Can the cafeteria ever be cool? Will the lunch lady ever accessorize that apron? Will hairnets ever be hip?
I doubt it. Does the lunch lady need to be cool? Maybe.
Some bad reputations are earned and school lunch earned its gruel and unusual notoriety over decades with the lunch lady climbing into the iconography of comic clichés. It’s easy to laugh at a joke that everybody can relate to but now that over-used punchline is holding back important progress in efforts to get American kids to eat healthy lunches.
Kmart’s back-to-school lunch lady rap slops up another serving with lines like “Like our meat, what they wear, will be a mystery." The point of the ad is to sell clothes made by kids in third world countries to kids in America but it comes off as an elaborate joke on an crucial counterpoint to the less-than-ideal diet of millions of children. The ad hits YouTube as Michelle Obama’s efforts to get healthy food into schools faces a backlash that has something as simple as the cafeteria menu into another Red State/Blue State standoff.
By the way, when did healthy eating become a liberal agenda?
That said, these are the coolest lunch ladies I’ve ever seen, but I haven’t seen a lunch lady up close since I last lined up with my tray in high school. My own kids go to school in Boulder where “Renegade Lunch Lady” Ann Cooper moved local and organic on the menu. I don’t know if they clean their plates, but they don’t complain, much.
I don’t think that’s the norm and it’s not going to be soon. Lunch ladies are never going to be cool but they are overdue for a cultural make over.
Kmart isn’t helping
An Orlando Sentinel healthy school lunches video is charting at 161 views.
Kmart's lunch ladies just topped 430,000.