Day 107: hot dog

Today’s menu: hot dog, whole wheat buns, fries, fruit cup

I ate the hot dog. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with a hot dog. (Edited: I don’t think there is something wrong with eating the occasional hot dog during the summer. Hot dogs are processed foods and should be eaten in moderation.) Oddly I think of hot dogs as a “seasonal” food: it’s something I only eat over the summer or if I’m at a baseball game. Note: I did not eat a hot dog this summer for what it’s worth. Outside of school I am eating healthier than I ever have before in my life and I expect it to continue well after I stop eating school lunch.

It’s really hard for me to eat a hot dog is when it’s the winter. It just feels wrong to look outside and see snow while taking a bite from a hot dog. It is also difficult to eat a lunch like the one above when I’m sick. Thankfully I have finally gotten over my latest terrible illness so I choked everything down.

The fries are best described as “flat.” They disintegrated into mush in my mouth. Thank goodness for ketchup. I drank the fruit cup just like the kids do.

Indeed!

The first part of this week I was at a conference and so I didn’t eat school lunch. It was a transformative experience that I’m still processing. I’ll probably do some kind of a wrap-up in the future…way in the future.

***

Thanks for the interesting comments about my dad’s “devil’s advocate” viewpoint. He’s a quirky man. I chatted with him about his email on the phone tonight and he clearly still doesn’t get it. However, what I have found with him is that his brain needs to “marinate” new ideas. I can’t expect him to change right away. I’ll keep up updated.

***

Recently a follower on Twitter alerted me to an article: Lunch Ladies Fight Back. The article has two parts. The first part takes quotes from a speech by Ms. Hayes (School Meals that Rock) who guest blogged in June. Ms. Hayes blasts Jamie Oliver saying he did it for his celebrity and also says that chocolate milk “has a little extra sugar” and so she’s for chocolate milk in schools. Her speech was given to school nutrition directors, kitchen managers and cooks.

Didn’t Jamie Oliver already achieve celebrity status prior to launching “food revolution?” I don’t see how he had any real incentive to take on a school lunch “food revolution” as he already had TV shows and cookbook sales to live off of. He could have just continued doing what he was doing, which was going quite well for him.

The case against chocolate milk is clear cut: 8 oz chocolate milk = 8 oz white milk + 3 tsp sugar. Added up over the course of a school year that is 5 lbs of fat. Ms. Hayes argues that low-fat chocolate milk makes it ok. But extra sugar makes you fat because the extra glucose is processed by the liver, turned into fatty acids, and then stored as adipose (fat) tissue around your middle. Extra glucose also = extra insulin. As a parent I’d be really upset to learn that my kid drank chocolate milk every day at school. Chocolate is a special treat only. What’s wrong with white milk anyway?

In the second part, Ms. Houston a director of food services from Corpus Christie said “Tray Talk” from the School Nutrition Association (who also guest blogged) is a great counter balance to Fed Up With Lunch. Ms. Houston called my blog “quite negative.”

Alrighty, well, I guess ya’ll have been reading the blog!

About the lunch ladies fighting back? Against what? me? I love my friends/coworkers who are lunch ladies. They are sweet and kind to me and the students every day. They need to be valued! The quality of school lunches is not a reflection of them. We’re in this one together.

I did recently get an email from a reader who told me that reading my blog did make her depressed and would I please write a positive post? I told her I would and I’m working on something. However, on a daily basis it’s hard to jazz up the blog posts. This is grim reality through my eyes. My students and I are eating those meals. Who is ready to join us and eat up? I think I hear crickets…

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50 Responses to Day 107: hot dog

  1. Andy Bellatti September 17, 2010 at 3:24 am #

    The milk issue is particularly interesting b/c it reinforces the stereotype that "calcium = milk and ONLY milk" (which no doubt the Dairy Council loves). Countries with super low osteoporosis rates consume almost no dairy products. In most countries (for example, my home country of Argentina), the notion of drinking milk w/a meal is foreign (pardon pun).

