Day 30: pasta

Today’s menu: pasta with meat sauce, breadstick, green beans, orange, milk (not pictured)

I really savored the pleasure of a hot meal today. There was something satisfying about eating steaming food and feeling it go down my throat. The weather was crappy and having hot lunch was deeply comforting. Sometimes it just feels good to eat even when (or because) you don’t have a choice in meals. I’m zen about it.

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21 Responses to Day 30: pasta

  1. Hippie Family... February 23, 2010 at 2:27 am #

    at first glance, that looked like raw hamburger..

  2. Anonymous February 23, 2010 at 2:48 am #

    Was it easy for the kids to peel the orange? Also, is that a hambuger sitting on top of the pasta?

  3. kate February 23, 2010 at 2:52 am #

    i really like your blog.

    when i was in grade school, we didn't have school lunches. mom packed it, i ate it, the adults knew what was good for me, i didn't think about it.

    when i got to high school we did have hot lunches, and i sort of had the same mentality…"if the school's giving it to me, it's probably not that bad, especially since theyre teaching us to eat right in health class".

    schools need to realize that they "teach" via the cafeteria and what they allow students to consume as well.

  4. Holly Jahangiri February 23, 2010 at 6:20 am #

    When I was in grade school, I'm pretty sure the "lunch ladies" actually COOKED the lunches right there, on the premises. And they were GOOD, too. My favorites were "tuna wiggle" (basically, tuna noodle casserole and much like Stouffer's) and "Apple Brown Betty" ( http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/apple-brown-betty-recipe/index.html – for those who've never heard of it). We ate well – and yes, it was a PUBLIC school.

  5. Holly Jahangiri February 23, 2010 at 6:21 am #

    P.S. Milk was three cents, and usually came out of the cooler with slivers of ice in it, it was so cold.

  6. Cindy February 23, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    I grew up in the US and mostly went to Catholic schools, but I attended a public elementary school in Pennsylvania back during the Carter Administration. School lunches for our school were cooked in the central kitchen at the city high school and sent out in styrofoam "hot boxes" — but at least they were cooked locally, and by humans, not machines.

    Now I live in Norway. The school cafeteria here is a new idea, usually found only in secondary schools, and intended as an option for those who did not bring their lunch, not as a way of feeding the whole student body. From time to time politicians make noise about serving a hot lunch to every pupil, but the cost of putting a kitchen in every school always kills that idea fairly quickly.

    My kids, however, love the idea. Or did. I've shared some of the pictures on this blog with them and their enthusiasm has cooled a bit. Younger Son has said he'd still like to have a hot school lunch, but only if the lunch ladies cook like me!

    And the funny thing is, I'm commenting this under an entry that looks like one of the BETTER lunches so far. Everything is recognizable and there's even a whole piece of fruit. But my kids agree, they'd still rather have a packed lunch than that….

  7. ale February 23, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    go! mrs q! go!

  8. Anonymous February 23, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

    What I see is perplexing. Frankly, I struggle to understand how you can eat things like that.
    An Italian.

  9. Jennifer @ OrangePolkaDot February 23, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

    What a great blog!

    Before we moved to Spain last year, we lived in California and I was very concerned about the school lunches as she was to enter kindergarten. It has been interesting to see what the Catalan/Spanish children eat for school lunch. Very impressive.

    This summer, I spent 6 weeks in the nursery classroom of both my children, before my daughter entered 1st grade in the fall. Hot lunch was made on site with 3 courses. Packed lunches were brought with little bottles of olive oil to drizzle their salad or soup first course. I have checked school lunch menus at many schools to compare. Seems that the school lunch menus could easily be the menu of a typical Catalan restaurant! I wrote a blog about it here: http://ow.ly/1aleG

  10. jeff February 23, 2010 at 7:23 pm #

    Interesting – as you get further and further into this, you seem more accepting of the food. Although to be honest, it appears you've pretty much always like pasta day.

    I know that in the schools I grew up in, originally all the cooking was done in the high schools and then distributed down to the middle and elementary schools that fed to them (not in styrofoam, usually in big metal pans transported in rolling "hot boxes"), but sometime in the last 25 years they went to the central kitchens for the whole district concept and turned the old kitchen space into classrooms in the high schools.
    I don't know what effect that had on food quality, but I doubt it was a positive one.

