Surreal media blitz

The past two weeks have been pretty exciting for the blog. Two weeks ago I was interviewed for AOL Health and that article was featured on Yahoo!’s homepage. Um, Hi new readers!

Then last week I was interviewed by Juju Chang and featured on Good Morning America (GMA). Juju Chang flew out to Chicago to interview little old me about the blog. She is a very competent journalist. You know, we talked for 40 minutes and the clip they selected was only 5 minutes! You can read the story and watch the video here. I was ambivalent about doing the interview, but I’m happy I did it. But part of why I agreed to do the interview is that I believe that this cause is most likely more important than me. And to keep my nerves in check, I kept myself anonymous.

AND the next day Jamie Oliver called me! His publicist had emailed me wanting my phone number the previous week. Wouldn’t you know it – he actually called me. We chatted for 20 minutes about his experience with school lunches and also what I have been up to. Jamie is a passionate advocate for children’s school food and their health. I’m not going to detail what we talked about because it wasn’t an interview, but instead a deep discussion about school lunches and what the US is up against. It was a high point for me and the blog.

Let me recap last week:
Tuesday – Juju Chang interviews me
Wednesday – Jamie Oliver calls me
Thursday – Interview airs on GMA

Wow. When Juju and I were talking, she called me “an accidental blogger” (I don’t think that comment made it on air). I think that’s an accurate description, but maybe it should be revised to “lucky blogger, accidental activist.” You know, the longer I eat the lunches, the more convinced I am that change needs to happen.

I thought that after the GMA interview the traffic to the blog would skyrocket and I’d never get any sleep because of all the email. Maybe a slight bump-up, but not like that Yahoo exposure. I’m relieved because I’m having a hard time managing all of this as it is!

The joke around my house is that I just got my 15 minutes of fame, but completely anonymously. And I’m fine with that. It’s the cause that needs the attention not me.

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68 thoughts on “Surreal media blitz”

  1. I am so glad you're doing this. I am very hopeful that in our district, the lunches are getting better all the time. But my kids still like the ones I make way better than the ones they serve at school. The elementary school where my younger son attends has just planted a garden though, and they intend to use the produce in the cafeteria. I think that's great, and I hope the kids will eat it. Thanks again for all the great attention you're bringing to this issue. Take a look at the website for the nonprofit that's funding the garden at our elementary school…maybe there's an idea there for your district.

    http://healthyfoodsforhealthykids.giving.officelive.com/default.aspx

  2. Congratulations! As a high school teacher and a mother of two elementary kids, I believe your cause (or I should say "our cause" — our nation's cause) is one worthy and in need of the attention. Keep it up!

  3. Mrs. Q. You said, "When Juju and I were talking, she called me "an accidental blogger" (I don't think that comment made it on air)."

    YES, ACCIDENTAL BLOGGER DID make the air. I remember because I really liked the phrase.

  4. I agree that in some ways, being anonymous makes it more powerful because its all about the food.

    Its an interesting dichotomy tho.

    All food and cuisine is personal.

    It becomes us.

    We watch the photos of what you eat and we read your thoughts and thats very personal!

    Food becomes anonymous when made by enormous concerns like McD and WalMart and centralized school lunch programs.

    But it becomes personal again when we eat it.

    We as parents know about this either consciously or on some deeper inarticulate level.

    You could go on with those sorts of analogies!

    Obviously what you are doing is EXACTLY what needs to be … I am so glad that Oliver appreciates your work and chatted with you. He needs to hear your perspective here in the US, from the inside.

    His experience in the UK is, by definition, different than here, good to know he is still engaged in making that experience transition across the pond.

  5. I was so very excited to hear that you were on TV!
    Glad to see you had the link on your web site, my internet went down 2 mins before you segment came on! Keep up the great work, I know it is getting harder for you! We need change in our school lunches!
    My children do not even eat them, their choice.

  6. way to go lady! Congratulations! It's great to see people picking up your work!
    I'm using your blog in my college course and we're all rooting for you πŸ™‚

  7. hey there – would love to be a guest blogger one day … i work as an accountant in a school district in NJ … our lunches are generally fabulous! I can show the difference between your lunches and ours …. drop me a note if you're interested. (we'll be on spring break from Friday through next Wednesday)

  8. Wow, lucky you!! You got to speak to Jamie Oliver!! I love him!! ^^ What he's doing is really important, and I'm glad that you're taking credit for contributing to the same cause with your blog, Mrs Q =) It's fantastic to see that nutrition is more and more in the spotlight every day ^^

  9. I can't believe Jamie Oliver called you!!! That's awesome! Good work with the blog!

  10. Good for you Mrs. Q!!!

    Don't worry about losing that job. Your school district would be nuts to lose you and your passion for kids' well being!

