By Nathan Nowatney
October 26, 2015
It’s a brisk October morning. I depart from the bus, and the chill of the early day’s breeze nips at my exposed skin, sending a bit of a chill down my spine. A few seconds later, I’m met with a warm burst of air, completely contrasting the breeze. I enter the heavy, metal door to the cafeteria- held open politely by a sixth grader.
After a swift ‘thank you’ to him, my hazy mind instinctively orders my body to enter the breakfast line. I smell warm maple syrup, I suspect something good. I look through the glass on the chef’s serving stations. Mini pancake bites. I scan my card, and sit down with my breakfast.
I take one look at them and gag. Reality finally catches up with my mind, and I realize what I’ve gotten. They look like owl pellets. Stiff, lukewarm, and smell like pungent bile. I tentatively slip the four I received onto my brother’s tray and sigh. They used to be good.
Denver Merz sits adjacent from me. He’s ignorant of what’s in store for him as well. He dunks his warm nugget of food into the syrup and takes a bite. His pupils dilate, and he gets a look on his face like somebody stabbed him.
He coughs out half of his mini pancake bite onto his tray and reels back in disgust. Upon further investigation, I see the inside is shriveled up and hard. A disgusting mash of low-grade sausage with chunks of cartilage embedded sparsely throughout.
“It looks like somebody put out a cigarette in mine,” Denver says, pushing his tray away from himself and frowning. My brother has barely eaten any of his and looks disgusted. Everyone is dissatisfied. Denver thinks he may be sick.
This is the cold, disgusting reality of mini pancake bites. This is a real experience I had with them. Never before have I had such a negative experience with school food.
After that morning, I decided the rest of my day would be devoted to the procedural elimination of mini pancake bites from our breakfast menu. Nobody else will suffer such a twisted fate.
In all seriousness, mini pancake bites are not only disgusting, but their composition and healthiness is questionable at best. I decided to get to the bottom of this. I met up with our very own ladies of the kitchen once more, and got to work.
“Not too much…,” says Ms. Eeten when I ask her how popular mini pancake bites are.
They all give me a knowing look when I come in asking questions.
“They’re not as good as they used to be," says Ms. Eeten with a frown.
From what I’ve gathered, they’ve been reformulated since recent government mandates (as mentioned before in a previous article). This change was definitely for the worse. Not only have they made them repulsive, I estimate they don’t bake as well since certain non-whole-wheat ingredients have been removed from the recipe. They’re terribly inconsistent when it comes to how they turn out. One may be cold, and under-cooked, and the next shriveled and dry inside.
I decided to dig deeper.
“Well, more than one source. MJ Kellner from Springfield. We get our bread from Alpha Baking, and the milk’s from Prairie Farms out in Peoria, “says Eeten after asking where the food’s from.
I head to the MJ Kellner website and find no trace of a catalog. I send them an e-mail asking the ingredient listing on their ‘mini pancake bites.’
After three days of patiently awaiting a response, I get nothing. I send another e-mail. No response. I can’t help but feel like they’re dodging me.
After a series of bad luck, I take my search to google.
More bad luck. I find nothing but name-brand, genuinely alright quality pancake bites. Nothing I would find from MJ Kellner.
I end my search with a sigh. Trying to find a horror in the ingredients doesn’t seem fruitful, but I can only speculate there’s something sketchy going on.
I feel a bit unsatisfied when I reach a dead end, but I remember what I intended to do in the first place. I’m going to prevent this from ever happening again.
Please, talk to your student council reps about removing this from the menu. Don’t let anyone else suffer the same fate.