Day 129: hot dog and the original mission of the blog

Today’s menu: hot dog, fries, orange, buns

I ate the lunch. That’s the whole point of the blog and why you’re reading, right?

It needed a lot of ketchup
Thank you for the feedback. Message received: I will keep the gluten-free stuff to myself. I have to remind myself that just two weeks ago I was happily munching on bread, crackers, and chips. Wheat galore! In fact, I have a girlfriend who went gluten free apropos of nothing three years ago and when I found out, I looked at her like, “Girl you dun lost your mind!”
The truth is that I might be losing mine….
This out-take captures things perfectly
Today at lunch I just stared out my window and cried. I ended up having to make a quick call to my mother. How grown-up of me…
Truth is, most of the time I just feel like a big asshole.
I march into the cafeteria and buy my lunch, chat briefly with some of the lunch ladies, always say hi to the rest of them, and walk slowly back to the room with my lunch. A lunch that is destined to be photographed and viewed by thousands of people including people from California, Massachusetts, and Kentucky….
When I think about how shocked they would be to hear that, when I picture their faces upon learning that this nice teacher has been sharing the school’s lunches with the internet, I feel mighty low. I think of other teachers saying, “Of all the things wrong with the school, you picked school lunch?”
I’m known as a nice person and I’m usually smiling. I am only actively disliked by one teacher, the one who is known as exceptionally bitter. Now that teacher might be the kind of person to pilot a blog like this one. Not the person with generally solid relationships with difficult parents. Not the person who thinks the principal is fair and understanding. Not the person who gets along with the lunchroom manager.
Yep, it’s me raising all this sh*t on the internet! Shocking that the daughter of a lapsed Catholic feels so much guilt (actually there’s a chance that I’m 1/16 or less Jewish so from what I hear from my Jewish friends, it could be that)! Then I wonder after this comes out who’s going to want to employ a “rabble-rouser” jerk like Mrs. Q?
AND I found out that one of my students is homeless. No wonder I cried. Thankfully my mom talked me down and I finished the day just fine. After work my dad called randomly (they are divorced and live in different states so she hadn’t told him). He reassured me that healthy lunches are a win-win topic. “You’re being too negative. You’ll remain employable.” Nothing beats having great parents who believe in me even when I don’t.
***
So, I’m going back to the original point of this blog: the school lunches. I will eat what I can stomach every day with a nod to my health (like not consuming milk due to my lactose intolerance). It’s good to remember that the kids don’t have enough time to eat everything or they don’t want to eat it. For example, on Monday one student just drank the chocolate milk and the juice from the fruit cup because he didn’t want to eat the rest of the lunch. So that was all he consumed midday. So like the kids I’ll eat what I can in the time I have. I’ll take at least a bite of every main entree.
***
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49 Responses to Day 129: hot dog and the original mission of the blog

  1. Anonymous October 22, 2010 at 2:40 am #

    Oh Mrs. Q,
    My heart goes out to you. I completely understand your tears at lunch. Like you, I am teacher. I teacher wonderful children in sad area. Our poverty level, substance abuse incidents and limited resources make parts of my job "tear-worthy". I also believe this time of the school year may be the hardest. The "honey-moon" phase is over, the kids are a little squirrly from being so structured and the harsh realities of the world around us seep in a little deeper. I know you are a wonderful teacher who makes a difference in lives EVERYDAY. I want to stress that your role as Mrs. Q. is simply ONE facet of your life. Please don't let the blog rob you of joy in other areas of your life. You are an amazing person who is doing something admirable :o)
    On the subject of gluten or no gluten, I say do what feels best to YOU. You are not beholden to anyone. If you notice life is better without, SKIP it.
    In closing, I send you a big hug of support and suggest you, Mr. Q and the munchkin do something that you truly truly enjoy this weekend. Maybe visit a farm or pumpkin patch. Reconnect with the positives in your life!

  2. Kim Wakefield October 22, 2010 at 2:40 am #

    That's some wasted packaging too. Hang in there, sounds like one of those rough teacher days we have. But remember just being there everyday you're making a difference in more ways than one.

  3. Rachel October 22, 2010 at 2:41 am #

    The fact that you have posted stories and interviews with lunchroom staff and many other people tells me plenty about your approach. I haven't once read you attacking lunchroom staff. In fact, I think you're kind of sympathetic to the whole structure.