  11. Anonymous February 23, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

    I work as a School Nurse in Illinois (K-5), and a few years back we all had to have "Wellness" policies in our schools, that specifically addressed empty calories and "balanced" meals. Now we have 5 choices a day, one always being salad, one always PBJ…I do get nutritional breakdowns because I have diabetics who eat school lunch. We are lucky that we have a company (Sodexo) do our lunches, not school employees. That being said, we don't have many high fiber options (ave. amount 1 g per serving), we lots of processed food (one popular one..chicken nuggets -20 gm fat), and even though empty calories are not supposed to be served during we have Otis Spunkmeyer cookies baked fresh every day (45 g carbs each). One kid favorite that made a comback this year is Bosco Stick ( 60 g Carb and a whopping 31 g fat!!)

    Following our policy has been more of a box-checking activity rather than taking a good long look at serving healthy foods!

    My dream? Have a garden that actually produces foods for the kids here…but in reality, against the rules to prepare non-Sodexo foods in the kitchen unless you pay someone to "supervise".

  12. Mel February 23, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    I agree with some of the other posters! Growing up even 10 years ago we had people cooking our foods, but it was all highly processed junk anyway. Empty calories. And I agree I think I was thinking if it's here, it must be ok for me.

    This is definitely part of the obesity problem and it stems from a lack of education.

  13. bentoMakingMelissa February 23, 2010 at 10:58 pm #

    It does seem that you become more accepting of the school lunches the longer you are eating them. Do you think so too?
    Or are you being more PC and postive about them because of the fear you have over your employment? 🙂

    I hate that little children are given a whole hunking piece of fruit like that. That is so unwieldy and difficult for kids to deal with. Oranges were sliced when I was in elementary school. I can't imagine how many of those whole oranges are going straight to the trash cans without being eaten at all.

    Is there lunch staff on hand to help the kids peel oranges? Do you know if the kids are taking the effort to peel them themselves?

  14. Corey February 23, 2010 at 11:25 pm #

    Are you also documenting your health changes??? I was teaching, and pregnant. So I ate school lunces everyday. I gained approprate weight. I can't imagine what would happen if I did it while not pregnant.
    Side note: My high school had a "pay by the lbs." bar. Salad, make your own sandwiches. I was great!

  15. Notorious Nick February 23, 2010 at 11:40 pm #

    The butter with the beans is nasty. I'll have to post this one at What's for School Lunch?

  16. Anonymous February 24, 2010 at 12:08 am #

    I'm sure this was unintentional, but I got a laugh out of this site being blocked by my school district's network! Had to look you up at home.

    I teach in a VA elementary school, and I get so tired of hearing the "good food" speech and then seeing what they eat in the cafeteria. We are supposed to tell our parents not to bring in cupcakes or cookies for their child's birthday because children are too fat. But then they serve garlic bread as a main course for lunch, and corndogs and chicken nuggets and have ice cream and snacks available for purchase every day. I'm thinking it's better for the kids to have an occasional treat for a classmate's birthday than to eat this stuff day in, day out.

    I applaud your courage to eat school lunch every day. I couldn't do it!

  17. Peejay February 24, 2010 at 11:06 pm #

    I think it's great that these kids are offered a hot meal, but white pasta has so few redeeming qualities (besides the taste!). They could easily serve wheat pasta or something similar and not sacrifice taste but give the kids something healthier…

  18. Anonymous February 25, 2010 at 3:36 am #

    Peel kids' oranges? Back in 1976, I was a lunch aide at an elementary school. I opened a lot of snack pacs (peaches and pudding in a can with a pull tab lid (don't lick that!). My favorite activity was when kids would come up and say, "Mr. B, could you start my orange?" I'd make like I was turning an ignition key and go, "rrrrrrrrr….. vroom!" It always got a big laugh. I crack myself up.

  19. middle schooler in texas March 17, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    Yum, pasta. I don't think you could ever go wrong with pasta.

  20. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    Cindy brings up an interesting point, in Norway they don't even offer school lunches. Put just a little responsibility back on the parents. How hard is it to slap a sandwich together? Throw in a piece of fruit? Tell your child to eat it and not throw it away!

  21. Phil March 19, 2010 at 2:52 am #

    Why is the little breadstick in a package? Lame.

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