Sunday, 17 January 2010

School Lunches

"Today's menu: Hamburger, wheat buns, tator tots, fruit jello, chocolate milk.

I ate everything. The patty was how do you say nothing like any hamburger I have ever eaten. Mystery meat in every sense. I also really wanted more than just six tator tots. The fruit cup was NOT FROZEN, so I ate it. I also drank the chocolate milk, which was ok.

I sort-of want to stop drinking milk at lunch. I normally don't drink milk at lunch. In fact, I used to have milk only on my morning cereal, but this winter I've been opting for a hot breakfast of instant oatmeal and so prior to doing this "experiment" I would go without milk for whole days. So now that I've added a lunchtime milk, I've noticed some interesting changes in my body. I think I'm getting a little lactose-intolerant in my old age.

This lunch was better than other lunches in that there was more protein and I wasn't as desperately hungry after school like I have been in the past. But overall it still isn't enough for the kids who eat this one meal at school and that's it for the whole day. There is significant poverty at my school and some of the kids are very thin (and others are very, very chunky). No matter what size you are you should be able to eat healthy at school. "

If you check out the exciting links at the side of this blog - you should, they're exciting! - you will have read about this new blog at Marion Nestle's site, Food Politics.

Fed Up With School Lunches is a blog written by an American public school teacher in Illinois. For the rest of the school year she plans to eat the lunch that's available at her school for the kids who attend it. Of course the point of eating these lunches is to record them for posterity, so there is a photo and a description of each lunch. Mmm, yummy. NOT. I look at the picture of the meat patty that came with the meal described above, and think about the fact that it will have been treated with ammonia in an effort to keep the bacteria down to a dull roar. I don't think I could have gotten it into my mouth.

It makes me wonder. What are Canadian (Ontario in particular) school lunches like these days? Never having had a dog in this particular fight, I have been out of touch with them since my own school days. The ones I remember date back to the 1970's when I was in high school, and since I mostly brought my own lunch I don't remember too much about them. On the other hand the things I do remember are french fries (good french fries mind you, although generally ordered awash in bad gravy), which were consumed in vast quantities by pretty much all present , and Margaret's chocolate "creme" doughnuts, which were the fakest things in creation, and of which I was inordinately fond. So not exactly a golden age of yore. However, I'm pretty sure that besides the french fries there were usually a couple of choices for main dishes, and vegetables and salads were on offer, if not enthusiastically received.

Anyway, those of you who do have kids going to public school these days: what are their school lunches like?

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