  2. Tacomamama September 17, 2010 at 3:40 am #

    I don't see how your blog is any kind of slam on the lunch ladies. As you can easily tell from the pictures, they do not have the opportunity to actually cook any of the food.

  3. Elizabeth September 17, 2010 at 4:44 am #

    Your blog makes someone feel depressed? Really? You keep me so informed… and I'm proud to say that THANKS TO YOUR BLOG, my 6yo brings his own lunch to school every. single. day. And he loves it! Instead of mushy nuggets and flat fries, he's asking for a hard-boiled egg and cherry tomatoes. You don't depress me… you motivate me to make what changes *I* can make for my own family.

  4. Nilpferd September 17, 2010 at 6:28 am #

    I don't see why anybody could come up with the idea that you are fighting against lunch ladies? It was statet more than once in this blog that you don't blame them, no, that you respect them for what they are doing.

    But I guess that is what you get if you want to change the system. And with every bit more attention you get, more skeptics and critics will come forth.

    Just hang in there, because I think you are fighting for a good cause!

  5. Lunch Buckets September 17, 2010 at 7:20 am #

    I don't think I've commented before but I do think that's the saddest lunch I've ever seen. And I love hot dogs!

    I wish I had a picture of my face when I found out that my FIRST GRADER was allowed to choose his lunch every day and that pizza and chicken nuggets were among the choices every.single.day.

    And then they told me that kids have to actually ASK for the fruits and vegetables but the giant barrel full of pretzels and goldfish and DONUTS was sitting there for them to grab.

    And THEN I found out about the beverages. Chocolate, strawberry or caramel milk AND 4 ounces of juice in a box (which was always frozen solid) or 8 ounces of "fruit drink" or heck, all three if they wanted.

    To shorten a too long story, nothing changed, except me.

  6. Ed Bruske September 17, 2010 at 11:04 am #

    Ms. Hayes is perfectly aligned with the diary industry and corporate food processors who love the idea of lunch ladies "fighting back" for the right to serve unhealthy, sugar-laced food in cafeterias. But we and our federal government are also to blame for allowing the financing of school meals to fall to badly behind standards that require a certain level of calories in kids' meals that can only achieved by adding cheap sugar products to the menu. In fact, we could be teaching kids to drink plain milk, rather than taking the quick and easy route of feeding them sugar. That's what Ms. Hayes is missing. Her argument is pernicious, but sadly not at all uncommon.

  7. Rachel September 17, 2010 at 11:17 am #

    Ditto. I see a lot more compassion for lunch ladies and not finger pointing in this blog. I've not found it "too" negative or even mostly negative.

  8. Beth Partin September 17, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    I don't think your blog is depressing; I think school lunches are depressing. I remember in the 1970s that we ate a lot of pizza and pasta; they also tried to make us eat that nasty steamed spinach that looked exactly like a green turd on the plate. The biggest change since then is packaging: the food used to be slopped onto hard plastic trays; now it's all in disposable containers.

  9. Philippa September 17, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    I'm totally with you on the milk, Mrs Q. Chocolate milk has slightly more sugar than cola, and most people are in agreement that children shouldn't be drinking cola for lunch.

    I have seen on many occasions with my own eyes that children *will* drink white milk when it is offered. It's when there's a flavoured milk on offer next to the white milk that 99% of children choose the sweetened flavoured one.

  10. witchywoman September 17, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    First, I'd like to really commend you on your dedication to this blog. I've been following it with great interest since last school year. I don't find this blog depressing at all, rather, I do find it very informative and well written. That being said, I have to also commend you on taking a stand against this so-called "food" that is being served to children…it's rather disturbing! I am thankful that I don't have kids in school and I don't have to deal with this issue. My husband has squamous cell carcenoma on his vocal chord…I wonder if the government, who I assume is the entity that dictates what is to be served, whether at the federal or local level, realizes that too much sugar intake can lead to this sort of cancer? Of course, there are several things that can factor into cancer, but, specifically sugar. This is rather disturbing to me to find that there is a choice of chocolate or white milk. I agree with you…chocolate is a treat! In reading your blog, it is disheartening to find that these health issues are not factored into the menu. I write a cooking blog and, believe me, with the internet these days, it is not hard to do 10 minutes worth of research and come up with healthier alternatives. Your hands are tied, and I just wanted to comment and let you know that I really appreciate the time and effort you have put into this project.

