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Bought or brought? Revisit the nostalgia of the school cafeteria with this collection of interviews, vivid portraits, and elaborately reimagined food photos.

Food often unites us in unexpected ways — especially on Taco Salad Day. Drawing on material from more than seventy voices , these stories capture all walks of life — from celebrities and chefs to a circus family, new immigrants, a creative dad whose illustrated lunch bags went viral, plenty of unlikely cultural mashups, and one genuine cafeteria lady. Their experiences are compelling, familiar, and foreign at the same time, forming a cultural time capsule. School Lunch celebrates our diversity and our shared experience.

In their words:
  • “School lunch is one of the core reasons I became a chef.” — Marcus Sammuelson
  • “My mom, God rest her soul, was not exactly Mom-of-the-Year on this kind of stuff. She worked full-time, that woman
  • was not about to peel and slice fruit for me.” — Natalie Webster
  • “I ate the same damn thing every day for six years.” — Micaela Walker
  • “On the days when I didn’t have enough food there was always a reason to start or finish a fight.” — George Foreman
  • “We were definitely a crusts-on family.” — Daphne Oz
  • “I used to hate that feeling of walking into the lunchroom for the first time and not knowing where to sit.” — Chinae Alexander
  • “Every kid had some good item to trade and I had f****** applesauce.” — Sam Kass