Chaminade Lunch: The Older the Better



Ryan Jenks

I miss the old lunch- the pick what you want, no box, converse with your friends lunch. That is the lunch I wish I had now.

During my time at Chaminade, I have experienced lunch in a multitude of ways. I have gotten lunch in different parts of St. Louis with Chaminade. I have gone to different states with Chaminade and had lunch. Heck! I have even gone to different countries with Chaminade and had lunch. Yet, none of these places compare to Chaminade’s old way of doing lunch.

However, now, with the new lunch, unfortunately all of those places beat Chaminade by miles. The old lunch added a little spice to my life and allowed me to relax a bit in the middle of the day. I miss cutting long lines, hoodie checks, and simple metal utensils. Those were the old times, the good times, the pre-rona times.

There are no more tables in the Chaminade cafeteria. It is empty other than the separate lines for each menu item. That location used to extremely loud during the lunch time. Now, its quieter than ever. It is reminiscent of a near-empty, dying Chesterfield mall. It used to be busy and booming with business. Now, all that is left is a movie theater and cheesecake factory, or in Chaminade’s case desolate boxed lunches.

At pre-rona lunch, you would go through the line and choose what you’d like to eat that day. I loved getting the chicken parmesan, a side, and two-three chocolate milks. It was my go-to lunch. At the same time, pre-covid lunch allowed me to switch it up and fluctuate. Let’s say that they had curly fries one lunch. I had the freedom to go to the other counter get the curly fries and the chicken parmesan. Or if there was a day where I didn’t like anything, I could march over to the pasta section and get pasta with white sauce and two-three chocolate milks.

Now I get a choice between the type of box I want. Options include: the pizza box, the burger/chicken box, and the “healthy” box. Each box includes the main course of the day, a side, and a dessert item. Although this way of getting the food is COVID-19 safe, it is also more expensive and limits my lunch time freedom. They took away items like the pasta section and my chocolate milks. As the amount of food I enjoyed plummeted, the prices for these items soared.

The one shining light at the end of this sad, dark tunnel is the rotation of food items. Food items appear to change on a two-week rotation. Before COVID-19, they used to sell items multiple times a week. Another change that has been made to my lunch time experience is the purchasing style. For my first three and a half years here, I physically typed in a pin. Now, I have to scan my key card. While this new method is contactless for COVID-19 reasons, it is a lot slower and harder to use. Problems arouse, especially if you lost your card. Then you have to open your phone. It is just a whole mess, compared to the simple task of memorizing a set of numbers.

The most upsetting thing is the inability to eat with your close friends that you have made over the years. There used to multiple table locations and many of your friends eating during the last lunch block. Lunch was so enjoyable because I got to spend time with friends and sit all together at the same table.

Now, when I see my close friends in the halls, I am excited. I don’t get to see them as often during lunch due to different schedules and chance. If I don’t have classes with friends, I don’t see them as often because lunch has changed so much.

While that is upsetting, this new lunch schedule has allowed me to socialize with new and interesting people. Many times, during the old lunch you sat with your friends-the people you are comfortable around. Although that was lost, we gained something else: the ability to make new friends by being forced to eat with your classmates you do not know as well. I appreciate this opportunity to eat and learn about my classmates during new lunch. Although new friends are being made during new lunch, that does not excuse the loss of time with close friends. It does make up for the time and money lost on food and drink items we didn’t want, or the loss of simple lunch line formalities. Some of the most critical foundations of Chaminade were lost to the public this year.

Some people may welcome this change, but many do not. As a senior, a member of the oldest brothers at Chaminade, this is a great loss to me and many of my classmates. It is our last year at Chaminade and we do not get to experience the loudness, the lines, or the chocolate milk. These is just one thing that the class of 2021 has lost. Hopefully our Chaminade brothers in the grades below will not have to lose the lunch we hold so dear in the coming years.

Therefore, it my personal opinion, as a frequent diner at Chaminade lunches, House Captain, and senior, that we go back to the old loud lunch as soon as possible. I can only hope our younger brothers may get to experience that wonder again or for the first time. Unfortunately, our time is up, and it has passed faster than Mr. Vlahutin catching you with a hoodie on.