The Ultimate Lunchroom
by Tom Chapin & John Forster
2011 The Last Music Co. & Limousine Music Co. (ASCAP)

I come in every morning at seven.
I leave every day about four.
My job is to set up the lunch line,
And clean it up after the war.
To the students at William McKinley,
I am not just a lady who stands
At the steam table there
With a net in my hair
And the plastic gloves over my hands.

I am part of the Ultimate Lunchroom,
And the food here will open your eyes:
Every dish is delish and extremely nutrish,
Every meal is a total surprise.

If you've never had bing cherry tacos,
Well lucky you, here's your big chance.
Plus a dandelion pie and a special stir-fry
Made of backyard collectible plants.

And the hot whole grain breads from our oven
Make a sandwich you'll never forget,
Like the mackerel melt over sourdough spelt
Or the shrimp on a buckwheat baguette.

It's all part of the Ultimate Lunchroom,
Where we nurture the Culture of Try.
Where we serve only food
That was born to be chewed
And that tastes like the 4th of July.

Every morning we head for the garden
And pick what looks good to our eyes,
If it's fennel or turnip
Our cook's gonna churn up
A turnip and fennel surprise.

And as teachers and kids eat together,
Exploring what's there on each plate,
Where it's from, how it grew
Why it nourishes you,
Lunch becomes more than just what you ate.

Chowing down in the Ultimate Lunchroom,
New connections are easy to see
'Cause the gravies and dressin's
Are edible lessons digested with each recipe.
It's just how every class ought to be.

If you've ever been stuck in a lunch line
Then you know just how slow it can be.
That does not happen here
'Cause there is no cashier
And you don't have to pay,
'Cause it's free.

And the food is all served on real dishes,
So less plastic and no Styrofoam.
And we compost at school
Which turns out to be cool
Because now the kids compost at home.

And when they're leaving
The Ultimate Lunchroom
The kids and the teachers all say,
As they gather their books
And they wave to the cooks,
"Thanks a lot, it was far and away
The most interesting class of the day."

This song appears on Tom Chapin's Give PEAS A Chance CD.

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