The Case for Crispitos

Calvin Kanz and Kate Hinz, Staff Reporter

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No school lunch menu is complete without an infamous mystery meat; at Linn-Mar, crispitos fit the bill. On occasion, the Linn-Mar High School cafeteria serves this mysterious-looking yet delicious meal. These tightly wrapped tortillas with meat filling are usually topped with a combination of lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, and/or hot cheese sauce. Students tend to be divided on whether crispitos qualify as a ‘good’ lunch. The average student tends to either crave or despise them. The authors of this article identify as the former.  Critics focus on crispitos’ underwhelming, lackluster appearance and questionable filling. However, those who choose to scrutinize crispitos on mere visual aesthetics deny themselves a truly delicious eating experience.  Moreover, it is the journey to the unknown—consuming the “mystery meat” as thousands of Linn-Mar students have—that makes the crispitos’ dining experience so exciting and satisfying.

In a poll of 20 Linn-Mar students, 65% of respondents said they believe the meat in crispitos to be beef. This meat choice seems plausible due to the brown color of the filling and its finely ground texture. However, as no specific flavor of meat can be discerned from the mixture, its content left room for the other 35% of students surveyed to offer a wide variety of guesses, some reasonable while others a bit outlandish. Answers included chicken, horse, and pork and somehow, fecal matter.  We suspect the two students who offered this last suggestion are on the side against crispitos. LM Life columnist Kate Hinz decided for the sake of a unified student body, it was necessary to investigate and find the answer to this burning question: just what *is* the mystery meal that comprises a crispito? Hinz decided to go straight to the source of the crispitos, the kitchen staff. There, she met up with Linn-Mar High School’s Production Manager, Chrystal Heneisen, who was able to provide Hinz with an obviously simple answer to the question at hand: she handed Hinz a crispito nutrition label. The answer as to the mystery meat? CHICKEN.  To be fair, even Heneisen admitted to having been taken by total surprise that crispitos were made of chicken, not beef. Heneisen’s kitchen colleagues similarly advised Hinz they were in disbelief when they learned crispitos’ secret ingredient is chicken.

In hindsight (or shall we say Hinz-sight lols), it shouldn’t have been such a surprise. Following our subjective survey at Linn-Mar, it was decided to determine whether the Linn-Mar chicken crispitos are an anomaly or if chicken has been the centerpiece of crispitos in high school cafeterias nationwide. Further research on this pressing issue led to the discovery that chicken crispitos are not as uncommon as one might think. In fact, they seemed to be the most prevalent type of meat used to create the dish. Many online recipes recommend supplanting the meat with beef, but by far, chicken was the most common ingredient. Hinz even discovered that crispitos were basically just an American knock off the Mexican dish of taquitos. A taquito is described as a small rolled-up tortilla that contains filling, including beef, cheese or chicken. The filled tortilla is then crisp-fried or deep-fried. The dish is often topped with condiments such as sour cream and guacamole.

No longer are Linn-Mar’s crispitos the questionable entree item of the week. Not only is the meat simply ground chicken, the ingredients actually combine to create a tasteful and relatively healthy lunch. Similar to Chicken Tuesday, the crispitos bar cements itself as iconic school culture and hopefully appeals to more of the student body as students learn what actually goes into the golden tortillas on the lunch line.