    I've never found the blog too negative or unfair. You're showing what's happening. You're showing what they serve. Yeah, you make comments, but I haven't found them unfair or hateful. Just human.

  4. Wendy October 22, 2010 at 2:50 am #

    I have never posted here before but what the HELL? Did people actually complain about your previous posts? What selfish freakin people.

    I was actually quite interested in your gluten free adventure. There are so many people who have that sensitivity and so many KIDS who do and you're pointing out a very important aspect that for sure as hell has to do with "the point of the blog". School lunches and how they affect the health of kids.

    People need to get off your back. Sweet weeping christ.

  5. JennaDee October 22, 2010 at 2:59 am #

    Honestly… the point of your blog allows parents to see what there children are eating… I remember my school lunches looking very close if not the same as what you eat on a daily bases. This keeps me making my childs lunches now because I now know in the 20 something years… nothing has changed. Sad.

  6. R.W. High October 22, 2010 at 3:05 am #

    You're a brave and inspirational woman and teacher, Mrs. Q. I have really enjoyed following your blog since it began (and add Seoul, South Korea to your list of reader locations!) I watched a documentary the other day you might be interested in about organic farming in California and the end of the film talks specifically school lunch. "Ripe for Change" http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/ripe_for_change/ "Take that lunch hour and make it part of the academic day" is my favorite quotation from the film and an ideal you've really advocated this year.

  7. d12brown October 22, 2010 at 3:06 am #

    I have a story. Monday my son wanted to buy because they were serving hot dogs. He buys about once a week, and the rule is that he must choose a fruit and a veggie. This day he choose his hot dog, carrots and fresh cut fruit with yogurt (he thought it was pudding, but only wanted the fruit). The lunch lady told him he couldn't have it. Hmm…

    On Tuesday, I went to ave lunch with my daughter (it was her birthday) and I decided to ask the lunch ladies why my son could not have fresh cut fruit. The answer? because fresh cut fruit with yogurt is considered an entree for the vegetarian students and you can not choose two entrees. She proceeded to show me the fruit he could choose, which was all portioned canned fruit cocktail. I explained that my son would have no idea what that was and that is why he would not have choosen it.

    So, I suppose I could have lived with that. It made sense, two entrees for one student means another may not have his entree, right? But then the lunch lady (manager) told me she only buys like 4 of those frsh fruit yogurt combos a day and THROWS EVERY ONE AWAY EVERY DAY! I was floored. Wasted. Food wasted when I was willing to pay for it. Unbelieveable.

    Don't get me wrong, our school district does a lot right when it comes to food. It is all made in the district and fresh veggies and fruits are offered daily. They even have salads available every day. But this is one example of the lack of thinking that occurs. It is all rules, rules, rules and no bend.

  8. RainbowW October 22, 2010 at 3:09 am #

    anyone with two brain cells to rub together will understand that you are doing this project for the benefit of your students and other students like them. if they feel like you're attacking them, rather than trying to improve the school for everyone involved, do you really want to be associated with them anyway?

    "why school lunches?" why the hell not?

    everybody needs to pick the cause that appeals to them, and school lunches appeal to you. and school lunches can certainly use the help.

  9. Myrnie October 22, 2010 at 3:23 am #

    As others have so eloquently (or bluntly) said: You go, Girl 🙂 I can't see a reason why co-workers would be offended that you post pictures of your lunch! Food bloggers do it every day, whether they made it or bought it.

  10. Anonymous October 22, 2010 at 3:29 am #

    Mrs Q – I am one of your California readers. And I have to admit, when I read your pizza blog yesterday, I was saddened that you didn't even take a bite and at the same time so happy and proud that you take so much care about what goes into your body. Your blog today made me feel better yet sad at the same time. I latched onto your blog through yahoo's main page… and I love what you are doing. That you are eating everything our children eat takes such a personal commitment. Our children don't have that as a choice all the time. Its what us, as parents, choose to feed them. Whether we pack a lunch or have them eat the cafeteria. Don't lose hope. You are doing an awesome job bringing awareness to an issue that has long been dormant from the mainstream. Keep up the good work! You rock! You can do it girl! (was that a good pep talk? sorry I was kinda rambl-ey for a bit) Thank you most of all! 🙂

  11. Dorn October 22, 2010 at 3:46 am #

    Some of your readers confuse me. Your blog is great. They seem to have an expectation of pure scientific research and no writer's voice. You wouldn't be read if that was the only thing on these pages. While yes, you've become one of the champions (albeit anonymous) for this, so you should remain relatively unbiased. Buy your opinion and personality make this spot on the Internet worth visiting. Keep the strength up and I sincerely hope your breakfast and dinners are enjoyable by comparison.

