It was an accident, the kind of split-second disaster played out in corporate lunch rooms around noon every day. I reached into the fridge to grab my cubby of leftovers from amongst the other tubs and containers, and out fell somebody else’s.
The yellow Tupperware tumbled off its perch, conked into a shelf and flipped to land on the floor – face down, lid off, pasta strewn. Lunch? Served.
Even if you subscribe to the 5-second rule, it surely does not apply to linguine and seasoned chicken chunks. Mop-sop-scoop? Wait – with hands? Ick. Container? Better. There could be no delusions of pretend-it-never-happened.
Mess disposed, evidenced tidied, floor sanitized, I washed the mystery person’s container, warmed my waiting pasta and beanballs, then returned to my desk to type a note to my coworkers.
Subject line: “Sorry about your lunch.”
Students gathered as the chef sliced tomatoes with a plastic knife in a Brooklyn public school cafeteria. Their eyes followed as she held up a slender green cylinder before the crowd of parents and kids in plastic aprons and hairnets.
"What's that?" kids shouted.
"It's a scallion. But don't eat it now," warned Leigh Armstrong, a culinary student and volunteer chef. "It doesn't taste like celery."
Armstrong was helping at Cooking Matters, a free, six-week class that teaches parents and kids how to shop for and prepare healthy, inexpensive meals. The program launched 20 years ago through the nonprofit Share our Strength, and it now serves more than 11,000 families across the country.
Read the full report - 1 in 5 U.S. children at risk of hunger
This summer, CNN's Defining America project will be traveling the country with the CNN Express bus to explore the stories behind the data and demographics that show how places are changing.
Most of the time, ordering a burrito is just trying to get lunch.
But ordering one from a food truck in Charlotte could be a political act.
After a 2008 Charlotte ordinance tightened restrictions on mobile food vendors, several went out of business or left town. But with a changing population that has tasted food truck fare in other cities, the rules are again being debated - much to the chagrin of some neighborhoods here.
Some in Charlotte said the food truck debate is a test of the city's culture and whether this Southern boomtown can support grassroots street food like residents do in Austin, Texas; Portland, Oregon; or Washington.
Others said it's a fight over the character of neighborhoods, over whether food trucks are a service or a dangerous signal of a place that's failing to thrive.
This summer, CNN's Defining America project will be traveling the country with the CNN Express bus to explore the stories behind the data and demographics that show how places are changing. This week, CNN brings you coverage from North Carolina.
There was a time when every North Carolina family loved – or at least knew – liver mush. It's the cuisine of grandma's house, snow days and simpler times, a local delicacy some natives defend with the same loyalty they have to Carolina barbecue and Cheerwine.
Back then, it was the economical way to get some meat in your diet when times were tough, a high-iron addition to a kid's lunch, or a fried-till-crispy comfort breakfast beside fat slices of tomato and muskmelon.