If the kids in a public high school are talking a lot about lunch, sharing pictures of it, even, this is probably a bad sign.
Consider the case of Mankato East High School, where one dad with two kids in the school sometimes gets photos sent to him depicting what's on that day's menu.
Forget food porn. These pictures are meant to be alarming.
Last week, the father received a captured Snapchat depicting a couple thin slices of bread with a melted white cheese on top. Done expertly, this description could probably go for a good deal in a nice restaurant.
The dad then posted this grim shot to the photo sharing site Imgur, observing, "Just needs Szechuan sauce." See, that's just the kind of positive thinking this high school kid's sad hot dog bun lunch needs!
In a subsequent upload, he shared another image, this one showing the school's version of meatloaf, which retailed for $2.35.
Turns out, this is not the first time this father's kid felt compelled to document and share that day's provisions. A while back, this image of something approaching "nachos" at Mankato East also made Reddit.
The above gruel isn't forced on anyone. Juniors and seniors at the school are allowed to leave the campus for lunch, and, according to the photo uploader, "most kids don't eat on days like this."
That trend would not be lost on the school, according to Ronald Schirmers, director of the Mankato Area Public Schools food services department. Schirmers, who had not seen the photos depicted above, says the district follows the money, and keeps track of what kids like.
"When we serve a new item three times, and we can't get it going, we'll pull it off the menu," Schirmers says.
Schirmers says the lunch offerings at Mankato East High School and Mankato West High School are more or less the same, though the west-side school's cafeteria design allows for a made-to-order station for cold sandwiches or wraps. Each day, he says, both high school menus will include burgers, pizza (one meat option, one vegetarian), premade sandwiches, and "a couple entrees off the hot food line."
About those entrees, Schirmers says it's up to students to make the most of what's available.
"If someone's building a lunch out of meatloaf, and he's not taking the mashed potatoes, that's up to him," he says.
Schirmers explains some kids are more "open" with feedback on what they're looking at -- or just ate -- and cafeteria employees will report back with what they hear.
In that case, let's try to make this Snapchat-posted-to-Reddit constructive (for the first time in history), and treat it like a proper food review. Don't expect the "dunkers" to stick around on the Mankato East menu.
This sharp-tongued Snapchat-er, meanwhile, is due for a long career as a contributor to Yelp.
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