  11. Anonymous September 17, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    Well, duh, it's negative! Mrs. Q is bringing a NEGATIVE aspect of schoolchildrens' lives to the forefront! Don't like it? Don't read it! What Mrs. Q is doing is working hard to turn a NEGATIVE into a POSITIVE! In order to do that, she has to demonstrate how negative this issue really is! It's detrimental to childrens health and is causing obesity here in the US. Thank you, Mrs. Q for doing what others are too chicken to do and stepping out and speaking up!

  12. Anonymous September 17, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    I was wondering if your school offers water (and not just the sip you get from a drinking fountain- a whole glass) as a lunch beverage option. I'm not sure that I agree with getting rid of chocolate milk if the only options are really bitter orange juice or white milk… when I was a kid I would have dehydrated myself instead of drinking either. My mom packed me a thermos of cold water so I'd have something I was willing to drink.

  13. Shannon September 17, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    Wow, that picture is awful. Where is the color? It's like an old sepia toned shot, lol!

    I think I'm the person who said I got depressed. Can I explain what I meant? Cuz I'm sure it's not just me.

    I really enjoy this blog, but sometimes, in the healthy eating world in general, I think people focus on what is wrong and don't do as much to tell you what to do. I was just saying that a post every now and then to do things such as share tips for healthy cooking and lunch packing or more posts (and there have already been some!) highlighting schools that are doing *good* would really feel good. I think we 100% need to know what is wrong, but it also helps to talk about what can be done so people don't get overwhelmed.

    All that was not a slam of this blog but a suggestion to have a bit more of what has already been done; positive posts about healthy eating done right.

  14. Ms.T September 17, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    Mrs. Q, you are doing a wonderful job with this blog. You put your own health at risk with every school lunch, which may be served by wonderful lunch ladies but is mandated by others who are contributing to the poor health and nutrition of our students. Keep shining a bright light on this subject and keep the conversation going.

    As for the hot dog, well, if you have ever looked at what hot dogs are made of and what kinds of chemicals go into them, you might decide they aren't worth eating. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_dog We stopped having hot dogs when my daughter started getting severe headaches after eating one. Seriously haven't missed them. 🙂

  15. Viki September 17, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

    I am against flavored milk in the schools because of the HFCS. Of course I think if they are going to serve milk it should be whole milk because at least it would fill children up with something good.

    I wont go into the whole hotdogs are gross post I had planned. Just think of the the mechanically processed chicken paste that looked like strawberry soft serve…hotdogs come from the same sort of mess. YUCK.
    My kids won't eat them. I didn't even have to point that out, they just don't like hotdogs.

    That meal should have had something green…a salad might have been nice. It bothers me that you and the children slurp the fruit cup down like a drink. I don't know why.

  16. Anonymous September 17, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    I highly doubt that is a "whole wheat bun." It might look like one, but I bet the ingrediants would indicate otherwise.

  17. Jeff Gauch September 17, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    "What's wrong with white milk anyway?"

    Simple. Some people (like myself) cannot stand it. The very smell is revolting. I enjoy any other dairy product: ice cream, yogurt, cheese, and chocolate milk. If chocolate milk wasn't available when I was in school I would simply not drink anything with lunch and forgo all the vitamins and minerals.

    3 tsp of sugar equals 45 calories, which an adult will burn of in 10 minutes of walking. I think your school's decision to not have recess is a bigger factor in obesity than the availability of chocolate milk.

