Open wide: Ranking the school lunches


Isabella Carrero-Baptista, Reporter

As a full-time packer, I’ve never thought much about the quality of the school lunch. The pizza’s too doughy? “That sucks,” I say while snacking on my PB&J. I’ve heard horror stories, of course. Raw sausages, mouldy bread, chunky milk—you know, the usual stuff. But how bad is it really? You hear all sorts of things, but at the end of the day, most students depend on these lunches everyday. So, I decided to find out by trying the most eaten items on the menu. 



Rating: 6/10


  • Cilantro rice
  • Carnitas (pork)
  • Corn
  • Black beans
  • Cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Lettuce

Let’s start with the obvious: this is not a burrito. By definition, a burrito is a tortilla rolled around a filling. Key term here: the tortilla is ROLLED. This is a bowl with a tortilla on the bottom. Now, I would be willing to forgive this if it weren’t for the taste of the tortilla itself. Tough, grainy, and bland. The color was also unusual, blotchy brown instead of the usual yellow or pale brown color. I don’t know if this was some kind of multigrain tortilla, but whatever the school paid for it wasn’t worth it and ended up in the compost bin. 

Now for the filling:

Not bad, actually. Other than the pork being a bit dry and the rice a bit hard, I have little complaints. It didn’t have enough lettuce, but the cheese was surprisingly flavorful. The black beans tasted like typical canned black beans. 

Final thoughts: 

Keeping in mind that this was free, is a healthier alternative to the usual lunch food, and left me feeling full, I’d say this was a win. Going off of my actual enjoyment of the food, I’d give it a solid “meh”. The food wasn’t bad, but still had a prominent rubbery, artificial taste to it.

My only suggestion: PLEASE get rid of that God-awful tortilla.


Spicy Chicken Patty and Fries:

Rating: 5.5/10

I honestly don’t have much to say about this one. I had been told that it was the best item on the menu, but it tasted pretty average to me. 

It surprised me how spicy it was, I was expecting Hot Cheeto levels of spice. The chicken was firm, and other than the sight of the breading peeling off, appetizing. The bread was pretty average as well. 

The only thing that I didn’t like was the lack of filling in it. Even the McDonald’s McChicken at least has lettuce in it. The packaging was very greasy as well. 


The fries can be summed up into one word: tasteless. Well, okay, I could taste a hint of pepper. My friend affectionately calls them “cardboard fries”, and now I see why.

Final thoughts:

I almost enjoyed eating this, which is a good thing. It wasn’t as good as the “burrito”, but not bad. But if this is what is considered the “best thing on the menu”, then I’m scared to see what’s next.


Cheese Pizza and Fries:

Rating: 4/10


I don’t think that “pizza” would be the appropriate name for this either, since that would imply that it would have more than a drop of sauce on it. It was more of a cheesy bread. The crust was still doughy inside in some parts as well, which made the pizza very chewy. Taste-wise, it wasn’t too bad at least, and I appreciate the seasoning on top.

Final thoughts:

I saw many people choose these in the lunch line, but honestly I don’t know why. The whole meal was just very bland and chewy.


Bacon Cheeseburger and Fries:

Rating: 3/10


There was one thing I immediately noticed when I took the first bite: THE BREAD. 

WAY too much bread. I know the bun looks flat in the picture, but just order one of these and you’ll see what I’m talking about. As for the patty, flavor-wise it wasn’t bad at all, honestly it makes up most of the rating. It was a bit tough, but hey, the taste made up for it. Plus, it was as soft as a pillow compared to the bacon. It was as hard as jerky but tasted like it was soaked in the sink for a day (that is to say, it didn’t taste like anything). 

Final thoughts:

First of all, I had to wait ten minutes in line and get yelled at by a lunch lady to eat this, so forgive me if I sound a bit harsh. Then, half an hour later, I was hungry again (AKA while I’m writing this). I don’t understand why the line for this was sooo much longer than the line to get the Chipotle bowls/”burritos”. But anyways, on to the burger itself: let’s just say, it was not the most enjoyable meal.


Hot Sausage and Sweet Potato Waffle Fries:

Rating: 3/10

Let me just start by saying that I’ve had bad experiences with school hot dogs before, so to say that I was dreading to eat this is an understatement. I could only picture the image of a wet, raw hotdog as I unwrapped the packaging. But, I’ll admit, this is the best hotdog I’ve had at a school lunch.

Hot Sausage:

I’m relieved to say that the sausage was completely cooked through and was pretty good. Unfortunately, the rest is what makes up the low rating. The bun was hard and was falling apart before I even opened the wrapper. As for the fries…

Waffle Fries:

Well, they had more flavor than the last ones, but that’s probably because they tasted burnt. They were also stuck together into one mass and were really chunky.

Final thoughts:

Not as bad as I thought, but still bad.


Turkey Cheeseburger and Potatoes:

Rating: 1/10


I have one word to describe this: no. Just no. I was already skeptical of this “turkey burger” when I noticed that it was the least picked, but nothing could prepare me for the weird, salty, gamey thing. It’s difficult to describe the exact taste of the patty, it was like nothing I had ever tasted before. The closest thing I can describe it to is that it tasted the same way cat food smells. Yeah—not great. 


The potatoes themselves tasted okay, if a bit bland. They definitely make up the entire rating.

Final thoughts:

This was definitely the worst thing I’ve tried. I couldn’t finish eating it. If it weren’t for the potatoes, the rating would be in the negatives.