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Beyond Bologna

Max Poduch, 13, chows down on a slice of cucumber. His mom, Susan, is the kitchen manager at Immanuel Lutheran School in Crystal Lake. (Photos by Melissa Emory)

Crystal Lake mom Susan Poduch spends a lot of time making school lunches.

Literally hours.

That’s because Poduch isn’t only responsible for feeding her two kids, 11-year-old Grace and 13-year-old Max. She’s also the kitchen manager for the hot lunch program at their school, Immanuel Lutheran School, in Crystal Lake.

On a typical day, Poduch and her staff — also school moms — feed approximately 100 teachers and students in kindergarten through eighth grade. 

Her biggest challenge?

“Finding foods that are healthy that kids will eat,” she says. “So, we try to take stuff we know they’ll eat and give it a little twist.”

Her kitchen serves from-scratch versions of kid favorites such as pizza bread with homemade sauce, chicken strips made from boneless, skinless chicken breasts brushed with olive oil and coated with panko, baked cheeseburgers made from 90 percent lean ground beef, and chicken potpies. 

But not every dish is a winner.

To read the full story, pick up the latest issue of McHenry County Magazine.