  18. Another Josh September 17, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    Several of the local school districts in my area are removing chocolate milk from the cafeterias, as I found out about in this article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/16/AR2010091606463.html

    I'm mixed on it. The article does put forth the theory that kids won't drink the non-chocolate milk, and that the 8 oz of chocolate milk is better than 0 oz of white milk. I mean, even Ms Q admits to not drinking the milk with her lunch(though for different reasons). The transition part is probably the hardest. Those kids starting school this year won't miss the chocolate milk. Those that have been drinking the chocolate milk, well, they'll need time to adjust.

  19. Kori September 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm #

    I can kind of see where the reader said Mrs. Q's blog may be negative. I think , for those of us who have read from the begining , negative can be a good description.
    Do I think it's Mrs. Q's fault entirely? No , absolutly not. However , I think that some of the issues have hit some sore spots with peolpe. I mean I know , for myself , I took my son and daughter out to Wendy's the other day for his birthday treat. The whole time , all I could think about was how all of "you guys" would be judging me for taking my children to fast food for a celebration.
    I don't think feeling that way is right. I think some of the posts , and "opinions" have been along the lines of finger pointing. All in moderation right? I mean that's really what we should be thinking….especially in times of "kiddies celebrations"
    On the other hand…Mrs. Q this is YOUR blog…so YOU have every right to voice how YOU feel. I just think sometimes..all of us need to step back a few inches and look at the big picture….not get off track and really focus on what this blog , and this mission are all about.

  20. Megan September 17, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    Mrs. Q, what do you think about chocolate milk as a way to get calcium into students who don't like regular milk? I didn't like regular milk as a kid but would happily drink chocolate milk, so chocolate milk it was. Of course, you might say that my parents could have tried harder to get me to drink regular milk.

    Andy's comment above is also interesting. I've always believed that milk was a good, potentially lowfat, source of calcium, and calcium was necessary. I'll have to research the countries with low osteoporosis rates.

    That lunch is truly sad. I suppose the fries count as a veggie? I have no objection to hot dogs and fries but believe they should be considered a treat meal, something OK to eat at a ball game or barbecue and not for every day. And they should be tasty! That hot dog and fries is to ballpark food what Little Debbie snack cakes are to dessert.

  21. Anonymous September 17, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    I wanted you to know that my family has decided to bring lunches from home this school year, in part because we really believe in home-cooked meals but also in part because what's on offer at the schools isn't that great. Your blog is bringing attention to the issue, and I'm so glad. I think our elementary school is making some good progress. They recently got the dishwasher fixed so they could get reusable plastic trays instead of styrofoam ones. There's a garden in the back of the school, so maybe it won't be long until there's some actual cooking happening there….

  22. Kim September 17, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    Mrs. Q, it puzzles me to hear you say that you are OK with eating hot dogs yet you won't eat a McDonald's burger. Why is one OK but not the other? In my mind, a hot dog is a mystery meat festival on a bun. I don't mean to advocate for McDonald's here nor do I mean to chastise anyone for eating a hot dog. I just want to understand the difference in your mind, Mrs. Q.

    I can understand why some people might find many of the posts on this blog to be depressing and my heart goes out to them. Depression is a terrible thing to struggle with for sure. I guess my reaction to reading the depressing info (not the least of which is seeing the photos of Mrs. Q's school lunches!), is that it energizes me to do something to change it. It's like a call to action for me. Mrs. Q is showing us the problem so we know (and can see) what needs to change. That's the first step in making any change.

  23. Jay September 17, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    I'm not a gardener so I am wondering how school's can maintain a school garden when school starts in September and ends in June. Is that a sufficent growing season? What happens to the garden during the summer when school's not in session?

  24. Basic Bento September 17, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    You lost me at "I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with a hot dog." =) I've always hated the taste, and most of them have icky ingredients as well.
    To the poster who would drink no white milk–that's okay. Milk isn't so important that it's worth adding the sugar and artificial ingredients for those kids who feel that way; water would be better.
    But also, unflavored milk varies widely in flavor; switching to a better brand (and a container that doesn't smell like paper) and keeping it very cold may help as much as adding sugar.

