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What's on My Lunch Tray?

Food's Amazing Journey

By Hailey Finkelstein



"This book is dedicated to  anyone who's favorite class of the day is lunch."

What's on My Lunch Tray?

Food's Amazing Journey

By Hailey Finkelstein

Food has to take an amazing journey to make it to your lunch tray. Whether it’s juicy red strawberries or salty and crunchy crackers, they have all traveled from somewhere around the world, where countless hours, days, weeks, or even years of hard work have been put into making them perfect for you. They have started as little seeds, planted in the ground, and have turned into something delicious. Even your plastic bags, containers, and lunchboxes have gone on a trip to become what the are, starting as piles of plastic or fabric. 

But how does all this yummy food get on your lunch tray? Let’s find out…


First, farmers plant Durum wheat seedlings in the fertile soil of the Great Plains. With water, sun, and a little time, the seedlings will start to develop into pale stems of wheat with tiny cream colored flowers. Soon, tall golden stalks will shoot out of the ground and into the world, as fully grown wheat. 





1. Workers then use big harvesting machines to easily slice bunches of wheat at once, instead of taking years hand picking each one.




How Did Your Pasta Get On Your Lunch Tray?

2. Next, the wheat is driven to the mill, where it is eaten by textured steel rollers that snake over the it, separating the bran and germ of the grains.


3. Another machine snaps the starch, or semolina into big pieces with it’s metal arms.


4. Then the semolina is sifted through to make sure no other parts of the wheat are still hiding in it, and ground into semolina flour, which is the main ingredient in pasta.


5. Finally, iron and other vitamins are added to the flour to make it healthier and full of nutrients.

6. At a pasta plant, the semolina is stored in a huge silo that can hold more than 1,000 pounds of flour. That’s around the weight of a fully grown elephant!


7. Some of the powdery flour is poured into a mixing bowl with warm water, that whisks it into a dough-like substance. Sometimes, eggs, vegetables, or spices are sprinkled  into is sticky concoction, adding color and extra flavor.


8. Then, the dough is added to a device called a laminator, which rolls and presses it flat, getting rid of any air bubbles.

9. The finished dough is placed on a steamer at 200 degrees that disinfects it.


10. Then, it’s fed through a machine that shapes the dough into thin pieces that are chopped into sections, making stringy spaghetti.


11. The pasta is dried in a drying tank for 12 hours before a gadget slides and packages the pasta into boxes and seals them shut.


12. Finally, the pasta is shipped to supermarkets to be enjoyed!

 In the summer, farmers plant basil seeds on trays in a warm greenhouse, watering and caring for them until they grow tall enough to live in a field. The basil is then relocated in a bark-like soil called mulch, to make sure that the finished herb you eat is of the highest quality.

How Did Your Basil Get On Your Lunch Tray?

 1. Soon, the small plant sprouts oval-shaped, pale green leaves and delicate purple and white flowers. The miniature basil soon grows into a fully-grown, 50 cm high bush that climbs towards the sun. The beautiful flowers soon produce seeds, that can later be used to grow more basil.


3. When the bright green leaves are ready to be harvested, farmers carefully hand pick each one and make sure it’s perfect.


4.Then the basil is dried in the cool temperatures of the indoors for 1-3 days.


5.Once they’re dried, the leaves are washed and cleaned, and each one is inspected, so only flawless basil will be used.


6. Afterwards, they’re put into a big refrigerator to keep them fresh.

7. Then, workers sort the basil into bunches based on their size.


8. The leaves are carefully piled into clear plastic containers and transported to a kitchen where a flavorful pesto sauce is created.


9. Cooks blend the basil with olive oil, pine nuts, and a dash of salt and pepper to create a delicious pasta sauce.


10. Finally, the pesto is put into jars and shipped to stores.

 First, farmers grow the Camellia Sinensis plants in a warm field, watering them and letting them soak up lots of sunlight. The plants soon grow pointy green tea leaves and big white flowers.


1.When they’re fully grown, workers pick the bud and two small leaves from each Camellia Sinensis.


2.Then, they sort through and inspect the plants to make sure each tea leaf will make your perfect cup of tea. Afterwards, the leaves are sorted into different piles depending on what type of tea they will be made into.



How Did Your Iced Tea Get On Your Lunch Tray?

3. The leaves are then placed on bamboo trays to wither (which makes them less likely to fall apart)  and are heated with warm air.


4. Then, they’re steamed to prevent the oxygen from changing their flavor. Next, the leaves are rolled out and shaped by a special machine to help them release juices and oils that give them each a unique flavor, and expose them to oxygen.

 5. Then the tea is oxidized, or chemically combined with oxygen, for a period of time based on if it will become black or green tea.



6. Finally, the leaves are heated to stop oxidation, dry them out, and add a final bit of flavor.

7. Afterwards, tasters sample a dried tea leaf, an infused tea leaf, and a brewed cup of tea. This determines whether the tea is good enough to be sold.


8. Then, a gigantic batch of tea is brewed, filled into bottles, and chilled to make it iced tea. The finished iced tea travels in a refrigerated truck to your supermarket.

First, farmers in Mexico plant avocado seedlings in rich soil outdoors, watering them and letting them receive lots of sunshine. As the trees begin to grow taller and taller, they bloom thousands of pale green flowers, but only the flowers lucky enough to be pollinated by a bee will grow avocados. The trees grow for a full year to towering heights of 50 feet, producing up to 100 pounds of avocados.


