Cafeterias are the glistening jewels of any large educational facility, serving up rather scary looking "food" and other exotic delights that most clients (unwary fools) don't really want to eat, but dare not return it to the invariably fat, grumpy cafeteria lady in case she gives them the evil eye or leaps over the counter ninja style and delivers a bellyflop of justice. Over time attention has been brought to the general scariness of cafeterias by people like Jamie Oliver, likening it to "that first level in DOOM 3 where there are no zombies but it's scary anyway".
The cafeterias at the University of The North Pole are particularly frightening, and are best known for distributing meatloaf on Halloween, which most humans (and quite a few non-humans as well) find particularly horrifying.
"Halloween is an excuse for people to dress up in slutty costumes with animal ears, not void their bowels in communal eating facilities. This just isn't cool."
- Professor Jhonen Vasquez on the meatloaf at the University of The North Pole
"Professor Vasquez, if you ever want to eat in my mess again, you will go and take off those goddamn cat ears and that disgusting thong and put on some pants...jeez, that kid ain't right."
- William Spooner, mess officer at UTNP, throbbing eerily
Rules of Cafeterias
Scientists have formulated several rules as to what makes a cafeteria a real cafeteria and not just a cutesy fake one. A cafeteria must adhere to at least 5 of these 10 rules; otherwise it's probably not a cafeteria.
- The food must not be completely dead in all cases, yet not so alive as to start doing backflips on the table or at least when inspectors are not looking.
- All cafeteria staff must have particularly dodgy looking facial warts that loom over the food.
- There must be at least five different anecdotes from "my auntie's friend's cousin" concerning large cockroaches being found in the food (or the servers' hairnets).
- An array of different fillings in sandwiches may be offered; and when served always seems to be some sort of variation on mayonnaise.
- If fries are served, they must be more orange than yellow.
- Servers must communicate with grunts or evil looks and definitely not smile. No. Not once.
- Schoolchildren's parents may volunteer to supervise during large breaks in the cafeteria, and will not be referred to as "dinnerlady" but rather "lunchtime supervisor". This does not apply to every educational facility (depending on location and age of the enrolled
- Vending machines may be available at the cafeteria, selling normal looking food/drink, however must be out of order greater than 90% of the time (ie: always).
- Queues must be non-existent until you enter the cafeteria, when they suddenly congeal out of nowhere.
- Bonus points are awarded for every child who receives food poisoning or for dubious hairs found in the fairy cakes to the consumer's delight. This is why there are dishes named "Surprise" Soup, "Bonus" Brats, Pork with a "Prize", and, of course, "Mystery" Meat.
Although scientists may have created the 10 golden rules of cafeterias, it constantly baffles them how some things seem to defy the laws of physics (sort of). Here are a few examples of scientists' theories:
- How come the servers are almost always fat. Like, they actually eat the food? Christ.
- Why is the food alive?
- Why is the food not dead?
- Finally, what magic stops inspectors from closing the place down? Is it the magic of money? Well, it sure can't be the golden curls and charms of the servers.
Attempts have been made to make further inquiries into these mysteries, but when the servers are pressed they are reported to do the whole scary leathery bat wing thing again so nobody's really tried after that, at least not without garlic (which can be found in the soup of the day if you can pry it apart from the solid, fish-like things or at your local apothecary, next to the warlock's weapon store).
Soup of the Day
Let's not go there. Really, that's one mystery better left alone.
Ah yes, the unexplained Mystery Meat is a staple of every cafeteria. It's not really meat at all, but more of an artificial meat-flavored meatlike meat substance supposedly made from the organs of a Slinky Dog. Certain swankier institutions have been known to use rectal meat for this purpose.
Steps have been taken by people like Jamie Oliver to offer more healthy alternatives to food served in most cafeterias. Among the most memorable of the failed campaigns were "eat kittens" and "eat soup du jour bouille haricot avec le frite pain", abandoned because there was a shortage of kittens and nobody could pronounce the second one or fit it on cafeteria menus anyway. Freaking French.
The campaign has recently slowed down because everybody got interested in other things like the Michael Jackson trial, the weather, and the scandal over whether "soup du jour bouille haricot avec le frite pain" was actually the scientific name for some sort of nuclear bomb.
In light of this, health authorities currently recommend that you either avoid cafeterias altogether or bring your own shotgun in case the food turns out to be an alien face grabber and attempts to suck your brains out (if the cafeteria lady doesn't do it first). There have been many cases where vigilant students attempt to beat back their food with frying pans, however they all tend to fail because the servers have been reported to grow giant leathery bat wings, swoop down upon their prey and then devour them. This does make the vampire theory more logical, but vampires are no longer cool. Not after Van Helsing kicked Dracula's ass, anyway.