Cheese Dippers: Gone But Never Forgotten

Cheese+Dippers%3A+Gone+But+Never+Forgotten

Graphic by Sarah Natchipolsky

Teddy Andrew, Staff Writer

In 2011, former First Lady Michelle Obama implemented the MyPlate Food Act into the United States Food and Drug Administration, effectively removing the many unhealthy snacks from school cafeterias nationwide, which tend to be favorites among students in lunchrooms.

The MyPlate system replaced the MyPyramid structure in June 2011 in order to make nutrition easier for children to understand. It provided a visual of the proportions of each food group on a plate and changed the health standards for food served to the public.

While MyPlate, which made school lunches more nutritious nationwide, seemed like an overall wise decision, it came with one major shortcoming: the banishment of the Cheese Dipper.

The famed cheesy bite was a student favorite throughout Montgomery County, known to sell out before the lunch period had gotten anywhere close to ending. Lines out the door for the sole purpose of just possibly acquiring a taste of the precious cheese were commonplace on “Cheese Dipper Day” as it was deemed in the 2007 Rock Creek Valley ES lunchroom.

The greasy bread (of which nobody knows the variety) wrapped around the stick of mozzarella cheese was a staple of many current students’ childhoods.

The pure mystique that surrounded a plate of these quesadilla-mozzarella stick hybrids is so enigmatic that Rockville students still beg for its return. Sadly, it will most likely never happen because of the MyPlate Food Act which failed to see past the supposed lack of nutrition in those sticks of wonder.

Michelle Obama’s campaign to end childhood obesity called for major reforms in public school lunchrooms back in 2011, when the current seniors were mere sixth graders. These included a large increase in the presence of wheat and greenery on each tray served to students.

As the chemical makeup of the Cheese Dipper bread has never been identified, and the meal had no traces of vegetables with it, it was sadly put down alongside other fan favorites such as Chips Ole and Shrimp Poppers.

With its removal, lunchrooms countywide were left empty and lifeless, kids stopped interacting with one another to make trades, and friendly relationships with the lunch lady who gave out extra Cheese Dippers slowly fizzled out.

The reduction of obese children nationwide was not a worthy enough cause to erase the Cheese Dipper from the lunchroom as well as hearts of children everywhere. Sure, Cheese Dippers accounted for 70 percent of the recommended daily intake of saturated fats. Students can once again ignore that those four tiny cheesy sticks somehow take up half of the recommended daily amount of sodium.

These bleak times call for urgent reform. Too many children sit in school cafeterias with stone faces, longing for a past that has somehow escaped them. The Trump Administration is longing for a big victory and is finally in a position to do right by the people and bring smiles back into the lives of hungry students. Cheese Dippers were the past, and once again, they can be the future. It’s time to make the cafeteria great again.