WHAT DOES IT TAKE to feed not one but 36 growing teenagers in a mobile environment without access to a cafeteria?
Allow me to answer in detail.
Held every weekday morning from 6:45-7:15 am, breakfast in the common lounge is mandatory for the sleepy grade 9s and 10s. Various cereals, eggs, yogurts, toast, peanut butter, jams, milk, and orange juice are always at hand to feed the masses. Mornings are typically low-key and quiet during the week, although the occasional lip-sync/dance session has been known to break out for an early energy boost.
Grade 11s have the privilege of eating in their rooms every day, not just on weekends, and receiving a stipend to buy food for the week.
Weekends are different with all students responsible to purchase their own breakfast foods. Recently, students have been organizing special Sunday breakfasts after the success of Samhaoir, Cameron, and Fatima’s french toast morning a couple of weeks ago.
Daily snacks for school include individual snack bags compiled by Ms. Jones. Each student receives a piece of fruit, such as an apple, banana, orange, or kiwi, along with a granola bar and a juice box.
How do we maintain the constant food supply?
Trips to the local grocery stores–Disco and Carrefour–are required several times per week in order to keep up with the demand. Much to the dismay of the grocery staff, we are consistently purchasing all available juice boxes and greatly contributing to the already long lines at the stores. We would then use the envios domicillos or home delivery to have all the food brought back to our residence. It is admittedly humorous to have one or two grocery personnel walking down the street alongside us pushing massive carts of food!
Recently, Ms. Jones discovered the ease of online ordering and delivery from another locale, the Coto. Now, our order is saved in their system, and we can adjust if need be–saving many hours of wandering aisles and waiting in check-out lines.
Initially, Buenos Aires proved to be a bit tricky for the lunchtime hour. Our first week saw continual trial and error with delivery. It turns out that few restaurants open much before noontime, which just did not work with our class timetables! Luckily for us, Yosefa is immensely dedicated and discovered a local deli that could accommodate us.
Located not far from the classrooms, the deli makes everything on their extensive menu using organic and natural products. They host us every weekday and have worked an excellent rotation of food options for us. There are usually three offerings, including the ever-popular hamburger and side salad. Other delicious options are the Thai or Indian wok (rice, veggies, chicken), a chicken curry wrap, salmon burger, veggie burger, or pasta salads–to name a few. It is, how they say: Que rico.
Our dinner locations are just down the street from the student residence and hosts us four nights a week. We always manage to have the entire restaurant to ourselves because eating dinner at 6:30 pm is unheard of to Argentinians. This has worked out in our favor.
Upon our arrival, bottles of water and bread baskets are waiting to quiet hungry stomachs while friendly staff hurry between tables to receive our orders. There are always between 5 and 7 options nightly with choices of beef, pork, chicken, fish, pasta, gnocchi, risotto, and a veggie stir-fry. Side options include brown rice, mashed potatoes, mashed pumpkin, roasted pumpkin cubes, or french fries.
After ordering, students enjoy an endless salad bar with ever-changing options: spinach, lettuce, cherry tomatoes and large-sliced tomatoes, sliced hard-boiled eggs, bean sprouts, croutons, carrots, cheese cubes, ham cubes, olives, and mushrooms. Often, they include grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, and some sort of veggie salad, such as pumpkin. Olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, and lemon juice are options for drizzling over the veggies as a finish. The meal is always brought to a close by bottomless bowls of fruit salad.
Photography by Monique Lefebvre
One night a week, Houses venture out into the city to have dinner together as a unit. Some evenings end with a sweet trip to the cupcake shop.
Advisory dinners are also held one night a week, and students head out in smaller groups with their individual advisors. They are able to head into other barrios. This night allows for further exploration of the city.
To wrap up the often jam-packed weeks, Saturday dinners are ordered into the residence. Food options range from pizzas and salads to delicious Indian food. Last weekend, we packed our own sandwiches to bring to the incredible Four Nations Rugby Championship game.
For the amount of planning that goes into feeding 40+ people, everyone seems to leave meals content, having had their fill of both food and laughter from being together.