HUUSD nutritionist Erika Dolan, Warren kitchen staff Yukio Cormier and Troy Kingsbury, joined by Gene Hurdle to celebrate the Hurdle Special at Warren School.

The first year that Harwood Union opens Mrs. Hurdle was one of those who created and served the meals. That year was the 1966 to 1967 school year.





A few years, later in the 1970s, according to her son Gene Hurdle, after the meal was done, she had an inspiration involving some dough, government cheese, ham and butter. She layered dough thinly in a baking pan, topped it with American cheese, then ham and layered more dough thinly on the top, brushing it with melted butter before baking it.

It was a hit. The Hurdle Special was born. Traditionally served with tomato soup and green beans, the Hurdle Special was a monthly event at Harwood for multiple generations of students. When she left the school, the Hurdle Special continued, at least into the 1990s  Gene Hurdle said, recalling one time in the 1990s when he stopped at the school and the food director at the time gave him a whole pan of it.

The Hurdle Special was phased out at Harwood, only to be resurrected at the Village Grocery in Waitsfield by former owner Troy Kingsbury after he purchased the business in 2006. It was a deli special, in regular rotation each month and was very popular.

After Kingsbury sold the store to Talmage Jestice last fall, he began working at Warren Elementary School where his wife also works. Kingsbury has been working in the kitchen, washing dishes, and generally helping out.




A few weeks ago, he decided to invite Gene Hurdle to the school to tell the kids about the Hurdle Special while letting them enjoy it for lunch. That happened this week on May 14 and it was a hit with students, staff and district superintendent Dr. Mike Leichliter enjoying the meal.

Harwood Unified Union School District co-director of food and nutrition Erika Dolan was on hand to explain how the recipe was modified to meet current federal nutrition standards (Crisco is out). Originally made with all white flour, this week it was made with 51% wheat flour and the rest white flour, Dolan explained.

Kingsbury said that the trick to the Hurdle Special is to get the dough as thin as possible without tearing it – and that – he said requires a good rolling pin and lots of practice.