  12. Sarah G October 22, 2010 at 4:25 am #

    Keep your chin up, Mrs. Q!

    Crappy days at work are just that, crappy. When I have a bad day that rolls that far downhill, I just try to get to bed as quickly as possible. Somehow, things always look better in the morning. 🙂

  13. Teresa October 22, 2010 at 4:35 am #

    Chin up! I appreciate your work and I live all the way over here in Singapore!

  14. geekmom October 22, 2010 at 4:49 am #

    I'm reading from Canada – have been since nearly the beginning. I think your personal journey is quite interesting, it's been quite cool to see the development of your understanding of nutrition as this year has passed. I've experimented with eliminating dairy and wheat before so I'm interested in and sympathetic to your efforts to go gluten-free. As for what to write about, I say it's your blog, you write about whatever you like. If people don't like it they are quite free to go read some other blog.

  15. Erin McGuire October 22, 2010 at 5:02 am #

    A level headed assessment of the gluten craze- http://nutritionunplugged.com/2009/03/gluten-free-is-latest-diet-craze/

    I have a great deal of admiration for this blog. As someone who cares about education and food, I think you've done something pretty amazing. You could have decided to go home at the end of the day like every other teacher, not sacrifice your lunch and your evenings (and more, I'm sure) to inform people about a serious issue. You can't make your homeless student have a home, but if you keep doing this, keep this momentum going, maybe he can at least have a good lunch.

    Though, I'm glad to hear you're refocusing back on your original mission 😉

  16. Jadydangel October 22, 2010 at 6:26 am #

    Honey, honestly I just want to hug you.

    And sometimes, that's all you can offer. =)

  17. Nilpferd October 22, 2010 at 6:35 am #

    If people just come here to look at the pictures and hear you rant about the food, then I think they don't get the intention of this blog. What diffence does it really make if you eat the whole thing? If it makes you sick don't eat it!

    What is more important? Getting the message out and actually change something, or destroying your body just to satisfy some naggers?

    Please keep on with your project, because I think your doing a great job. Good Luck!

  18. Anonymous October 22, 2010 at 6:37 am #

    I just want to thank you for being brave and trying a little of the food every day. You're trying to eat through the eyes (and tastebuds) of your students, and as horrific as the food looks and tastes, I think the fact that you're taking a deep breath and diving into everything is what helps make this blog so interesting for us as readers.
    I've always been fine with your not drinking milk because of your lactose intolerance. But it was when you were selectively choosing which food you did and did not want to eat for reasons other than allergy concerns that made me fear you were losing sight of why you originally chose to tackle this project. Thanks for going back to the original plan. The kids at school who count on these meals as their sole source of nourishment wouldn't throw it away if they didn't absolutely have to, and I appreciate that you take the same approach.

    And seriously, I can't imagine a lot of people having an issue with the fact that you're photographing and writing about this food each day. It's not like your friendly relationship with the lunch staff is fake. You don't smile at them and then walk away rolling your eyes. You don't get online and talk smack about them as people. Your bone to pick is with the invisible administration who dictates that THIS SLOP is what schools across the nation are FORCED to feed their students. Pointing out the flaws in this system does not make you an asshole. A pot-stirrer? Yes. But the world needs passionate, determined pot-stirrers to get discussions flowing. And that's why, for the most part, people love a good pot-stirrer. And that's why we love you!

  19. Anonymous October 22, 2010 at 6:54 am #

    If the gluten messes you up, stay off it! You recently mentioned that after being gluten-free you lost the urgency to go to the bathroom. That statement finally clicked something in me – for the past several years I've usually had to pee once or twice a night, but in the past week or two with 0 gluten, I've been able to sleep through the night, every night, with no potty breaks, and not even a painful need to go right away in the morning.

    So your gluten avoidance did accomplish something beyond your own comfort (and health!), as far as I'm concerned. One more substantiated reason for me to stay away from gluten. And substantiation is important when dealing with skeptics 😛

  20. BillG October 22, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    Wow, those were some pretty mean-spirited comments to the previous post. Why is it that some people feel a sense of entitlement when it comes to reading blogs, like the blogger has a responsibility to meet their needs? Don't be discouraged by those jerks, Mrs. Q. I think the blog is great. Keep doing what you're doing in the way you want to do it. Rock on!

