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February 27, 2009

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Does that jackass realize the reason kids are developing diabetes is because of the crap they've been fed in the lunchroom?

I don't know about you guys, but our kids don't go to school June, July and August. They're home working on the farm or at local businesses. And, they probably wouldn't eat fresh vegetables no matter how you fried them, poured cheese on them or dipped them in Ranch dressing. Try to feed that Parisian meal to our guys and they'd run shrieking out of the lunch room, fake gagging all the way home. (Actually - so would I...)

While far from perfect, our lunch preparers do the best they can with what they have. At least, here in West Bend/Mallard Community School. And everything is prepared fresh that day from Board of Education approved items.

Any other dragons you want to slay now? (That being said - good post here Tammy.)

I understand picky eaters - I was one growing up (most vegetables were fine raw, but very few cooked). That said, I think we have too many options in this country which allows kids (and adults) to get away with eating the processed "food" that lines our grocery aisles. In most countries, the deal is eat what everyone is having/what we traditionally eat, or nothing. No special foods just for the kids.

Tonight we (including my daughter who is not yet two) ate pork roast stuffed with chard and pine nuts - last night she inhaled wild-caught salmon with peach salsa, black beluga lentils, and a spicy cilantro cole slaw. We set the examples our kids follow.

I do think kids will eat what you eat, for the most part. But there are exceptions. They're kids and even childless I know it's never perfectly simple when it comes to that.

I do think just setting goals regarding fruit and vegetable consumption should be the main focus. That would be a huge step in the right direction.

Melissa: I will guarantee you that the fruits and vegetables on at least half of the school lunch trays would get thrown in the trash, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be there. I think schools should set a good example, but obviously parents have the larger responsibility there.

Andrea: And when will you be inviting me over for dinner? I agree that kids pick up on the cues from the parents. Why would they ever try something new if they know they can coax a hot dog out of you later in the evening? That said, I do make hot dogs every so often, but we enjoy them as a family.

Sally: When I saw that French menu, my first thought was: I'd only make that for company on a special occasion (lamb's not something we have every week around here). I'm not looking for anything fancy-schmancy in the caf, just a little healthier, and since fresher tastes better, it would be more likely to be eaten (though, there are never any guarantees with kids).

NurseJen: In his defense, and don't ask me why I'm defending him, I think his problem was more with people going overboard trying to turn school lunch into French Laundry for Kids complete with amuse bouche. I'm guessing. I just don't happen to think that "sustainable" and "locally grown" are petty in any way. The public schools where I live have a partnership with a farm down the street and I just think that's a wonderful relationship in so many ways.

Tammy,
How does your local school have the equipment and trained staff to serve freshly-prepared, appropriately seasoned fresh vegetables to all those kids? Because they can't cook broccoli at 11:30AM and expect it to be delicious at 1PM.

I think the local food movement is an ideal, and isn't intended to be a followed exactly by all. It's impossible to eat entirely locally, and frankly I don't think it's the right answer. There is a place for specialization. I appreciate a good French cheese, or a Spanish wine. These things are an important part of food culture. If we only ate the things that grew where we do, our culinary history would be stagnant.
That said, the place for these delicacies is in small proportion to standard more humble fare, that's mostly locally sourced. (imho, children and parents need to learn to live more simply in general, but especially in the case of meals.)
Balance is the key to this movement in general, and this case in particular.
It's so important not to loose to forest for the trees here. 100% local isn't going to happen for almost anybody, let alone a school cafeteria, but the impact of small changes is enormous. If they simply source a few ingredients locally, the impact on their environment would be huge. Imagine 20% fewer truckloads each month, and 20% more business for local farmers.
I really hope people can take the idea of local eating and incorporate it into their lives in a practical way, instead of trying to rip it apart and ignore it's possible benefits, both economic and health-wise.
Hello, by the way! :) I'm enjoying your blog! (especially all the cussing! You must hate this kid as much as I do- http://www.ktla.com/landing_news/?No-Cussing-Founder-Receives-Death-Threat=1&blockID=187735&feedID=171)

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