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?
My body feels better since basically abandoning gluten and dairy at home. I have lost two pounds, which has to be in “bloat.” My tummy feels “looser” (no way to really describe it the feeling) and my pants fit a little better.
Last night this article was published: Most school garden produce is forbidden fruit in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) lunchrooms. Basically the Chicago Public Schools who are lucky enough to have school gardens can’t even use the food they grow inside the school. They have to take the produce home or sell it. The district and the school food company have an agreement by which no other produce is in the cafeteria unless this other produce meets oddly stringent requirements (basically truly organic) to which the school food company isn’t held.
Who would do this? Is it because the school food company doesn’t want the competition from the school garden? It seems like puny competition in scale. I have to say I don’t understand why a rule like that would be in place…. Those in power cite “safety” but wouldn’t a bigger safety concern be when the kids are actively working in the garden (e.g. they are working with large tools and could fall down) versus eating something they grew themselves?
The idea of taking home a tomato you grew at school is a nice thought. But I think it would be a powerful education tool if it could be sliced up and pieces could be given to each child. We grow it together, we harvest it together, and then we eat it together. (Note: when I volunteered at Common Threads this summer, the kids worked in the garden, then cooked up the food and ate it. I won’t forget one of the chefs holding this massive bunch of Swiss Chard with a huge smile on her face. It’s pretty miraculous to grow something and then eat it with deserving children.)
The Chicago Tribune article above deeply disturbs me. But I have to tell you that this is not new information. I had heard about this already, but I didn’t have a reliable source to quote. In fact, I had heard that at one CPS school in particular which has a nice garden, the kids can’t even walk through the cafeteria holding produce from the school garden. My head is spinning!
But that gives me a great idea for a protest. Let’s walk around carrying produce to unlikely places! Let’s do a “flash mob” where everyone carries produce and then does a little dance number! If they can make ridiculous, arbitrary rules, then we can organize whimsical produce flash mobs…
Loyal readers, I just wanted to thank you for checking in and also for forgiving me when I don’t get a chance to tack on a comment after one of your insightful ones. I was checking the google analytics (a hit counter basically), which I look at for a couple minutes every two months and I wanted to share with you that 50% of my daily hits come from returning users (20% are new visitors). Just wanted to thank my “base” (now I sound like a politician on one of those terrible negative ads I keep seeing on the TV…when will it stop!?) for being committed to reading my content every day.
So those of you who are coming back frequently, what other topics do you want me to touch on that I haven’t mentioned? Do you have any other suggestions? I have a corporations post written up for Friday, which I think you will enjoy quite a bit!
Today’s menu: chicken patty, raw broccoli, peach fruit cup, buns
Looky here, we’ve got raw broccoli! I opened up the package and just poured it into my mouth. In chatting with a random sample of three kids, two of the three told me they ate the broccoli. I like that the broccoli is not in a sturdy paper container, but in leww packaging. Yes, it would be better if the broccoli could be scooped onto the tray, but you know, I appreciate the improvement and I hope it’s saving some money.
I ate the chicken patty, the broccoli, and the fruit cup. I left the bun because I’m avoiding obvious gluten in school lunches
Just thinking out loud here…on the days we get oranges, I wonder if they could be sliced and put in little plastic bags? It would be more trash, but at least the kids would eat the oranges. No time to peel…
Actually I’m saving styrofoam lunch trays for home art projects and to put under leaky planters. I’m also thinking that if I get enough of them, I could do some kind of mailing action and send them out to school lunch decision makers! Styrofoam postcards, yo!
My mom gave me an article about “exhaustion” from the Chicago Tribune. She told me that I really need to watch myself so that I don’t overdo it. Are you laughing like I was? I got a good chuckle from that one. I work full-time, I’m a mother, and I post daily on the blog! That’s enough to drive anyone to drink. Also I have some exciting stuff happening that I’ll tell you about later, but let’s just say that I don’t know how I do it.
Recently at work I had a moment when I couldn’t breathe and I started wringing my hands. I think it was a panic attack and it had nothing to do with the blog. My workload is really, really overwhelming. I don’t have enough hours in the day and staying late like I always have takes a toll on me what with family obligations and then daily blogging. It’s a lot.
Years ago somebody said to me that Leonardo da Vinci had the same number of hours in the day that I have. I remember thinking, “Well, that just makes me feel like a failure, thanks!” Doing the school lunch project has made my days feel very compact indeed.
I’m want to live in the present and enjoy my students. I think all teachers find themselves feeling like they are checking things off a list all day without getting a chance to connect with individual students. If I don’t stay in the present, then my whole day is one big mental to-do list. I can’t live like that.
I am looking forward to getting a break. I don’t know when I will get one next, but it will be nice…one day…maybe. I may not ever get a chance to rest — I have new ideas about life all the time. For example, next summer I want to take a big school lunch tour of the country. I’m already thinking about stops on the tour!
