Welcome back to What’s Cooking with Callie…for the last time. 😦
It has been such an eye-opening, entertaining journey to produce content on—of all things—cafeteria food, and I am thankful I had the privilege to do so. Cafeteria food is criminally underrated, especially at Mississippi School of the Arts! And What’s Cooking with Callie helped me develop more of an appreciation for it.
First of all, the food service staff whips up three meals a day intended for MSA’s hundred-plus people community. And they care about the food they produce. I came from a public school where students were afraid to even eat cupcakes from the cafeteria—due to their unappetizing staleness or a similar reason. However, today at MSA, I ate a fluffy cupcake with absolutely delicious icing. I definitely enjoyed this cupcake, and my birthday being this week made it even sweeter! But, yes, I appreciate how the food service staff puts actual thought and care into their food, which is rare in Mississippi public schools. I could eat in the cafeteria every day, and I did last year! Sadly, being a senior for me has meant accidentally napping through dinner, having too much work to socialize in the cafeteria, and having merely minutes to prepare for showcases and such. It has been a busy year! I am so tired…
Furthermore, I never look at the meal calendar and think, “ew…” For instance, I am not a fan of chicken spaghetti or spaghetti in general, but I actually like MSA’s take on the entree. Sure, I end up dropping slippery noodles in my lap like usual, but, hey, we can not all have poise.
The Phoenix—MSA’s fabulous cafeteria—has got to be one of my favorite locations on campus. During on-site auditions in 2019, I waited there for my interview. I experienced orientation as as junior there. I shared many conversations with many awesome people, spending an hour nibbling on my food because I am a slow eater…I talk too much. I have admired the painted ceiling tiles of seniors and played “Strangelove” by Depeche Mode on the cafeteria piano one too many times. In the Phoenix, I have watched people sing and dance, talk and laugh; I have watched tearful conversations and even had a few of my own, holding friends’ hands for support while eating scalloped potatoes that are surprisingly well-seasoned.
Oh, yes, cafeteria food has a substantial amount of limitations opposed on it along with resources and ingredients that are not finite, yet the cafeteria ladies never fail to produce food that is more than merely appetizing.
I want to take a minute to express my gratitude, to say thank you! It is a shame that I am leaving and most likely never seeing any of you again. You have bettered my MSA experience in surprising ways, and you are some of my favorite people on campus! The students I converse with has expressed their gratitude and respect for you all, I hope you know. You are loved and necessary for our survival as a campus. You remember people’s “usuals” and ask if we want extra gravy. You wear a smile and ask how everyone is doing despite waking up at whatever ungodly hour to provide food for teenagers. And there is this woman who sometimes wears these snazzy sunglasses, and she is a celebrity in my eyes. I love her so much, and she always brightens my day. I hope she reads this article and knows that I will remember her long after I graduate and that I admire her a lot. In fact, I admire the entire food service staff. They need a raise and a vacation to somewhere cool.
In conclusion, although I have so much more to say, I must end this final digital article of What’s Cooking with Callie. Thank you all for giving me views, for I spend at least an hour on each and am indeed sleep-deprived…you don’t even wanna know. Anyway, I have had a blast eating in the Phoenix, and I have made memories that will stay with me forever.
Thank you for the hot chicken salad, fancy seating, and friends. Thank you for the homemade mac and cheese people sprint to get seconds of, the arrangement of sauce and salad dressing that impresses me. Thank you for the outdoor seating and the smiles and the understated hard work of the cafeteria ladies. Thank you for the movies watched on the television, the songs played on the piano everyone sang along to, the club meetings. Thank you for extra gravy and tender pork chops and decadent rice krispies. Thank you for everything. The Phoenix will stay with me forever, and I want to thank it for granting me with experiences I am quite fond of.
Well, no more rad recommendation and reviews… :’)
I guess this is my final groovy goodbye.
(Forever dreaming of food)