  11. Mrs Q, IMHO I think Jamie is great he is committed to the cause, is doing great things, but you are REAL. It is evident in the sacrifices you are making(health,financial security, time etc)without the millions in pay. You are the REAL hero!! You Rock, and Congrats!

  12. As a dietitian who used to teach nutrition education to elementary students in low income communities, I applaud your efforts! And if you're worried about losing your job- don't. There's no doubt that this experience is going to open a new door for you. Just wait and see. Seriously? Jamie Oliver AND GMA? You're right on track…

  13. I came to your blog after watching GMA. They only briefly mentioned the blog name, otherwise I think more people would have found it. πŸ˜‰
    The lunches you are eating are very similar to those I had in elementary school. I was young, starving by lunchtime, and didn't have very refined taste. I loved them. πŸ™‚ They got better when I got to middle school and high school. We actually had salad bars and fresh cooked food.

  14. So let me get this straight. People are actually complaining about school lunches now? Why can't you people just be thankful that out country offers that and that your not starving. I am sure anyone person that is hungry would be more then willing to eat any of this "horrible food" without a single complaint. This blog and all its supporters could not be more ungrateful.

    For the people that need an eye opener everyone on here

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_KCr-PB4Gx7M/SPvZwFObEWI/AAAAAAAAAQw/U6y7C0Juzd8/s400/ha-011-2007.jpg

    Then complain about what food you have. You are all sick

  15. To the person who is angry that we are complaining about food.

    The purpose of food is to nourish you. For the first time in history, American's have a generation of young people who will have a life expectancy shorter than their parents. This is larger due to our unhealthy food.

    We are not a Third World nation.

    The purpose of school is to teach our children.

  16. When your year is up, it will be interesting to see how much money you have spent buying the current school fare, compared to what healthier choices could have been bought with that same amount of money. For example, simple peanut butter on whole grain bread has to cost less than that pre-packaged "PBJ Graham Cracker." (Although, in my district, peanut butter would never make it on the menu due to so many food allergies.)

  17. @Jenn I sure hope for your soul that your scrapbook comment was not directed towards my comment. Because if it was I hope you seek forgiveness from whatever God you may or may not believe in because you will go to hell.

    @Prof. Cricket I obviously understand the purpose of food. And you said it yourself the purpose of school is to teach our children. Not make sure the have 5 star quality food.

    I personally feel that we should take on a true issue which is world hunger I am a strong advocate that we need to take care of our own before we save the world. But there are plenty homeless people in out own country that need help with food water and shelter. how about people focus on helping others that truly need it before we start complaining of what types of food we are eating be happy you have a meal simple as that.

  18. Mrs. Q, I found you from the Yahoo article, and let me just say – YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!! I have 2 young children that aren't in school yet, so I never paid much attention. Well, you have opened my eyes to this issue! I do hope that one day you can shed your anonymity and get the credit that you truly deserve to bringing this issue to light for those of us that were in the dark!

    To the person that is angry – you must not have kids. Poor children should not suffer because their parents can't feed them healthy foods. School is supposed to be a safe place to learn about life – what are we teaching our kids when they eat nothing but processed foods? That is why we have the health problems we have – our society has become lazy about the food we put into out bodies.

  19. @Krista Your an idiot

    "Poor children should not suffer because their parents can't feed them healthy foods."

    what about the poor children who cant eat because there parents cant afford food

  20. I've been following from before the spree occured from Yahoo, but your point is crystal clear to me. Keep up the incredible work – I hope one day you're able to be commended publicly for your work and your school is positive to what your goal is. Good food for our children. My grandmother was a school cook from the 60's to the mid 80's and I think she would roll-over in her grave if she knew what we are feeding OUR children in schools!

  21. @Anonymous
    I'm the idiot? School lunch programs are in place for the poor children who can't eat because their parents can't afford food at home. For many of these kids, the food they get at school is the ONLY FOOD THEY GET! So we should be feeding them crap? Come on!