  25. Emily September 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    As a kid (at least in elementary and middle school) I loved cold skim white milk and would drink it over soda when given the choice at home. However it was different at school where it would, for the kindergardeners', sit outside of the door of the room for 5-15 mins in a milk crate until it was snack time…and who knows how long it had been out of the fridge before that. So I always choose chocolate milk because you couldn't taste the warm milk flavor as much. The same warmish milk in milk crates problem followed me though high school…I think if they invested in a way to keep the milk really cold like it should be getting kids to drink more white milk willingly wouldn't be as much of a problem.

    The commenter that posted about if the school offered water as an option brings up a good point. I never got why they didn't have glasses of water available. I know personally 4oz of juice was never enough liquid to eat my lunch with and I was always thirsty. I never can focus if I'm really dehydrated…I wonder if cold water was offered with reusable plastic cups (to avoid the broken glass issue) if grades and test scores would go up.

  26. Stef September 17, 2010 at 5:54 pm #

    I remember from elementary school that I was seemingly the only kid who chose plain milk over chocolate milk. I just didn't like chocolate milk much, or other chocolate things either. Every now and then I'd take chocolate milk if they were out of the plain. I think they usually had more of the chocolate "in stock".

    As an adult, my favorite thing to drink with a meal (if not an occasional beer or glass of wine) is water. I have liked water with meals since I was a kid, because I like the cool, palate-cleansing neutrality of it. Maybe that's why I liked plain milk more than chocolate (more neutral taste?), since water wasn't available. It would be nice if kids could get a glass of water with their lunches.

  27. SNA President Nancy Rice September 17, 2010 at 6:54 pm #

    Tray Talk (www.TrayTalk.org) was developed to show parents that schools across the nation, despite limited funding, are overcoming persistent stereotypes about school meals. Tray Talk does not defend any underperforming program that is failing to serve healthy, appetizing meals. Instead, Tray Talk shines a spotlight on the multitude of schools that are succeeding and encourages parents to get actively involved in their own local school meal programs.

    Schools are serving more fresh produce, whole grains, low fat dairy products (critical to long term bone health – http://tinyurl.com/38gme2t), and a diverse array of healthy choices in the lunch line. Many have launched school gardens (http://tinyurl.com/32a3aq8) or partnerships with local growers, implemented unique nutrition education programs (http://tinyurl.com/39ab3dd), and developed healthy recipes for foods that kids love to eat (http://tinyurl.com/2g4nalz). Additionally, numerous schools conduct regular taste testings with students to gather input on new and different healthy foods. Tray Talk just launched in August, but as the discussion continues, the site will continue to feature fresh success stories from school districts nationwide.

    Sadly, negative stereotypes about school meals drag down too many great school meal programs (and school nutrition professionals too). Even the most innovative programs struggle with low participation (http://tinyurl.com/2anwmjz), which impacts revenue levels critical for making further improvements to the menu. The work of school nutrition professionals to improve school meals should be celebrated, and their successes should be highlighted as an example for all school meal programs to emulate.

    School Nutrition Association President Nancy Rice, M.Ed., RD, LD, SNS

  28. Recess September 17, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

    It may sound depressing but this is what happens in our schools. At least now they give whole wheat buns. I only wish that more people were aware that it's national childhood obesity awareness month. We must change the minds of the controllers of the schools and stop blaming our school chef's who really have no control over the matter.

  29. Renee September 17, 2010 at 7:56 pm #

    I think the Tray Talk people might be protesting a bit too much. While it's very nice to see the small number of schools that are doing something good (and your blog has highlighted some of those as well), the majority of schools are still serving the yucky stuff. If all anyone reads is Tray Talk, they might think there is no problem –I'm wondering if that's what the Tray Talk people are trying to convince us of?