  21. Anonymous October 22, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    Mrs. Q- I am one of your readers from New Jersey. I have been reading your blog since I found the link on yahoo a while back. I have really enjoyed what you have posted and your blog is awesome. I never read blogs before that but love your blog. I think you are doing a great job in making other aware of school lunches. You do really seem like a great person. You are trying to make things better for the children you teach and others around the US and that is a pretty large feat. I think you should keep up the great work and don't worry about what other say.

  22. MeredithDuck October 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    Personally I enjoy the gluten free comments. I too am on that same diet. I've cheated a few times since June when I started but overall I feel so much better. And like you mentioned the other day – I sleep better at night when I don't eat gluten.

    Keep doing what you're doing. You're almost there.

  23. Bella October 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    This post made me feel sad 🙁

    I honestly think you shouldn't let other people's expectations dictate what or how much of the lunch you eat. It seems to me like people are wanting to see you suffer just to prove a point… but I'm pretty certain they wouldn't put themselves through the same thing. It's very different when you're the one feeling ill and uncomfortable all the time, I don't think those readers really consider how this project has affected your health and wellbeing.

    I think your project and committment to improving school lunch is amazing, and I think your point has been solidly made. It's not essential for you to sacrifice your own wellbeing just to satisfy a few readers who want you to eat everything in the lunch, regardless of how it might affect you.

    I can't help but wonder how much impact cutting out the gluten has had on the other important parts of your life? If feeling physically better gives you the energy and focus to be a better teacher and parent, then that's a huge benefit that shouldn't be discounted.

    As you say, the kids don't eat everything in the lunch either. You eat far more of those lunches than I ever would, and I admire you just for facing it every day. I think you have the right to choose what you eat, just as every child in the lunch room does.

  24. JJ October 22, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    Thank you, for all that you do!

  25. The Nervous Cook October 22, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    Thank you for your honesty, and for being open to feedback, but don't forget that you're a person and you have feelings, fears and concerns of your own. This is a brave and bold project you're undertaking, but it isn't a NASA shuttle mission — you're allowed to make some concessions for yourself sometimes, and to take the time to think of how you're feeling and what you need.

    That said, thank you again for your work and commitment. I love your blog.

  26. Becky October 22, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    I know others have said it, but I really don't think you're doing anything "wrong" by posting about your lunches… and, truthfully, I don't think you have to fear losing anything (job, credibility, or otherwise) for doing it. I've never read a post where you're "screwing over" the lunch ladies, your school, etc. You're telling it like it is.

    On another note, I do think it's funny to see how much school lunches have changed. I was in high school (gulp) 19 years ago, and the lunches you're eating are FAR healthier than mine ever were. French fries were served daily, and every single entree was something fried. It's no wonder that I went to college and LOST 40 pounds…

  27. Anonymous October 22, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    Wow, Mrs. Q, you are being really hard on yourself in this post. You are not an a-hole. If you were being nice to the lunch staff just to get them to share things with you that you then revealed on your blog, you would be an a-hole, but you are being nice because you are nice, and you just also happen to be working to change school lunches. You can be nice and instigate change at the same time. I can't imagine that anyone things Rosa Parks was an a-hole for what she did, and I know some people might get offended that I compare you to Rosa Parks, but you're doing what you're doing to make things better for our children. She made things better for the children of her generation, so there is a similarity there. And please, don't listen to those who say you've lost sight of your mission. The pictures speak volumes, and the kids aren't eating everything anyway, not to mention if you really would have wanted to (and if you were, in fact, an a-hole), you could have just pretended to have eaten all of this food all along. I mean, you could have just taken the pics and given us a description of what you thought it would taste like and just thrown it away and eaten something good, but you haven't done that. You eat at least some of it, and you are making a difference, even if you don't eat gluten. I can't imagine that the commenters who said you need to just shut up and eat everything would be willing to go to a school and each lunch everyday. It's easy to ask someone else to do things we aren't willing to do ourselves. Do what works for you, and remember that what you are doing here is valuable and necessary.

  28. Anonymous October 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    Mrs. Q,
    I agree with several of the previous posts. What you are doing is amazing and you shouldn't be put off by commenters telling you what to or not to write. It is YOUR blog and you can write whatever you want. I agree that it is refreshing and useful for you to be writing about gluten free eating, etc. because many people (and students) have various allergies and intolerances and this is rarely addressed through the school lunches. Keep up the great work!!

