Something Queer in the Cafeteria by Elizabeth Levy, illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein, 1994.
Ms. Lensky, the cafeteria lady at Gwen and Jill’s school, is just plain mean. All of the food that the cafeteria serves is yucky, even though the cafeteria is new. There will be a party to celebrate the opening of the new cafeteria, and even the kids’ parents and the mayor are invited. Gwen and Jill are happy because their class will get to help decorate the cake. However, Ms. Lensky, the M.C.L. (Mean Cafeteria Lady), doesn’t like the girls, and she blames them for a number of accidents that happen in the cafeteria.
The first accident was caused by the M.C.L. herself when she was chewing out the girls for being messy (really, the food was messy), and she bumped into other students, causing a food fight to break out. The M.C.L. blames Jill and Gwen, of course, for starting the fight. As punishment, the girls are assigned to clean in the cafeteria. While they’re cleaning up, the M.C.L. blames them when a faucet breaks.
Later, when their class visits the cafeteria to prepare for decorating the cake, a counter collapses, throwing frosting all over Gwen. Then, the girls get in trouble again for criticizing the food. When the cake burns at the party, and it looks like Fletcher the dog’s bandana is in the burned mess, the girls are blamed once more.
Is the cafeteria jinxed, or is the M.C.L. just out to get the girls? Or is there another explanation?