At BlogHer Food I chatted with some people who have their kids in Waldorf Schools. I had never heard of them before, but after the core rationale was explained to me, I realized that what they offer is the kind of school that caters to the unique experience of childhood as a creative, exploratory time. I love that idea.
One of the many radical departures is that reading isn’t introduced until after age 7, often around third grade. Coming from traditional public education, that struck me as foreign. If you read, “Why does Waldorf teach reading so late?”(scroll down), there are some compeling reasons. I agree that it’s possible that an early introduction to reading that is not child-centered (as in an adult pushing) could lead to “reading fatigue.” My nephew is in his second year of preschool and is reading “at the second grade level.” It makes me wonder if he will tire of reading as a tool for discovery.
I learned to read in kindergarten and I have always enjoyed books. My parents enjoy reading (my dad is into mysteries and my mom reads random works of popular fiction). I grew up in a print-rich environment. I’m sure that had I learned to read in third grade I would be the same person I am today.
Waiting to read with the kids in my community might be a mistake. They don’t come from print-rich environments – they come from screen-rich environments (TVs in kids’ bedrooms and multiple gaming systems). In the home they don’t develop a love of or curiosity about words. On the other hand, I agree in developing their creativity and listening skills, which are tenets of the Waldorf method. What are your thoughts?
By the way, you need to check out my friend Andrew Wilder’s #Unprocessed Challenge — his readers are signing up and pledging to eat unprocessed food for the month of October. You can join anytime (even though the month is 2/3 over). Since my readers are hip to the latest in food blogs (thanks for all your comments this weekend!), you probably already know about it, but I just wanted to give him an official shoutout. I can’t really sign up myself (see above meal), but I might be doing a guest post over there soon! He’s giving me good ideas for when I finish the project…I’m brainstorming what to do for my first month of detox next year!
Today’s menu: taco meat, tortilla chips, fruit cup (pears), peas and carrots
So this lunch *could* be practically gluten-free. I don’t have access to the ingredients, but if it’s just taco meat without fillers or “natural flavors” (which might contain gluten), the chips are 100% corn, the fruit cup doesn’t have wheat, and neither do the veggies then this lunch could be gluten-free. I think it would be powerful if school systems could provide lunches like this more frequently because people don’t need to eat gluten at every meal.
I have gone gluten-free outside of school lunch. It’s going great! You know, I feel a difference in my waistline. I never even thought I was bloated before but now that I’m not eating as much gluten as I was eating, I feel really good. I have completely lost the sense of urgency to run to the bathroom. That alone is a nice improvement. I think that’s a good sign that I some kind of wheat sensitivity.
The taco meat may look bad, but it’s most definitely better than some of the other stuff I have eaten (bagel dogs, cheese lasagna, rib-b-ques, etc) . It’s top on my list actually. Yay for edible food!
The Titanium Spork Award for September goes to…..
The results were:
Birke Baehr 5 (5%)
Kate Adamick 4 (4%)
Chef Ann Cooper 27 (32%)
Dr. Susan Rubin 35 (41%)
Ed Bruske 13 (15%)
Thanks for voting everyone!
At BlogHer Food, I met tons of “foodies” (see Revelations post) and it was uplifting to hear how many people care about what kids are eating at school. I want to know who you follow in the foodie world. I’m looking for recipe writers, food policy bloggers, nutritionists, and mommy/daddy bloggers with a food slant. Who should I add to my RSS feed that I may not be currently reading? Which bloggers do you turn to for the latest scoop on anything related to food?
Today’s menu: salisbury steak, collard greens, fruit cup, bread
I woke up with a raging sore throat! That put a damper on my day. For lunch I ate the salisbury steak, some of the collard greens, a few chunks of pear, and a few sips of the pear juice. I couldn’t eat the bread. I got a “stale brain” feeling later, which often is a precursor to getting a headache. Thankfully it did not pan out.
On a much different and more positive note, the winners of last week’s cool cloth-like shopping bags go to:
School food service professionals work hard every day to serve high-quality food to schoolchildren and offering sustainably raised beef helps to reach their goals of nutritional and culinary excellence. This group of large school districts is demonstrating to the public that there is substantial interest in beef with a desirable environmental and nutritional profile. This coordinated endeavor is a significant step in efforts to enhance the food served to children nationwide.
What’s better about this beef? The four districts have chosen to serve various types of “better” beef – from local and grassfed to all-natural and free of antibiotics, added hormones, and preservatives. For more detail on each district, see below.
The participating FOCUS school districts, with more details on each, follow:
PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS (46,785 students) will serve locally sourced grassfed beef hamburgers from Carman Ranch in Wallowa, OR on locally sourced Shepherd’s Grain whole-grain buns in all 85 schools across the district on October 13.
OAKLAND UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (38,826 students) will serve all-natural, antibiotic-free, added-hormone-free beef hot dogs from Coleman Ranch in all 98 schools district-wide as part of its “Ideal Meal,” alongside antibiotic-free chicken, locally baked cornbread, and on locally sourced whole-grain buns on October 14.