  29. Anonymous October 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    You're too hard on yourself. We love you.

  30. Sarah October 22, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    Mrs. Q,

    I love the idea of this experiment and I wish I was in the educational field so I could do it right beside you! The pictures you post are great and give us an insider view as to what our kids are eating in the cafeteria. I had no idea what my kids were eating or how it was served before this. Amazing! That being said, I almost wish that there was a way to get someone out there to eat the school lunch every day in it's entirety. (kind of like Super Size Me) I'd would love to see what the effect of eating school lunches for 180 days would have on the body. That would really make some waves as I'm sure the outcome would not be positive! Keep it up. What your doing is inspiring and so insightful! I love reading your post daily and hope it helps to create some positive change in school lunches and how we feed our kids in general. Thank you!

  31. Milehimama @ Mama Says October 22, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    Mrs Q,
    I don't think this blog is bitter or angry. You've been very fair – I've never seen broad, unsupported statements like "if lunch ladies just weren't too lazy to cook…" or the like. I appreciate how you bring up all manner of issues that go into school lunch – what do the kids want to eat, is the fruit accessible in a short lunch period (peeling vs. slicing oranges, for example), and other "real life" notes and opinions on school food from someone who eats it at school – you aren't just writing about it abstractly.

  32. Deanna October 22, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    You're being way too hard on yourself. I can tell from the things you write that you are a gracious, kind and caring person. Sometimes the world just gets to be too much and you have to have a good cry. But don't get down on yourself in the long run. This is a darned good thing you're doing here and I don't see anything for you to be ashamed or guilty about. Sending you a big hug from Atlanta!

  33. Renee October 22, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

    Leaving the pizza behind was precisely "eating school lunch every day just like the kids". The kids don't eat everything they are served, and you don't have to eat everything you're served either. That's doing it just like the kids.

    I have enjoyed this blog particularly because of how it has changed over the year. I enjoy reading about your tangents and how this project has changed who you are. Those are the things that keep me reading. If you simply ate the whole lunch and posted it each day, it wouldn't be a very interesting blog to read.

  34. Ker October 22, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    Dear Mrs. Q,
    One of your anonymous posters eloquently said, "Your bone to pick is with the invisible administration who dictates that THIS SLOP is what schools across the nation are FORCED to feed their students. Pointing out the flaws in this system does not make you an asshole."
    This blog, if you ask me, is just the beginning for you. The truth is that the current food system in our country is highly skewed towards unhealthy options and makes eating nutritious, healthy foods a difficult endeavor when it doesn't need to be that way.
    You say, "I think of other teachers saying, 'Of all the things wrong with the school, you picked school lunch?'" And I say: yes, absolutely! That's the best place to start! Because what kid is going to be able to focus when all he's had is chocolate milk and some fruit cup juice? How can we expect children to excel in school when all that's coursing through their bodies is but a portion of whatever middling fare was served that day?
    Nobody would feed a thoroughbred molding grain and then expect it to win a derby. Yet we expect our children to meet or surpass our expectations (aka, produce good test scores) with naught but a quick, shoveled-down meal of questionable quality in their bellies.
    What you are doing, Mrs. Q, is creating a data set from which you can draw as the dialogue expands: you can say, listen, I ate this stuff for a whole year, and guess what? It sucked. And you won't be lying or exaggerating, because you lived the experience, and have the blog & photo evidence, of day after day of a paucity of good choices and a plethora of waste, to back it up.
    Your students deserve to do well, and they can't if their physical and physiological needs are not being met. Truth is, neither can you or I or anybody else. I hope you see what you are doing as an important piece in creating change so that those needs are better met, and I hope that you do not let doubt or what you think others might say stop you from becoming an increasingly heard voice for that change. It's a big, big issue, and there will be people who don't want change, for whatever reasons – fear of the unknown, ignorance of any alternatives, receiving benefits from the current system, perhaps – but nothing will improve if everyone just stands around feeling helpless and that it's out of their hands. As Dr. Seuss wrote in The Lorax, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, / Nothing's going to get better, it's not."
    So here's to you, Mrs. Q, for caring enough to begin this journey. I have a feeling there will come a day when you will have something Very Big to say, and people will listen, and they will be inspired to care and to take action, because you are the modest, non-radical, caring person saying it.
    Oh wait, take a look at these comments: we're already listening…

  35. Kim October 22, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    Mrs. Q, I suspect many of your coworkers will have newfound respect for you once you lift your veil of anonymity. I don't know if that has ever occurred to you. I understand your feelings of guilt, though. Many people believe that hiding an important fact is just as much a lie as saying something that's not true. Your motives for remaining anonymous come from a good place, however, so try to keep that at the front of your thoughts instead of reasons to feel guilty.

