Mmmm…Mighty Menu Makeover

The corn dog is dancin’. The ham is hustlin’. The waffles are wacky. The peaches are perky.

Or so my son’s school lunch menu tells me. I peruse it as I make my shopping list, often struck by the descriptions. I appreciate the creativity and imagination that goes into putting together the daily menu. But it leaves me wondering: who is it aimed at, really? Is it the students? Who, upon awakening, enter the kitchen exuberantly and energetically after a restful night’s slumber and—eagerly anticipating Thanksgiving—announce, “Mom, I’m really in the mood for the Gobbler Turkey Gravy, Mashed Potatoes and Rock ‘n Roll today!” Or is it targeted at moms, to help ease the guilt of a barren pantry? Who, after discovering that they finished off the last slice of bread and are fresh out of juice pouches, say, “I see that there’s a Fantastic Chicken Burger at school today! How does that sound?”

Which leads me to another thought: if my own dinner menu received an overhaul laced with some of the same upbeat, positive words as the school menu, perhaps it would illicit a different response, something other than “Again?” or “Boring.” Maybe I could pump up some of my meals, exaggerate them a little, to encourage excitement at mealtime. Something along the lines of the “Justin-Bieber-loves-this-and-look-what-it-does-for-his-hair-casserole” or “This-is-Peyton-Manning’s favorite-and-he’s-having-quite-a-comeback-soup.” Or something even simpler: Savory, Lip Smackin’ Spaghetti. After all, some of our family favorites are already fondly named after their creators. Penny’s Potatoes. Andrea’s Enchiladas. Maybe more fun, energetic names would help spice up our meal times. Maybe I can learn a thing or two from the school lunch menu.

Then, on the other hand, maybe stew is just stew. It doesn’t have a fancy name. Maybe it is boring. It’s just the experience of having a warm bowlful together on a crisp, chilly Fall day that makes it memorable.

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