Townsend Harris cuts off cold cuts

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After an eventful morning at school, when your stomach made noises that made you blush, you are grateful it is finally lunch time. As you enter the cafeteria, you notice the bewildered faces of your peers and your eyes finally fall upon it: the jailed and gated cold lunch side.

Townsend Harris students have always indulged in the division of the cafeteria: the cold and the hot lunch sides. The cold food side once provided a variety of choices such as sandwiches, deli meats, and toppings, while the hot food side offered food like lasagna, chicken, and hamburgers. The ability to choose was a privilege, but there has been much controversy ever since the cold lunch side has been closed down due to financial reasons.

Sophomore Zoe Filopoulos, part of the 49% who preferred the cold lunch side, said she would often times eat the sandwiches when she didn’t fancy the hot lunch, and now that it is no longer open, she usually doesn’t eat lunch.

“I liked the cold lunch side more because I could choose whatever I want to eat. Also, the sandwich bar doesn’t waste food because students only got what they wanted. A lot of times people are given food that they won’t eat from the hot food side,” Zoe explained.

Junior Abbey Li agreed saying, “I prefer eating cold lunch over hot lunch. I liked eating the bread (all-grain or whole-grain), the roast beef, and slices of mozzarella cheese. I have eaten from both sides, and I prefer the cold lunch side because it keeps me away from the fried foods that are on the hot lunch side.”

Some students chose the cold lunch side due to religious reasons, as they were able to order not only what they would enjoy but what would also enable them to comply to their religious observances and practices.

Sophomore Karima Mashriqi would like the cold side to be reopened so she could have the opportunity to eat lunch at school everyday.

She said, “I eat school lunch whenever possible. When the cold side was opened I would be able to make my own tuna sandwiches which are halal. Since I only eat halal foods, most of the time there isn’t anything for me to eat so I just decide not to get school lunch anymore.”

Junior Jhumpa Sarkar said, “I do prefer the cold lunch because I can choose what I want in a sandwich, kind of like in Subway. Also, since I don’t eat beef because I’m Hindu, I like going to the cold lunch side instead of getting a plain old peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I would like the cold lunch side to be reopened.”

Cold Hearts for Cold Lunch

Out of the students that chose the cold lunch side over the hot, 15% prefered tuna, 65% enjoyed turkey, 12% favored ham, and 8% liked bologna. Although many students seem to have favored the sandwiches once served, it has been proven that processed meats serve as negative factors to our health.

Consuming processed meats, which include hot dogs, pepperoni, bacon, and deli meats, contributes to the risk of developing colorectal cancer, the fourth most common cancer according to a report by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund. The scientists of AICR concluded that processed meats increase one’s risk of colorectal cancer by an average of 21% for every 50 grams of processed meat consumed daily.

The New York City Department of Education has received a failing score report because at least one menu had more than 20% of meals containing processed meats. The cold lunch menu contained 59% of meals with processed meats, with a record of 27% of days when processed meats were offered at elementary, middle, and high schools.

51% of students believe that there isn’t anything that is more satisfying than the bursting flavors and spices from mom or grandma’s home cooked meals or in other words, hot lunch.

Sophomore Romil Parikh does not eat cold school lunch because he believes the sandwiches lack freshness and taste.

Freshman Ivy Lam stated, “I do eat school lunch because I need the energy to participate in track. I don’t have time to make my own food. I have always preferred the hot side because I am allergic to many of the things offered on the cold side.”

With mixed student reviews, it is difficult to tell if the cold sandwiches will ever be able to warm up the hearts of many once again.