What’s cookin’ in the cafeteria?

Select students from student groups participated in the cafeteria’s annual taste test Jan. 26. The opportunity was offered to help  determine the likelihood of a new food entering the roster of our cafeteria menu for next year. The table consisted of a Philly cheesesteak pinwheel, chicken and vegetable Oriental dumplings, focaccia bread, breaded cheese sticks, ciabatta sandwiches with both American and pepper jack cheese and  lasagna. 

Some of these recipes come from within the district, but the majority were discovered at food shows where manufacturers approached the school with their ideas. After this, adjustments were made to the recipes so that they align with USDA school district requirements and were fit for student consumption. 

Each year several schools are selected to try these new foods and gauge the general reaction of the new products. Overall the reception from Aledo students was positive, but there were some controversial options. 

“I’m eating the Philly cheesesteak. I like it,” senior Angel Garcia said. “It’s a solid seven out of ten.”

Photo by Alex Davis

The lasagna was made up of ricotta cheese and marinara, and proved to be the most divisive item of testing with an equal number of positive and negative reaction tally marks with the mutual consensus of blandness. 

“The lasagna is like a three at best,” sophomore Valentina Rivera said. “Disappointing.”

Another of the most divisive items were the dumplings, which had the best reaction when microwaved and paired with soy sauce. 

“The Philly cheesesteak was a thumbs up,” assistant principal Mrs. Calloway said. “But I’m not so sure about the dumpling.”

While the dumplings and lasagna were considered bland by many, the focaccia bread was universally well received, with not a single negative tally to be seen. 

“It’s got the most flavor of everything up there,” senior Cade Stewart said.

The pepper-jack variant of the ciabatta sandwiches had a little too much kick for some but the American cheese-loaded cousin seemed to offer a substantial substitute to those suffering that drawback. 

“My least favorite is the paper jack stuff,” sophomore Ava Height said. “It was way too spicy.” 

Overall the taste test was a success and with the number of attendees present it garnered the data needed by the district to see which of these foods were worthy of being added to the lunch menu next year.