    About milk: I understand that there are people who don't like milk, and only find it palatable if it's flavored. But since there is way too much sugar in flavored milk, I think the choices should be regular milk or water. I would bet that many kids who don't like milk would happily drink water with lunch. Of course, the Dairy Industry would have a fit 🙂

  30. wordvixen September 17, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

    Has anyone else noticed that the "other side" seems to be spouting almost word for word what the dairy council says? I'm not saying that these women are paid off, but perhaps they're just a little too eager to believe studies and reports that make the status quo easier to maintain? Besides, the complaint about children not drinking white milk seems to leave out that the milk that is most likely offered is 1% ultra-pasteurized milk. Believe me when I say that the quality of the milk is what determines the desirability of the milk. Whole milk tastes better (to most people) than 1% milk does, and children need saturated fat for brain development (that trading fat for sugar comment peeved me off!), and UHT milk is cooked to oblivion and very hard to digest. Not only does it usually not taste as good as regular pasteurized or VAT (low temp) pasteurized, but the high temp cooks out almost all of the vitamins and enzymes, making it basically useless. Children tend to be more intuitive (and sometimes smarter than adults) and will avoid things that make them feel unwell. But UHT is shelf stable for 6-9 months, which makes it much more affordable, particularly as it doesn't need to be refrigerated until the school is about to set it out for the children. Cost effective? Yes. Desirable? No.

    I say, set out low fat and full fat milk as the options (even if you're anti-fat, you can't deny that 4 grams of fat- not all of which is saturated- isn't as bad as 3 tsp of sugar, particularly when lowering the fat content automatically raises the sugar content, even if it's naturally occurring sugar.) and make it VAT or regular pasteurized, and you'll have a lot more kids picking up the white milk than you think.

    And to make this comment longer, claiming that Jamie Oliver and Fed Up are negative is a bit silly. Without both of you, there would be very little conversation going on about school lunches OR general healthy eating habits, and without conversation, change does not happen. Processed foods are cheap and easy, and no one is going to buck the system unless they have a reason to. Out of sight, out of mind- we need to see the negative in order to bring about the positive. Besides, neither you nor Oliver are just sensationalist media persons. Both of you spend as much or more time discussing how to fix what's wrong as you do pointing out what's wrong. Both of you have influenced how I eat and how I feed my husband, and how I would like to feed my children when I have some. Thank you.

  31. Jay September 17, 2010 at 8:16 pm #

    My guess as to why water isn't provided in cafeterias is because it would require (1) providing bottled water or (2) a cup in which to dispense it. Number 1 requires storage space. Number 2 adds cost because you either need to wash the cup or provide disposable cups.

  32. Anonymous September 17, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    Regarding the lunch lady from Corpus Christi-

    I just moved from Corpus Christi and I can tell you, that it is one of the MOST unhealthy cities in the country. More than 70% of the population is classified as overweight or obese….now before people say, "That doesn't mean it's unhealthy…" Note this…Per capita, CC has the highest number of children who develop Type 2 diabetes (formerly called Adult Onset Diabetes) in the country; it's now not called Adult Onset because the numbers of children who are overweight and developing it are on the rise.

    Poor nutrition is an epidemic in that community, to the point that the Jr. League made fighting obesity and poor nutrition its mission-they have outreach programs to help make nutritious foods fun; some of the kids who came through the program had never eaten a blueberry or blackberry before! If they can't expect wholesome meals at school, where will they get it??

  33. DeborahK September 17, 2010 at 8:55 pm #

    Last week my 4 1/2 year old granddaughter started kindergarden. On the first day of school she came home and announced that she wanted to buy her lunch instead of taking it, because the kids who bought their lunch got chocolate milk. Oy. Basically, E. has given up drinking milk. She does get chocolate milk occasionally as a treat, but she will no longer drink regular cows milk at all. Her parents don't make a big deal of this, nor do they give her chocolate milk, instead.