  22. I would be way more excited to get the call from Jamie Oliver – he's great! Love his approach to food.

  23. Mrs. Q.,
    Let me start by saying you are doing an awesome job! You're shining a spotlight and that's the starting point for change. I would suggest, though, to save your sanity and your time, that you should hire an intern! I know it might be risky with the anonymity, but you may be able to reach out to a local university with a communications/media department and find a student to work several hours a week to help you manage your increasing feedback. It could be volunteer, or if you work it right, the school might offer the student school credit. Just a thought, and keep up the good work!
    Best,
    Kathryn

  24. I love this blog. I was a substitute teacher in a K-12 school and I was SHOCKED with what the kids were given to eat. White bread, canned fruit and a hotdog were frequent. I usually worked in very low income/high free lunch schools. Sometimes, the school meal was the only thing the kids had to eat that day, and it's not a good meal, few nutrients, high salt, high fat…it's heartbreaking.

  25. I just came across this blog and I think what you are doing great. Your school lunch is pretty similar to what we had as kids, except I always packed my own lunch. Even as a 6 year old my sandwiches tasted better than cafeteria food!
    Good luck!

  26. Thanks for doing this project! I love to read what you write. Reading this blog has made me more aware of what my own children are eating at school. My husband and I have been having discussions lately of sending lunch with the kids, but I wondered if that would be wise, "would I make a better lunch?"
    Yesterday I ate lunch with my 2nd grader for her birthday. It was Turkey noodle soup, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, peaches and strawberries in syrup, and any sandwich: P.B. and J., Tuna with pickle relish mixed in, or Grilled Cheese. All on wheat bread, but all in plastic wrappers. Not so sure of that.
    I'm really considering trying to make sure they have something healthy to eat. Gosh, it's an awful lot to decide how to make sure they are eating healthy. My 2nd grader ate the grilled cheese, left the soup, and only a couple of veggies. Oh, don't forget the cookie they handed out.
    Ogden, UT

  27. Hi! I know you are getting totally clobbered with lots of emails, so I will try to make this brief. I found your blog quite by accident several weeks ago and I'm totally hooked! We homeschool our children, so school lunches were not something I ever gave much thought to, but after watching Jamie's show and reading your blog, its become a passion of mine.
    After reading your post the other day about being burned out, I immediately began wondering if it had to do with not receive sufficient nutrients throughout the day. I knokw you eat quite well the rest of the day, but our mid day meal is imperative as well. I would like to introduce you to green smoothies. I am blogging about them for the year of 2010, and they are a fabulous nutrient packed meal supplement that you can take along into your classroom in a thermos to counter some of the processed foods you are eating.
    I think you are doing a wonderful thing for our children and I applaud your efforts!! Keep up the fantastic work!

  28. That sounds like a busy, fun week. That had to be awesome to get to talk to Jamie Oliver!! Keep up the good work!

  29. Hello I found your blog by accident and I love it. I am so glad you are doing this for our kids and parents. My little one is going to start pre-k this year I have always told my husband that our children will take their lunch to school. Our family is try to change the way we eat. We eat junk food at times but I want to give our children a fighting chance. So they wont be addicted to sugar or salt just because I did not want to spend the time and money to give them the food they need to be healthy. Thank You! πŸ™‚

  30. I am so not surprised Jamie Oliver contacted you! As I was watching his show about the Food Revolution, all I could think of was your lovely blog. Congratulations! Looks like your hard work of choking down school lunches is beginning to pay off! πŸ˜€

  31. I found your blog by accident and immediately added to the feeds I see every day. I love it. I recently started reading more about actual food and nutrition and my family has completely rethought how we buy groceries. The next thing on the list is packing more lunches for my kids and having them buy less in order to make sure they eat a healthy lunch. It is unfortunate how little nutrition their school's lunches appear to have. It is so good to see so much focus turning to this subject all around!

  32. Just to play devil's advocate, not everyone is happy with the way that Jamie Oliver is targeting people "to make them healthier" on his show. I am all for making food healthy, but there is a community of people out there that believe that "healthy" is sometimes equated with "not fat." Mrs. Q, I believe, has the right idea with wanting to provide good food FOR ALL, but sometimes Jamie Oliver stoops to picking on the people he is "helping" and demonizing them.

    http://bigfatblog.com/

    Anyway, it's an interesting blog, and it could open people's eyes about how the U.S. sometimes views "health."

  33. I've been following since this was on the Yahoo homepage! As a teacher, I have seen everything you are putting in your body firsthand and I give you credit. There are some things that I just don't think I could ingest! Congrats on all of the fame…enjoy it b/c you are doing something important!

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