    I'm a little sad to see that you ate the entire bun. I know that leads to tummy troubles for you. As I stated in response to your last entry (Day 128), lots of people are depending on you to be well and that's more important than eating gluten for the sake of this blog.

    Hang in there! You're getting so close to the finish line!

  36. Anonymous October 22, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

    I've been a reader from nearly the beginning of this blog (I believe it was the second week) and I've never posted, but there's a first time for everything. I would just like to say I truly appreciate your commitment to this project. I'm a college student, so I don't read this out of concern for a child's nutrition but for curiosity. It hasn't been long since I ate cafeteria food (I'm happy to report that dorm food is pretty high quality and would not be classified as cafeteria food, where I study), and my k-12 schools luckily offered less packaged, healthier foods than yours. However, we were in a rather affluent area, so this blog provides me a glimpse into a different side of America. It's pretty obvious that it has educated many other readers as well. So remember, no matter what happens with you at your school, there are many, many readers spread around the country that are learning and possibly taking action. All thanks to what you are doing.
    I do find it interesting that you emphasize your religious background, and yet you yourself do not seem to be highly religious. You also criticize your parents as being stubborn, but please remember that they have a right to adhere to their beliefs.
    As to the gluten, I find your journey with it informative. I think the gripers are more annoyed with how often it is mentioned, not the fact that it is mentioned. I wouldn't worry about it!

  37. Kimmie October 23, 2010 at 1:03 am #

    Thank you for doing all that you do!

    Teaching is one thing…..eating school lunch is something completely different. If nothing else, reading your fabulous blog makes me stop and really look at my kids' school menus when deciding whether or not they should TAKE their lunch.

  38. Anonymous October 23, 2010 at 1:04 am #

    I'm a loyal reader and can't believe people have a problem with your opinions. You're not running for political office, you're a regular person. I've found your experiments with food (like eliminating gluten) fascinating, especially because I've had stomach issues for the last two years. Selfishly, it's nice for me that I can read a real person talking about food allergies because it helps me figure out what my problems are. I've even cut down on gluten because of your blog. So I'm someone you've affected in a positive way. To the readers who have a problem with your opinions – don't hate, appreciate!

  39. Anonymous October 23, 2010 at 1:20 am #

    I have never commented before, but after this post I can't hold back. You, Mrs. Q, have BIG things in your future. Have faith. What you are doing is making a difference. Maybe you won't teach after all this is said and done, but there is a plan. You will be successful and people will look up to you for the courage you have display. 🙂

  40. Mrs. Q October 23, 2010 at 1:30 am #

    Feeling overwhelmed by all of the comments. I really appreciate everything you have said. I feel grateful to have such loyal readers and just plain nice humans. Thanks for your faith in me! I'm doing MUCH better today and feel back to my feisty self!

  41. Monica October 23, 2010 at 5:16 am #

    I highly doubt most teachers would ask "Why the lunch?" Or anyone who's dealt extensively with children. I can't even count how many times, while babysitting or as a camp counselor, I've asked a kid on the verge of a total meltdown whether they were hungry, or whether they'd eaten lunch/breakfast that day, and had the kid respond that they'd barely eaten all day. And then I'd give them a snack, and the nasty, crabby, unreasonable monster would disappear, and the sweet kid would return. With kids I know well, I can usually tell when they didn't eat lunch just by the way they behave after school. And it really does seem to be universal.

  42. Nicole_Mellony October 23, 2010 at 7:20 am #

    While i understand your worry for professional reasons about if your blog was ever to be found out by your school, i think that your guilt over the project if unfounded.

    do you really think that the lunch ladies would be serving the food if they thought they were doing harm to the children that they feed?
    I'm sure that each and every lunch lady around the country who works with kids like these everyday, would be grateful for the risk you are taking to improve the quality of what they are able to provide.