1. When the avocados are ready, workers hand pick them by cutting the stem with a pole pruner that has a basket to capture falling avocados.



How Did Your Avocados Get On Your Lunch Tray?

2. The picked avocados are piled into crates before they’re sent to a packing house to prepare them for eating. At the packing house, the avocados are inspected carefully to make sure that each bite of every avocado will be perfect to eat.


3. Next, the avocados are dusted and cleaned to perfection, and bathed in cold water to make sure they won’t ripen too quickly. This process makes sure that the avocados are ready to be packed.

 4. After they’re washed, workers patiently sort the avocados into piles based on their size. Then they’re securely bundled into boxes.


5. The avocados are put into refrigerated trucks that will keep them cool on their journey to supermarkets. So many people put time and effort into providing you with fresh avocados that you can enjoy!

1. Then, workers take sharp hooks on long poles to cut down the fully developed pods. The pods sit for a week before they’re ready to be picked, and then are smashed open with a wooden club.


2. The beans are taken out, and sorted in piles where they will ferment and dry out for seven days, making the flavors stronger.


3. Next, workers take cacao beans and spin them in a roaster at burning temperatures.


Chocolate begins on farms in South America, where Cacao trees are planted. They grow big, emerald green leaves, and pointy pink and white flowers. Before long, yellow speckled pods start forming on the tree, filling themselves with more than 50 sweet cacao beans. The trees grow over a period of 7 months before they’re ready to be harvested.


How Does Your Chocolate Bar Get On Your Lunch Tray?

7. More cocoa butter is mixed into the chocolate crumb, before it’s put through metal rollers that smoothen it into a paste.


8. The paste is put into huge tanks where more rollers soften the chocolate for three days.


9. Afterwards, it’s cooled to the perfect silky consistency and put on a molding machine that packs the chocolate into molds. The molds travel through a vibrating conveyer belt that pops air bubbles, before rolling onto a cooling tunnel that makes the chocolate resting inside them solid.


10. Finally, the finished chocolate bars are carefully wrapped, and taken to a store. All this work goes into making sure your sweet tooth can get a perfect bite of chocolate!


4. To make chocolate, a special machine separates the nib and the shell of the cacao bean.


5. Then, the nibs are ground into tiny pieces, causing the cocoa butter inside them to melt, which makes a mixture called chocolate liquor.


6. Milk is then mixed into sugar and dried out until it’s thick and sticky. This mixture is combined with the chocolate liquor to create a powdery substance called “chocolate crumb”.


The Ziploc bag that keeps your lunch safe was first invented by Dow Chemical Company in 1968. It's now owned by S.C. Johnson & Son.


1. The most important thing to have when making plastic bags is Polyethylene plastic. Workers take a material called Ethylene, and polymerize it, where it is chemically bonded to create a type of polymer.


2. Then, the parts of the Polyethylene are joined together with a heat gun that shoots out jets of hot air that soften the plastic parts into each other.


3.The plastic is finally melted into sticky resin nibs that will join together to form a Ziploc bag.


How Did That Ziploc Bag Get In Your Lunchbox?

4. Tons of these tiny nibs are poured into a machine called an extruder, where they will melt into liquid plastic.


5. Quick rollers flatten out the plastic, and any extra plastic is reused in other bags.


6. Next, the plastic is melted for a second time and poured into bag shaped molds.


7. When the plastic is dry, the bags are put together and then sent to get the Ziploc logo onto it. Workers take alcohol based ink to soak the Ziploc design onto each bag.


7. At last, the most important part of a Ziploc bag is created: the zipper. First, the tiny details of the zipper molds are carefully carved into steel plates. The design of the zipper includes really tiny curved hooks and stems that snap together to preserve your lunch.


8. A thicker, stronger type of plastic is poured into the molds, and colored with the same dye used to draw on the bags. 

9. When the plastic is dry, the zipper tracks are attached to the bags and packed into colorful boxes. The boxes pile into the truck as they are shipped to stores all over the country.

Food has to make it’s way through farms and factories, packing houses and tasting rooms, and kitchens and bakeries before it ends up on your lunch tray. Farmers, factory workers, and cooks from all over the world join together to help create millions of perfect bites for you to enjoy.

Making food isn’t as simple as it looks and many steps are needed to make these tasty foods good enough to eat. Now you know where your lunch comes from and how it gets on your plate, as it’s long journey finally ends.

Here are the simple ingredients you will need to make a delicious pasta sauce:


1 cup of basil

 3 garlic cloves

 1/3 cup of parmesan

 1/3 cup of olive oil

 A sprinkle of salt


How To Make The Perfect Pesto Sauce



1. Combine the basil, garlic, and parmesan  in a food processer until they are chopped together.


2.  While blending, add the olive oil and blend until the mixture is smooth


3. Then, season the pesto with salt to make it more flavorful.


4. Finally, drizzle a little extra oil onto your sauce and store in a secure container.


1. Mash avocados with chopped tomatoe, salt, and lemon juice to make guacamole.


2. Make a banana and avocado pudding!


3. Mix with coconut oil, an egg, and greek yogurt to make a face mask.


4.  Make an Avocado pancake for breakfast.


5. Or, spread some avocado on your toast and sprinkle it with salt.


6. Freeze avocados into refreshing popsicles.


7. Bake Avocado-fudge brownies


8. Bake it onto pizza


9.Blend them in a smoothie


10.  Make avocado french fries!

10 Different Ways To Use An Avocado