DES MOINES, Iowa -- The end of an era at Des Moines' Christ The King School . For decades lunch room manager Eileen Miller has faithfully kept the students fed. "It is a big part of my life. It is different from when I started twenty-nine years go. All we had to do was put the food on the tray. Now we have to count calories and sodium."
Despite the changes, she's been the constant. Now she is laying down the menu for retirement. "Oh I'll miss the kids. I'll miss seeing the kids," she said. Eileen has seen much more than just kids looking for a warm meal after recess. To her it has been generations of families. "I now have former students that now have students and a lot are here today for lunch."
Almost all of her eight kids, twenty-six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren have been served by Eileen. Sheila McGoldrick, Eileen's daughter said, "My daughters went to school here so they were served by grandma through the lunch line. It was the highlight of their day to see that familiar face as they came through the line."
Many of them including daughter Sarah Dudley arrived in time for the celebration. "It was really neat to be able to surprise her like that," said Sarah. Make no mistake, they also wanted one last tray from Eileen. "She puts her heart in anything she does completely," Sarah said.
After serving what the school believes to be well over a million meals, Eileen left her stamp on the final day on job with her signature dish. Pirowskis and Fudgies. "Pirowski is a hot roll with meat and cheese inside and the fudgies are like a peanut butter cup with peanut butter and chocolate on top."
While it may seem like a daunting task to take over for such a lunch time legend, Eileen has already handed down her secrets. She said, "Just serve food that they like and serve it with a smile."
Eileen's food prep days are not over just yet. She plans to host her large family this Christmas.