    Her mother, my daughter, never drank cow's milk as a child. I nursed her until she was a year old, and even as an infant she refused anything made with cow's milk. She went her entire life until she was in her twenties without ever drinking a single glass of unflavored milk, though she would periodically try a sip to see if she had miraculously overcome her aversion to it. No such luck. Of course, she *loved* chocolate milk, but I refused to give it to her on a regular basis, tho' she did get it once in a while as a treat. I have recently been wondering if this was a mistake on my part and I worry now that she never got the requisite amount of calcium as child to insure her bone health in later life. She did eat a wide variety of dairy products other than milk, but I am not sure that these were adequate to meet her body's calcium needs. She was a very picky eater as a child, so it's not as if she was ingesting large amounts of calcium rich greens and such to make up the difference. I have always been categorically opposed to giving children flavored milk on a daily basis, just to get them to drink it. Now I am wondering if maybe I am wrong about this. I hate to think of a formerly plain milk drinking child being turned into a flavored milk drinking child by the easy availability of flavored milk. But for those kids who just will not drink plain milk, maybe it should be considered.

  34. Mrs. Q September 17, 2010 at 9:26 pm #

    Basic Bento: I edited the line about the hot dog. I should have written: I don't think there's something wrong with eating the occasional hot dog. They are processed and they are bad for you. Moderation is key.

    Then why do I hate McDonald's? They are a corporation and a system, not a food. I dislike processed food, but I really hate fast food companies who devote major bucks to advertising their crap.

  35. HenrysMom A2MI September 17, 2010 at 9:49 pm #

    Mrs. Q, keep up with all the negativity, won't you? I know it's hard, 'specially after eating that cheerful hotdog and the happy fries.

  36. Anonymous September 17, 2010 at 10:46 pm #

    What is the difference between McDonald's advertising for Egg Mcmuffins and Oscar Meyer advertising for their hot dogs? The majority of hot dogs are manufactured and advertised by major corporations and no more nutritionally sound than food found at McDs.

  37. Monica September 17, 2010 at 11:43 pm #

    Growing up, I never could understand why other people hated hot dogs so much. Hot dogs were my all-time favorite food ever when I was a kid. One of the best lunches my mom packed was a cold leftover hot dog (yes, cold!) from dinner the night before. The hot dogs I ate as a kid were not the gross, rubbery, tasteless boiled sticks of congealed meat extras that most people pass off as hot dogs. They were from an amazing local deli, and my mom always grilled or broiled them. Once that deli closed, we had to switch to the supermarket deli variety. I tried to eat one of those cold exactly once, and finally understood why the kids at school thought I was nuts! I still haven't found a hot dog that comes anywhere close to the ones I grew up eating – though packaged organic ones are passable if grilled. It's all about ingredient quality and preparation – even as a kid, I turned up my nose at school hot dogs.

    Also, thanks for the side view, Mrs. Q – I just noticed the irony of those little plastic containers. "Food for Thought!", indeed!

  38. Anonymous September 18, 2010 at 12:48 am #

    Make your posts happier? Last I checked, this was a bleak reality reflecting what was going on in the nation.

    You can't sugar coat every little thing. How will we learn if things are chronically watered down?

    That baffles me. Yeah it's depressing. It's the fact that it's depressing which motivates me. I'm sure 99% of your regular readers feel the exact same way. Outrage results in mobilization.

  39. Just a girl September 18, 2010 at 1:13 am #

    I was horrified to see one of the teachers in the workroom holding not plain white milk but vanilla milk. I didn't see what she got on her tray but she didn't drink the milk.

    I actually remember when there was no choice for milk when all you got was plain milk.

  40. Brooke September 18, 2010 at 2:12 am #

    Those fries look nasty. I don't recall ever eating tasty school lunch fries. They always tasted like they had been warmed up enough to not be frozen but never crispy. Or they were burnt. Gross. Not enough ketchup in the world to make them better.

