Bream Gives Me Hiccups: Restaurant Reviews
from a Privileged
The opinions expressed below are of the nine-year-old reviewer’s, and do not necessarily reflect those of McSweeney’s.
Robert Frost Elementary School Cafeteria.
A weird thing happened at school today that the adults were really proud of but that the students thought was stupid. I don’t have a total opinion yet but I think it’s probably somewhere in between.
Our school was chosen to be part of a new program called “Healthy Lunches, Healthy Choices.” In this program, famous chefs make school lunches that are supposed to be healthy but also good tasting. I know these things sound like opposites but the school is trying to say they could be the same thing.
The principal called an assembly before lunch and congratulated us, which seemed strange because we didn’t do anything except go to the school that got chosen. He was standing next to a chef, who was smiling really big, and there were photographers taking pictures and whenever the photographers moved, the chef would kind of turn his head so he was always facing them.
The principal said that we were part of a food revolution and that we were so lucky to have this famous chef personally cook us our first new meal. But we didn’t feel lucky because no one cared about the chef or the principal or even about eating lunch. We just do it because it’s in the schedule every day.
Normally the school serves usual school food like spaghetti and meatballs or fish sticks or pizza on Fridays. But I never eat that stuff because it’s usually the same weird texture even though it’s different food and it’s put on a tray by a mean woman with a hairnet who scares me and also chews gum with her mouth open.
I eat the same thing everyday: a chocolate-chocolate chip muffin, which means the cake is chocolate and there are also chocolate chips. I know it doesn’t sound like a muffin is enough food, but they’re not the normal size muffins. They’re really big and really soft except the top part, which has a crusty edge that’s delicious and is chewy like gum, but that you are allowed to swallow.
For drinking, I always get a Snapple, which is actually a lemon Snapple, but lemon is the basic flavor so I just have to say Snapple and they give me a lemon one. I eat and drink the same thing every day because it makes me feel less nervous to know that it’s there.
Sometimes Mom even packs me a lunch. But it’s usually only if she can’t sleep the night before, which is kind of a lot because she usually gets panicked about her life decisions at night.
But Mom’s lunches are never actually possible to eat. One time, she packed me a single stick of Juicy Fruit gum, a box of toothpicks and a note asking me to stay late after school because a gentleman friend was coming over. Today she packed me a stick of butter, a box of dry macaroni and cheese and a book of matches. I think she just empties the refrigerator at night and takes the stuff she doesn’t want and puts in the trash, the garbage disposal or my lunch bag.
Anyway, today’s lunch by the famous chef was a few different things and I wrote them down so I would remember all the names of the foods, which I hadn’t really seen before and which I would not really like to see again because they were gross.
The first thing was called “Arugula Salad with Roasted Beetroots.” This was like a salad, but instead of lettuce and tomatoes, there were bitter leaves that made us all want to puke right there at our tables and beets, which are dark red balls that kind of look like bloody feces and which I have recently discovered produces just that.
The second thing was called “Poached Salmon with Dill.” The salmon tasted like when you chew on paper and the dill part tasted like cut grass from the garbage of a lawnmower and got caught in my teeth.
And the dessert wasn’t really dessert, it was something called “Compote,” which is really just another word for jelly that’s hot and soupy like throw-up made from Arugula and Beetroot Salad.
While we ate the gross food, the chef came around to our tables with a photographer. He put his arms around us and smiled for the pictures and said dumb things like, “Look out diabetes! Here comes a spoonful of Compote!” or “I think I see a Salmon swimming upstream with a delivery of Omega 3s! Next stop, brain development!” He didn’t even realize that we hated his food and, in a way, we hated him and hated that he ruined our day and maybe lunch forever.
Even if the food was really good, which it wasn’t, the school shouldn’t have made us eat it right away. They should have done it little by little, like putting a small amount of the dill stuff on pizza if they really needed to. I understand that they think they’re being good by trying to make us more healthy, but it just seemed like they were so proud to have the chef there that they didn’t think about what we would have wanted.
It’s like just because the adults thought it was a great idea, we would too. But kids think differently than adults think. Adults have spent so many years thinking more and more like each other because the more you live with other people the less you think like yourself and the more you think like them. But kids are new people so we still think more normally. That’s why I’m giving Robert Frost Elementary School and “Healthy Lunches, Healthy Choices” 256 out of 2000 stars.
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