It’s been more than four years since I first sang the praises in these pages of school cafeteria employees. I was reminded earlier this week why I’m such a fan.
Did you know that school food service workers are often the first and last line of defense in identifying and seeking help for malnourished and food insecure children? Did you know that, beyond the classroom, the only encouragement that many of our children receive comes from the person running the cash register in a school cafeteria?
And did you know that, not only are school food service workers among the lowest paid professionals in the culinary and education worlds, they also work part-time hours and are not often the afforded benefits? All of those hours, by the way, are spent on their feet.
But you’ll rarely hear them complain.
Fact is, school food service workers have among the lowest turnover rates in the employment world — 10 years on average. Are you curious why they tend to stick around so long?
Oh, sure. With that kind of experience many of them could land a job at any restaurant, commissary or medical facility in town — probably making a few more bucks in the process. But there’s one thing about the schools that can’t be found anywhere else.
And anyone who loves my children, your children — everybody’s children — like their own is truly a special being.
My tasks in school public relations often land me at a campus cafeteria somewhere — or at command central, where the menus for thousands of children are created, tons of meat and vegetables are procured and the once-in-a-blue-moon interview for a new food service worker takes place.
After a meeting with our directors earlier this week, Yvonne (who sits at the top of our child nutrition brass) made the trip from the other side of town through a rocky construction zone to bring me a few pounds of grapefruit picked from her family’s tree. Not only does such an out-of-the-way effort typify the spirit of the school food service worker, Yvonne also delivered a wonderful technique for elevating the grapefruit well beyond breakfast status.
Who wouldn’t be a fan?
Want to receive notifications of my Confessions, Chronicles and recipes in your email? Just click here. I’d also love for you to join me on Facebook (click the ‘like’ button), Pinterest and Google+. Why not witness some of my Instagram antics too?
- 2 - Large grapefruits, very cold*
- ½ cup - Light brown sugar, packed
- 2 TB - Unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp - Kosher salt
- Preheat oven to broil setting, with the rack set about 4-6 inches beneath the heat elements. -or- You can use a butane/propane torch**.
- In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, butter and Kosher salt.
- Half the grapefruits crosswise; loosen the grapefruit segments with a knife or grapefruit spoon.
- Spread the sugar mixture equally over the four grapefruit halves. (It won't look pretty at this point. No worries.)
- If broiling, place grapefruits on a baking sheet and cook until topping is caramelized, about 3 minutes in most ovens. If using a culinary torch or standard butane/propane torch (my choice), completely melt and caramelize the topping.
- Serve immediately.
** - If you don't know how to properly use a torch, find someone who does. As delicious as Grapefruit Brûlée is, it's not worth burning down your home for.