Getting tuna off the school lunch menu is every kid’s dream

(Because you’re here, I can assume you haven’t woken up in a jail cell, someone’s yard or a truck bed in Tijuana, Mexico. What better way to celebrate than having a flashback? And just because Flashback Sunday is a weekly feature regardless of where you happen to wake up, it does’t make our celebration any less special. As always, we’re going to roll up our sleeves and dig into the archives, back to a time when — in my innocence — I thought “blog followers” was just another name for adult film groupies…)

The typical school lunch … at least in the eyes of your child.
Kids today are lucky.

Their school cafeteria experience will never include Mrs. Kidzyak’s “creamed tuna surprise,” which is still sitting in the shape of an ice cream scoop somewhere in my digestive tract.

Thirty years from now, they won’t be getting up from the couch and suddenly burp tuna, peas and what I’m pretty sure was Elmer’s Glue. And they will never have to explain why they can’t go into a deli because of an irrational fear of anyone in a hair net.

The reason today’s kids won’t have to experience these things is because a recent study suggests canned tuna contains traces of mercury, which experts agree is potentially hazardous if consumed in large doses — which is always a concern when it comes to kids and their love of tuna.

Naturally, this has prompted demand for the removal of canned tuna from many school lunch programs.

This is nothing new.

In 1978, the entire student body at Jane Adams Elementary demanded tuna be taken off the lunch menu. This outcry came after a mixture of tuna surprise, creamed corn and strawberry milk was witnessed exiting the nostrils of Billy Schlependorf.

Oh, and speaking of succotash …

Though our unrefined 9-year-old palettes may have consumed pencil erasers and paste, we still recognized that succotash looks and tastes as bad as it sounds — so we included that in our outcry as well. As you can imagine, this captured national attention, with Hershey’s Chocolate air lifting boxes of free candy to help ease our suffering after police uncovered Mrs. Kidzyak’s conspiracy to make us consume other forms of fish, overcooked vegetables and liquid adhesive.

Well… that’s what we imagined happening as sixth graders anyway.

The fact is, nothing changed. Except for Billy, who was never allowed to have strawberry milk again.

The problem was, unlike today’s kids, we didn’t have the advantage of elevated mercury levels on our side. If we had known our thermometers could have been used for something other than faking a fever or making glow-in-the-dark finger paint, there’s no telling what we could’ve gotten off the lunch menu.

Unfortunately, we were too busy chewing on lead-based paint and rolling around in the front seat of our parents’ car looking for candy cigarettes and Pop Rocks to spend much time worrying about what we might find in our school lunch.

Which isn’t to say kids should have to eat something laced with traces of mercury. I’m just saying, if given a choice, we at Jane Adams Elementary would have eaten radioactive ice cream rather than skip dessert.

Now that I think about it, Mrs. Kidzyak’s “Magically Magnetic Brownie Squares” were a little weird.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at Siuslaw News

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

16 thoughts on “Getting tuna off the school lunch menu is every kid’s dream”

  1. Oh my goodness. That brought back memories ! Some not so pleasant,lol
    But we lived for Fridays at our High School . They had hamburgers. Now, I’ve never been sure what that meat really was but they had the original special sauce of Miracle Whip, Mustard and Relish and we loved it. They also had Flying Saucers…those giant chocolate chip cookes, or the peanut butter crunches…loved those !
    Ok , now I’m hungry…must find food . Thanx for the great flashback 😀

  2. I had to look up succotash – we don’t do it over this side of the pond. However I did discover that it is a very healthy dish indeed … those old Narragansett’s knew a thing or two about eating healthily evidently.

    Certainly a lot better than the minced lips and anuses with a side of ammonium hydroxide they serve up at McDonalds.

  3. When we were little kids we had cold lunch in lunch boxes but when we got to high school we had lunch in the caf, where we developed an appreciation for Mrs. Chipman’s brownies. Once we made those same brownies with an extra ingredient in Home Ec. They were quite aromatic as I recall. My poor mother, a teacher in the same district, was not as impressed as one would think. Luckily, justice prevailed and guilt beyond a reasonable doubt could never be proven. Thanks for the memory.

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