  41. Anonymous September 18, 2010 at 2:35 am #

    No mammal in nature consumes milk past infancy, so I have a hard time believing that it's essential for humans to keep drinking milk – and not only milk, but some other mammal's milk – throughout our entire lives. Logically, if we're going to drink milk at all, it should be human milk, and I'm pretty sure the average adult would be grossed out by the idea of sitting down to a tall glass of that. Even if it were chocolate. 🙂

  42. Mrs. Q September 18, 2010 at 2:49 am #

    Chocolate human milk!? Yum! Thanks for the laugh!

  43. Justine September 18, 2010 at 3:30 am #

    I recently read somewhere that hotdogs contain carcinogens 🙁 but what doesn't cause cancer these days?

    Just Better Together

  44. Woolridge ES Green Club September 18, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    It isn't *necessary* to consume milk (ethically or nutritionally), but why do so many people come down so hard on those of us who choose to drink milk?

  45. Anonymous September 19, 2010 at 2:36 am #

    I've just started reading your blog on the recommendation of my daughter. I love the idea of it. I doubt I could do it though. I was never a fan of school lunches and that was back in the day when we had real plates, forks, spoons, even knives. I always bought the holiday lunch. And it was always the same, turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, milk, and a slice holiday themed cake. All for 39 cents. I am appalled at the school lunches now. And the fact that in my granddaughters schools they get less than half an hour for lunch and that includes the wait in line!

  46. Queenscook September 19, 2010 at 4:13 am #

    I wonder how many of you who think hotdogs are disgusting are thinking of, or indeed, have ever even had, an all-beef kosher hotdog. I keep kosher, so it's my only option, but I love them. Now I only eat them very occasionally because I greatly limit how much meat I eat generally, but when I do, I would never refer to them as rubbery, pasty, or some of the descriptions used here.

  47. Anonymous September 19, 2010 at 8:40 am #

    "It isn't *necessary* to consume milk (ethically or nutritionally), but why do so many people come down so hard on those of us who choose to drink milk? "

    I think it's the reverse – everyone and their uncle comes down on people whose children don't drink milk and tells them what terrible parents they are for not serving it with every meal. I still remember going to a pediatrician appointment when I was 8 or 9 and being asked by the doctor if I drank my milk every day – I honestly answered that I didn't drink milk at all, and then both my mother and I got lectured about how I wouldn't grow properly. Still embarrassing 30 years later, not to mention that it wasn't true, since I turned out taller than average.

  48. Anonymous September 19, 2010 at 8:41 pm #

    My daughter on her own been drinking skim milk in school and her school also has whole, 1%, strawberry, chocolate,and coffee. Do we need all thoose kinds? No! They have cold coolers for the milk, I don't like warm milk either.
    What makes me mad is that Water is the best thing for your body but schools don't offer it because it has 0 nurition facts on the bottles! I was surprised that my daughter said that they were giving free bottles of water at school. Might have been donated by Hannaford- was their brand. But I hope they start to offer water.
    Right now I'm trying to figure out how to make breakfast and lunch for my daughter (gets free lunch) because even though they have a salad bar their breakfasts are 450 cal and lunch is 760 cals!!! Thats more than what adults are supost to have all day!

  49. former urban public school teacher September 25, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    Your blog? Is negative unless you live in white suburbia. Try working with different ethnicities and races. Your blog used to be wonderful now it's collapsing under the weight of your ego and your sycophants. Your blog has not been well received out of the standard middle class circles in which you and your readers travel.

  50. Mrs. Q September 25, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    Hey former urban public school teacher — I've got news for you: I work at an urban school! My students are not white! I work with some the neediest children in our society.

    You don't know me. And you don't know my family. Have you ever thought there might be minorities in my family??? NEWSFLASH – THERE ARE!

    I think you are a pompous ass. AND you are probably the same person who called me a c*nt. I don't have time for your insults. I'm busy trying to help out some wonderful, needy children EVERY SINGLE DAY!

    Buzz off

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