks to make improvements

Each year the Plain Local Food Service Director Jen Rex looks to make improvements in the school cafeterias for students

The smells of cafeteria stables pizza, chicken, slip down the halls, but so does the smell of lesser known fish tacos. 

Go in further and students can see different options of food on the menu. Many students find items that don’t look as appetizing, like the fish taco, but there are things that look great like calzones.

Trying to make 2000 students happy with food options while also going around a myriad of allergy issues and religion eating rules can be difficult.

Jen Rex is the Plain Local Food Service Director. Each year Rex evaluates what types of food are served to GlenOak students.

Recently, students participated in a survey about what they liked and disliked in the cafeteria and are hoping for change. 

In the cafeteria, there are many food options that the school offers. Favorites by students listed were calzones, pizza, bosco sticks, slushies and Greek Bowls

“I really like the calzones because they taste like pizza and taste different from the school’s normal pizza,” David Wakely said. 

The biggest item students would wish would go away is fish tacos.  104 out of 166 students surveyed said the fish tacos were the worst thing in the cafeteria.

“The fish tacos don’t taste as fresh and don’t taste like real fish, they taste fishy,” Wakely said.

Overall, students would like to continue to see more food diversity, more variety, seasonings and more no-meat options. 

On the survey students listed problems and that they wish would be fixed. Some of the problems that students see are unfresh fruit or fruit with stickers still.

“When we wash the fruits we wash them in big batches, and when we do this the stickers don’t come off in the water,” Rex said. “If we were to take off all the stickers that would slow down the process of getting them prepped.”

Students in the cafeteria also complained about the food not being cooked enough or being overcooked. When the lunch ladies cook the food they have to cook it a certain way and are only allowed to serve it for so long. 

“All of the cooking we do falls under the health department codes, all our foods get cooked to 165 degrees. I guarantee you we cook our food hotter than you do at home,” Rex said. “We then have to hold the food at 145, and you’re only allowed to hold the food for two hours so that’s why the serving periods are only two hours long.”

Students also voiced concerns about salt and pepper shakers not being available.

The reason behind why seasoning’s like salt and pepper are not served in the cafeteria is because the health department decides how much seasoning is allowed for certain foods. Too much salt or pepper among other seasons’ can be bad for your health.

But some of the possible changes that the cafeteria can change is adding new foods, drinks and even equipment. 

Foods students would like to see in the cafeteria next year;  are, Smiley Fries, baked Potatoes, Ramen noodles, Coffee, Tater Tots and Loaded tater tots, more fruit options, and a throwback day. Rex and her team are planning on revamping the entire cafeteria menu so students should find many new items in the fall. 

Rex is thinking of adding a microwave into the cafeteria for students to use freely as long as they take care of it and don’t abuse it. 

If you have any questions are concerns about the school lunch or about the lunch room please contact Jen Rex: [email protected]

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Katie Rizzo
Katie Rizzo, Staff Writer
Katie Rizzo (she/her) is a sophomore. This is her first year on staff, she is on Color Guard. She loves to dance and spend time with friends. A fun fact is that she has 5 Cats!
John Mitchell
John Mitchell, Staff Writer
John Mitchell (he/him) is a sophomore. This is his first year on staff, he's involved in coaching k-1 flag football, he's in the student council and social justice. He likes to read, write, and adventure.
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