For Carole Martin, food is a career, an enduring connection with her late son, and her way of making a difference in the lives of her students.
Martin, the cafeteria manager at Alturas Elementary, is the daughter of a military cook. Her childhood was filled with memories of big family get-togethers, with food always at the center. By the time she was an adult with children of her own, she realized that the relationship she had with food was unhealthy and a change had to be made.
“My son had epilepsy and we were going to two or three doctor’s appointments a week,” said Martin, whose son, Mark, died in 2018.
“Being on the road that often, we ate a lot of fast food. You don’t realize as you’re going through it how much you’re eating and how much weight you’re gaining.”
Together, Martin and Mark began making healthier decisions, turning packing their lunches into a competition to see who could select the healthiest, most creative snacks.
In 2015, Martin took her weight loss goals to another level, undergoing gastric bypass surgery. To date, she has lost 162 pounds.
Eating healthily — and encouraging the students at Alturas to do the same — has become Martin’s way of honoring Mark.
Listen to Martin’s full story in the most recent episode of “People of PCPS,” a podcast dedicated to telling the stories of the people who contribute so much to our organization.
You can watch the episode here on YouTube or download it for Apple, Google or Spotify. See polkschoolsfl.com/podcasts for more info.
People of PCPS is brought to you through the generous support of Joe Fisher’s office at Mid-State Educators Insurance. For more information, visit insurepolk.com.
In this episode, Martin also describes her father’s shrimp fried rice. Want to try it? Here’s the recipe:
Shrimp Fried Rice
2 lb. salad shrimp
3 lb. white rice, cooked and cooled
½ c. chopped onions
½ c. chopped green onions
½ c. chopped green bell peppers
½ c. chopped celery
½ doz. scrambled eggs
1 c. soy sauce, adjustable to taste
½ c. butter
1 tbsp. garlic
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
Sauté onions, bell peppers, celery and shrimp in butter until tender. Place rice, vegetables, and shrimp in pan with ½ c. oil. Heat while stirring constantly. When hot, add seasoning, green onions, eggs and soy sauce. Mix well and remove from heat. Sausage — bratwurst or ham — may be substituted for shrimp. Will make 10 to 15 servings.