Fed Up With Lunch: A blog review (I think that's what I'm writing about, anyway)

Friday, January 21, 2011

The small blessing that comes from procrastinating and having a job where your boss is a 1 year old who sleeps for hours on end, is your discovery of some awesome, thought provoking stuff on the internet.
In particular, this blog.
I stumbled open it via my homepage, cnn (yes, cnn as my homepage allows me to feel slightly smart and less ridiculous than having say, facebook or People as my homepage. Not that I read cnn nearly as much as those other two) Not the point.
The point is that as someone who worked in schools, I can appreciate the effort a lot of schools try to make and I can see the injustices begin served (literally) to children. I respect that feeding 1,200 youngsters is a huge responsibility; so is teaching them, and we’re pretty much failing at that too. Neither of these issues are everyone’s fault and no one’s fault all at the same time.
“Fed Up with Lunch”, provides a way to acknowledge what’s going on, through the words, and taste buds, of a teacher who chooses to eat the same cafeteria meals her students eat, every day for a year. If you have ever worked in schools, please imagine this for one minute. It ain't no Google employee lunch room, people (have you heard about what they offer?!).
There are several questions that instantly pop into my head while gawking at the “salisbury steak” and congealed cheese sandwich, such as, why is it okay for cheese pizza to be served so often? When will schools get some type of fresh salad/veggie/fruit bar instead of throwing soggy green beans at 6 year olds (actually, some already do)? and mostly I ask, isn’t there a less wasteful way to serve all this food? The amount of packaging they use is insane.
Things like this blog, and other healthy school lunch advocates, like Jamie Oliver, with the support of school districts, are starting to change the way kids eat, but it’s such a slow process. Part of the problem is adults don’t SEE what’s going on. Most teachers wouldn’t dare eat these lunches, unless they forget their legit brown bag lunch at home, and how often do parents eat lunch with their kids IN the cafeteria WITH cafeteria food?
It’s easy to say that students have the choice to bring their lunches to school, but be mindful that, in some districts, over half the kids are on free or reduced lunch, leaving them with no other options.
I struggle to believe that there is much better than a home cooked meal with fresh ingredients, and a little TLC from the person providing it. That being said, even if school lunches never make the zagat guide or mom’s cookbook, I’m not sure if there is much more important that providing kids with the necessary tools to have a successful education. One of those tools is a hearty and healthy lunch. Schools efforts to provide things like whole wheat beans, lean meats and veggies are commendable, yet they are being squelched by the mystery meat Mondays, buttered corn and red dyed fruit ice whatchamacallits that play first string in this battle of the school lunch break.
I have absolutely no clue what to do about any of this (besides the fanciful and slightly disillusioned scenarios I’m currently playing out in my head- kids are all eating veggie burgers and baked sweet potatoes in that, by the way- don’t worry, I am a realist, I’m not suggesting that this is what I’m really after for the schools of America), but I feel strongly about the food we put into our bodies, and the crisis most people don’t realize we’re in. How such an intelligent country allowed greed to welcome HFCS, trans fats and processed food products with such open arms is hardly a mystery ($$ talks), but I’d like to believe that deep down, we have a greater desire for what is good... even if sugar isn’t in the ingredient list.


Post a Comment