Today’s menu: chicken parmesan, garlic bread, peas/carrots blend, (red) applesauce, (milk – not pictured as I’m lactose-intolerant for those new to the blog)
Today I guess I’m like Gene Autry strumming a guitar singing “Back in the saddle again.” He’s got a horse and I’ve got a spork!
The garlic bread and the peas/carrots were fine. I couldn’t eat the entire chicken parmesan patty. That’s because this summer I saw this picture of mechanically separated chicken (gross!). When I bit into the chicken patty, it wasn’t a chicken patty. It was this spongy stuff cleverly disguised with crumbs and slightly burnt sauce as chicken. I took a close up of the the patty so you can see the inside:
The red applesauce was something else. I would normally eat it, but I just couldn’t take more than a sporkful. Can you taste red dye? Because it really tasted different than applesauce I would eat at home. Sweeter in a way. I guess we do buy the unsweetened, organic version at home (because apples are one of the foods you should buy organic). I couldn’t eat anymore. Normally I’m not a waster, but I am in this case…
How did the kids do after this meal? Well, actually everyone seemed scared straight. It’s a big day, there’s a lot of “new” and all the kids are trying to feel out a new environment. Plus they didn’t get a lot of time to eat it. Lunch is 20 minutes including lining up and things were moving slow today. Guessing from stains I saw on some kids’ shirts I would say they drank chocolate milk, ate applesauce and the garlic bread. Maybe a couple bites of chicken patty…
I feel lucky to live in a country that provides free lunch to needy, hungry children. I haven’t said that before, but I believe it. Many poor countries cannot afford to even educate their children and here in the US we provide a free education (and lunch) for anyone even children with special needs. It’s one of the things that makes America as great as it is. “Rags to riches” is part of the mythology of America and it’s built on an American education.
I came from immigrants. My great-great-grandmother sold fish on the street and my grandfather (now age 90) would tease her about it by yelling “fresh fish!” The GI bill sent my grandpa to college and it changed his life and the lives of his three children. Education is everything.
Theses lunches nutritionally “check the box” and empty tummies get at least partially full of calories. I just wish our country could do better: more fresh food and less processed “stuff,” more time to eat, and a little nutrition/cooking education thrown in. It’s time to re-imagine school lunch and value it as a legitimate part of the school day.