Rachel's Table

Lunch Ladies vs. Ladies Who Lunch

Yesterday I lunched. Granted, I worked, too, but then I lunched after which I shopped.

This day of lunch and leisure ignited a long repressed memory. I was once an actual lunch lady. As a former teacher in a smallish school, I endured lunch duty every other week. A lunch lady is remarkably different from a lady who lunches.

Let’s compare and contrast, shall we?

A lady who lunches chooses a special restaurant in a cute town center. Lunch is an event.

A lunch lady has no choice–the deafening cafeteria is her only option. Lunch is an ordeal.

My lunch spot–Twelves Grill in West Grove, PA (with a storm brewing overhead)

A lady who lunches dines with friends at a sunshine soaked table for four.

A lunch lady does not dine. She hovers over 80 small children, opening juice boxes and fielding tattle tales while the dim flourescent lights vibrate overhead.

Sun-soaked – the perfect atmosphere for a lady who lunches

A lady who lunches enjoys flavorful and healthy soups, sandwiches and salads crafted from local, organic ingredients.

A lunch lady enjoys nothing. She gulps down half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with one hand while the other hand breaks up a trading war started by a coveted bag of Pokemon fruit snacks.

Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon Croutons and Granny Smith Apples

A lady who lunches sips leisurely on white wine poured as needed by an attentive server.

A lunch lady is dehydrated from too much caffeine and lack of time to refill her water bottle.

Mushroom Soup and Spinach Salad – local and delicious, especially with white wine

A lady who lunches talks of dinner parties, shopping, reality TV, Whole Foods and interior design.

A lunch lady yells over the roar of children talking with food in their mouths. She yells about the pros and cons of eating one’s sandwich before one’s Oreos, the benefits of waiting one’s turn at the vending machine, and the significance of not sticking straws up one’s nose.

There’s no straws up my nose!

A lady who lunches shares a decadent chocolate dessert with a fellow lady who lunches.

A lunch lady shares germs with 80 children coughing their way through Lunchables and Capri Suns.

Molten Chocolate Cake with House made Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

If you are a lady who lunches or would like to take your favorite lunch lady out for a quiet meal, go to Twelves Grill and Cafe in West Grove, Pennsylvania–the perfect spot for anyone that likes to eat lunch.


  1. Aah! I am a “lunch lady” by your definition. But when I am done with Capri Suns and Lunchable assistance, I sit down with my child and her friends to eat my locally-grown veggie lunch. “You EAT that stuff?” they say with a wince, particularly at the kale and beet greens that I gorilla-roll into a green burrito before chowing down. I always ask back, “Don’t you?” T

    Then we begin a 20-min long conversation about all things nature and food-healthy, ’cause if lunch lady doesn’t do it, they may never learn.

    PS — I love lady lunches! It’s an excuse for me to doll up and freak out my friends (who rarely see me without glasses, hair back or braided, in jeans or a tennis skirt, or with dirt under my nails. I scrub up good, or so my husband tells me. Now…off to mulch!

  2. So I don’t know what it is, but I’m thinking I prefer what’s behind Door Number 1, here. Yes. Yes, I’ll be a lady who lunches, please. Although I’ll trade you this bag of Pokeman fruit snacks for your Capri Sun.

    The food looks amaaazing. And that first picture with the storm clouds? Incredible!

    • I DO have a butternut squash soup recipe but never thought to put apple in it! I plan to share the soup recipe soon, because it’s a good one. It has sage croutons, but I like these cinnamon croutons even better. YUM!

  3. The molten lava cake at the end there is making me cry.

    I can imagine how traumatic it was to be on lunch duty at a school. I recently ate lunch with my daughter’s entire kindergarten class and about ten minutes in, I was ready to lose it. I spent most of my time stabbing everyone’s capri suns with that puny straw. I don’t think I ate one bite of food.

    • It was the most stressful part of my teaching career, which is why my career lasted only two years. Just the smell of juice boxes and sandwiches sends me into a panic.

      That cake was flourless and so gooey and delicious. I’m sure you could give it a kick-ass name. πŸ˜‰

      • I can relate. I worked in special ed at an elementary school for a few years before I had kids. I give props to all the teachers out there, it is one of the most challenging jobs.

      • Someone the other day was saying people are always complaining that mail carriers and teachers get paid too much. I heartily disagree! They get paid too little for a job that’s all encompassing. I couldn’t leave work at work when I was a teacher. A class of first graders take up so much of one’s brain space, even when school’s over. I respect teachers so much, mostly because I couldn’t hack it.

  4. I actually got to do the lady who lunches thing TWICE last week and it was glorious! However, I am on a diet, so no molten chocolate ice cream kissed by a rose cake for me. 😦 But the talking and laughing and such was totally worth the lack of dessert and sad salads I consumed.

    Those Capri Suns make me homicidal. Not a good combo when you are around screaming children.

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