SAN DIEGO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (131,541 students) will serve Applegate Farms grassfed beef hot dogs, courtesy of Applegate Farms and Whole Foods, in 18 schools (serving about 36,000 kids) on October 14.
DENVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS (78,352 students) will serve locally sourced, sustainably raised beef from Callicrate Beef of Colorado Springs, CO in haystacks (tortilla chips topped with chili and low-fat cheese) on October 13, and in spaghetti with meat sauce on October 14, in all 142 schools across the district.
School Food FOCUS is a national initiative that supports large school districts with 40,000 or more students in their efforts to procure more healthful, more sustainably produced and regionally sourced food to help children perform better in school and maintain healthier lifestyles. FOCUS aims to transform food systems to the direct benefit of children, farmers, regional economies and the environment, and is funded by a generous grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Today’s menu: chicken and rice bowl (“sweet and sour chicken” was the label it was given on the menu), broccoli, orange, breadstick
Wow, another new menu item. I was pretty excited about it, but I passed another teacher as I was walking with my food to my room as she was walking to the cafeteria. Peering at my tray she asked, “What are they serving today?” I replied, “Chicken and rice.” She took a look at my tray, “I’ll pass,” and turned around. I actually defended the meal, “It actually doesn’t look too bad to me…” And she said, “I’ll just stick with a snack today.”
That’s not the choice I would have made, but then again I’m boxed in by my decision to eat school lunch every day. But if it came down to not eating or eating, I would eat this lunch.
Hey, there was real chicken in the rice bowl! I admit to being stoked about that. You can see below I only avoided the orange (too hard to peel in the time I have — we’ve talked about how ideally they should be sliced up) and the breadstick. I don’t think the breadstick adds anything to this meal. In fact, it’s empty calories checking the “grain” box for the USDA’s school lunch requirements. There needs to be two grains in every lunch and rice counts as just one.
A teacher confided in me this week, “I don’t enjoy teaching like I used to.” I can’t imagine why not….the testing seems to be the biggest difference between teaching of old and teaching nowadays. Teaching is fun, testing is not. I believe in the value of a good pre- and post-test, but it’s getting a little out of hand. Teachers are testing in the hallways for days while subs teach the class. Teachers have student teachers teach so they can grade and do other special projects just to stay on top of things.
About 30% of teachers leave the profession after three years and 45% are out after five (citation). In that same article it is noted that most teachers cite lack of administrative support as the primary reason for leaving the profession (38%) followed by workplace conditions (32%). I’ll be the first to admit that I’m an educator to touch lives. If I’m not making a difference, then what’s the point?
One of the fun things about attending a blogger conference is the discussion about things only bloggers care about and which would bore any non-blogger. For example, one topic of conversation was comments. I found out at BlogHer Food that many people delete comments. I found that to be interesting since I actually rarely delete comments. I only delete if it’s spam or when some attacks me personally or uses an expletive. I think I have deleted about 5-10 comments since I started moderating in April.
I did delete a comment the other day though. The person wrote, “Please make love to me!” and then linked to a nasty website. I have to admit, that was funny!
1) Boldness – Have you ever attended a professional conference for work? That would be entirely different than attending a blog conference. If a conference is for professional development, you are there to learn and not network very much. It’s often a passive, learning experience. Going to a food blog conference is different: you need to mingle. In fact, those interactions outside of sessions are potentially more important that what’s happening inside the session. I picked all the talks on the “Values” track (food politics, urban farming, and canning), but by doing that I missed out on other discussions that might have been interesting. At the end I figured out that I needed to room hop a little and ducked out of the last session. From there I wandered into a PR room for free natural, fermented soda (unbelievable stuff!). I ended up chatting with a PR guy who was very interested in school lunch reform (who knew). Be bold (I wasn’t very bold, but I will be next time), talk to everyone, have a card. Even I had a card — hey, what can I say, I want more publicity the cause of school lunch reform and the blog too. Food bloggers are a perfect audience.
2) Cliques – I came into the conference feeling so nervous that at first I sought out a space where I could be left alone. I know, how social of me. I had trouble processing the whole experience and right away I could see how it could be quite lonely going to a conference like this. It seemed like there were definite cliques among certain bloggers. I can imagine that many people were trying to find a comfort zone. I can relate to wanting to be in a small group because I too didn’t want to cast a large net (I am anonymous after all). But I was thrilled to meet anyone who came up to me to chat. On the flipside, everyone who I approached was friendly and welcoming, but it seemed from a far that a few people did stick together quite a bit. If you want to enter another person’s group, refer to #1 above and be bold. It doesn’t hurt to introduce yourself if you’re feeling left out!
3) Be yourself – Don’t overdo it with a crazy personality. Most people are looking for authentic interactions with real people not a brand. Relax and let your true self shine through.
Any other questions I could answer about BlogHer Food? I’m only going to do one more post about BlogHer Food (the corporations who came and what I chatted about with them) so hang in there if these posts are completely boring and trite. Oh yeah, I’ll do a giveaway too!