62 ingredients

I have never in my life cooked a meal that had 62 ingredients.

Why, oh why on earth is it okay/normal/acceptable for schools to be serving pizza with 62 ingredients to elementary aged children. On Jamie Oliver's new television show "Food Revolution" his cameras pan to six year old children eating (probably) the same pizza for breakfast. 

I'm outraged.

I understand the draw of pizza. Every kid likes it and it reheats well. I remember a time when pizza was a treat. Growing up in my household most pizzas were either on boboli crusts or bagels with fresh mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes, made at home. Delivered pizza was a treat saved for slumber parties, the rare friday night we didn't go out as a family or if mom was sick. Even then, it was usually take and bake pizza. (True story eh mom?)


The link above is an amazing look at real school lunches. "Mrs. Q" (not her real initial) has chosen to eat the lunches served by her school for an entire school year. (Brave Soul)

Mrs. Q is unveiling a very serious problem with our school lunch programs. This food is barely edible by an adult's standards. I realize these kids aren't paying money for this food, but it is costing them dearly.

This could be the only meal for some kids, shouldn't it be as nutritious and fortified as it possibly can be? Shouldn't we be putting all our money and effort into meals that feed our children both physically and mentally? Don't they deserve to feel taken care of, and cared for? Slapping a plastic-y looking cheese sandwich on a tray with broccoli that has been cooked within an inch of it's life (probably devoid of all nutrition it may have once tried to provide) is not serving a child lunch.

I literally remember my school cafeteria lady's name. Theresa. She was tiny, she was Filipino and you didn't mess with her on Chicken Nugget day. I think she would probably appreciate that I remember her. I remember she would always keep a secret tray of nuggets for those of us that volunteered to help serve lunch. Yeah, those were the days. Fifth and sixth graders taken out of class (GASP!) a full fifteen minutes before lunch time, to help get lunch out to their peers. We served our friends. They ate their food, usually all of it. Then we got to eat together in the cafeteria with Theresa. It was a huge honor, bestowed only upon the students whose teachers trusted them to be responsible enough to get the job done.

Do we really have so little faith in our children? Do we put such a small amount of stock in them that we have to result to these novelty foods just to get them their daily nutrition?

On Jamie Oliver's show, he showed some 8-9 year olds how to break down a chicken to get all the real meat off the bones. Then, he took the bones, the cartilage and all the yucky parts and put them in a blender. (I don't recall if he added anything else.) Then, he cut it in to a patty shape and breaded it. A few minutes in the hot oil and it was golden brown. He then asked the kids if they would eat it, even though MOMENTS before they had all been saying "Ew! Yuck! That looks nasty!"

Guess what? They all raised their hands in favor of eating the disgusting offal patty. He had the presence of mind not to serve them chicken bone shards and kidneys.

Oh the frustration.

I'm at a point in my parenthood that I have to figure out how Emmie needs to be educated. This school lunch deal is going to be a big check on the home schooling side of the debate. (Along with all the other lameness that is public schools like 40:1 ratios, no books, violence, teacher and student apathy etc.)

This was exhausting.

1 comment:

Celly said...

As a student in a junior high, I, too, find it difficult to eat school lunches. The spaghetti and pizza are the only things I ever eat from the hot lunch menu, and otherwise I bring my lunch from home. As a vegetarian, it's hard to find a lot to eat at school.

I like pizza, a lot, but for us, too, pizza is a treat reserved for nights when everyone is just lying on the floor in a lethargic stupor. And sometimes we make pizza on pita bread with marinara sauce or with the pizza dough from the grocery store.

I like eating it for breakfast, cold.

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