On Friday, Maryn Holler posted a picture of her school lunch on Facebook. She bought a hot meal at Apollo High School in St. Cloud for about $3. It consisted of a pile of baby carrots, a pack of Red Gold marinara sauce, and what appeared to be an otherwise dry hot dog bun covered in melted shredded cheese.
Holler was not impressed.
“I thank God everyday that my family has the money where I get to go home and eat actual food,” she wrote. “There are kids at this school who this is ALL THEY GOT TO EAT, and we were given a hotdog bun with cheese.”
The post blew up, garnering hundreds of comments and shares. The internet, apparently, wasn’t very impressed either. A few called the spread on Holler’s tray a “joke,” or worse, a “disgrace,” and swore they got much better cafeteria food when they were growing up.
Others swore they’d eaten something similar at school, and it had been terrible then too. The bun resembles an age-old school lunch menu item called (sometimes affectionately) the “Italian dunker,” which has been both beloved and reviled by students over the course of its reign.
Others still kept their remarks simple.
“What in the fuck?” one asked.
As the critical masses reached… well, a critical mass… the St. Cloud Area School District was compelled to respond. That same day, the district’s Facebook page posted a quick explainer about the viral lunch photo.
“Oops! We goofed,” it read. “Tried a new menu item today at lunch and we hear it was not a winner! Going forward, we will gather input from our students on new menu options. Thanks for the feedback!”
A few commenters were grateful to the district for being upfront.
“Mistakes happen,” one offered.
“We’ve all tried new recipes that flop,” another said.
But a lot of people weren’t so quick to let the district off the hook.
“I don’t believe for a minute that you ‘goofed,’” a commenter said. “You got called out for serving what has got to be the shittiest lunch I’ve ever seen, and now you’re trying to play the victim… I don’t think so.”
“People in prisons eat better than that,” another added.
“I wouldn’t feed that to my dog!” a third said.
District spokesperson Tami DeLand wants to be clear: The cheesy hotdog bun was one of several meal options offered at Apollo that day. High schoolers often have four or five meals to choose from. She understands there are concerns about the nutrition of said hot dog bun, but says the meal is well within federal nutritional guidelines.
Still, they got the message. In the future, the district will plan on getting more student “taste testing” before introducing new lunch options.
As for Holler, she updated her Facebook post to say this wasn’t over. She had a meeting with her school principal, and will soon be sitting down with the district nutritionist as well.
“This is the start of something that could forever change my district,” she wrote.