    I'm sure that in the work that they do they are aware, as you are, that they often aren't able to serve food of high quality to the kids that they feed. they are also aware, as you make clear, that the fact of what they are able to provide is outside of their control. I'm also sure that they would feel no more shame in seeing the lunches they provide put on the internet then they would feel in feeding it to the children every day.

    that is a shame that lies not with those that are feeding it – who should hold their pride in the fact that the act of feeding these kids, even if the quality is not the best is still better then allowing them to go hungry -but with those that are legislating the regulations around school lunches, and so sorely restricting the ability of these lunch ladies to give the kids the best lunch that they deserve.

    Your criticisms aren't aimed at the people serving the food, but those at the top who are making them do it. Rather then laying blame on the lunch ladies who work hard everyday to keep young minds fed, your blog is raising awareness in the community that big decisions need to be made to change the health of your kids.

    You have no need to feel guilty over exposing the truth to the population at large about the conditions which these kids live with everyday, and you should feel proud that you had the guts to stand up and say what needed to be said.

    you are simply telling the truth about school lunches in america, and if the conditions of the lunch were up to scratch this blog would be possitive, its the conditions of what your reporting which hold shame and in no way the fact that you are reporting them. the truth is always important and there is no reason for you to feel bad about sharing it.

    hold faith, that you are doing the right thing, and that this will help to make a change

  43. Anonymous October 23, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    I have followed your blog from the very beginning. It's been such a joy to watch you discover — and share with us– the complex issues around school lunches. I know you have bounced back from your "very bad day", but I just wanted to comment on that moment of self doubt about "keeping to your original mission", which was to report on what you ate for lunch at school every day.
    As a teacher, would you want your students to stay stuck in doing the same exact thing they started out doing at the beginning of the year? Aren't you thrilled when they understand the bigger picture about a lesson and start making new connections between what they originally knew and what they are now able to grasp?
    You've done exactly this with your blog. Your writing is so much richer now because you've surpassed your original understanding of what you wanted to do. So keep doing what you are doing!
    Pennie in Boulder

  44. Lindsey October 23, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    I believe Renee said it best! Children often times do not eat everything that is served to them, so why are you expected to? I personally like the posts related to going gluten-free because it is something I have considered doing for myself.

    Mrs. Q, you are doing an amazing job and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

  45. Shelly October 23, 2010 at 11:40 pm #

    You are too hard on yourself! You are doing a noble thing and sticking up for those who don't have a voice, kids. Food is such an integral part of our every day lives. We need it to survive and if it's good wholesome food we will thrive. This is especially true for students. So, never doubt your self and your goal here. You are doing a great service for these kids. It's folks like you that will make a difference and get school lunches changed!

  46. Anonymous October 24, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

    Thought these might come in handy if/when you have another bad day…

    "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." ~Dr. Seuss

    "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do." ~Edward Everett Hale

    "It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little – do what you can." ~Sydney Smith

    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." ~Winston Churchill

    "Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." ~Margaret Mead

    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." ~Mahatma Gandhi

    We're all still here. 🙂

  47. Steph R. S October 24, 2010 at 8:06 pm #

    Don't beat on yourself.

    Yes, there are a lot of things wrong with our schools, but you're not the one "causing trouble." The only reason more parents aren't outraged is because they don't *realize* what their kids are eating. In general, Americans have become so dissociated from our food that we don't think about what we're putting into our children and into ourselves. We need to be reminded to think. And, as teachers, isn't it our job to do just that? 😉

    And your homeless student deserves for the one meal a day that you can guarantee to be genuinely nutritious. The same is true for all your students on free and reduced meal plans.

    Keep fighting the good fight. Your sister teachers in other states are awfully proud of you. 🙂

  48. Zuzu Petals October 26, 2010 at 2:21 pm #

    First of all, write what you want to write. Don't let people censor you. They can stop reading if they don't like it, and that is the truth.

    Secondly, as one with Celiac Disease, take care of your body. If food allergies are something you have to deal with as part of your experience with this project, then write about gluten intolerence to your heart's content. School lunches are built around crappy carbs and it's no wonder that Celiac Disease is on the upswing in this country, given the amount of processed foods shoveled into us since childhood.

    Rock your own path. You're doing a great job of it.

  49. Anonymous November 1, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

    Your "sidebar" about the gluten is actually very relevant to this project – it highlights how monotonous school lunches are when they come to the "grain". It's almost always a bread of some sort.

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