Day 142: chicken parm, liberty, and justice for all

Today’s menu: chicken parm, garlic bread, salad, fruit cup

So I looked down and today’s lunch (see first picture) and thought, “what are those white things?” They are onions in the tomato sauce on top of the chicken patty in case you wondered. The chicken tasted juicy; however, you can see that it’s not pure chicken meat. It’s mixed with some kind of filler to make it bouncier, airy almost.

spork tracks!

The garlic bread smelled divine. I haven’t had garlic bread in a very long time (now that I rarely eat bread), the last time being at least six months ago. I suggest roasting your own garlic if you want to make garlic bread at home. Roasting your own garlic is easy and the taste is out of this world (basically you will want to eat it alone!), but it does take about 30 minutes in the oven so you have to have a little time (you can prepare other stuff while you wait).

A food scientist somewhere has found a way to replicate the amazing aroma of garlic for school lunch garlic bread, but I doubt that any garlic was involved in the making of this bread. It tasted convincing actually.

It smelled too good to resist,
but what benefit does it provide?
I just have to wonder what does the garlic bread add to this lunch? I realize that they need a grain to meet the USDA requirements, but the enriched, bleached flour, butter additives, etc didn’t add much to my daily intake of nutrients.
my trash
Whenever I flew on an airplane as a child, my dad would yell at my sister and I to eat the airplane food because, “you don’t know when you are going to get fed again!” It sounded so dire when he put it that way and so we ate up. But I never had a problem eating most foods, because I wasn’t very picky (just hated tomatoes – until I was 25 years old!). But as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized it’s not that important to eat everything if it doesn’t feel truly nourishing. I used to polish off every last morsel of school lunch, but now I just can’t do that.
***
I love hearing the pledge every morning. But what I love more is hearing the kids say the pledge. Some of them almost sing it, others mumble it, some try whisper to their friends, other state it plain as day. My goal is to be fully present during those moments, but often times I’m thinking about what’s going to happen after the pledge, what I’m going to do next.
But when I’m present in those moments, I almost always get choked up. I take in the children’s expressions. Occasionally a kid will say the pledge with fervor or sing the anthem with passion and I just feel like crumbling. They love our country. They love coming to school. They love to sing the anthem. It all comes together.
“I pledge allegiance
to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic
for which it stands,

one Nation
under God,
indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.”

Did you know that each school treats the pledge routine differently? Some schools have the principal read the pledge every morning over the PA, other schools have kids read it, other schools have other staff read it. Some have the anthem first, others have the pledge. Some schools have the kids sing the pledge over the PA, or a musically inclined staff member sings it live, and other schools use a recording and many children who are hard of hearing or deaf sign it. Sometimes the quality of the recording played over the speaker is bad.

Some schools stop everything when the pledge or anthem is playing on the speaker with no walking in the hallways or moving around in the classrooms, other schools demand simple silence, and even other schools just go about their business during the pledge and anthem as if nothing is happening. It’s really quite amazing how different schools are….in so many ways. If we can’t even standardize the pledge between schools, how can we change school lunches in a meaningful way for all students?

The pledge is actually sort of heavy lifting for most elementary school kids: concepts like “allegiance” and “justice” are tough to grasp. It’s not exactly kid-friendly (but of course important — I’m not saying it should be kid-friendly). How many classes try to break down the vocabulary from the pledge? Do they know what they are saying? Is it meaningful to them or are they going through the motions?

Here’s where I delve into another totally random thought I would never speak aloud… Wouldn’t it be great if once a month kids could hear a Muppets song over the PA? Not in place of the pledge, but maybe the last Friday of the month just before they head out for the weekend couldn’t they could hear some Gloria Estefan or something? How ’bout this blast from the past:

Not exactly peppy, but beautiful and contemplative. Can you tell that I was born in the 1970s and my mom was a hippie? Please forgive this randomness and thanks for indulging me….

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57 Responses to Day 142: chicken parm, liberty, and justice for all

  1. Canama November 17, 2010 at 3:20 am #

    To the anonymous fellow who asked about money:

    I have complained about that, in private. But what can I do about it? And in this day and age, we've got to use money. We can hate it, but we've still gotta use it.

  2. Anonymous November 17, 2010 at 4:15 am #

    My school only says the pledge every Friday – and then it's only when the principal remembers to get on the PA and lead it. On Mondays we recite our school pledge.
    "I am a part of the family of ____ School. I am safe, kind, and responsible. I follow all the rules. The language of caring are the words that I speak. My star's always shining, every day of the week."

    What I've come to realize is that anything repeated continuously loses meaning to those saying it. My kids can recite the school pledge, but they don't take it to heart. However, I am sad that the Pledge of Allegiance isn't recited with more respect. What's wrong with pledging your allegiance to your country? If you don't feel loyalty to the country in which you live, why do you stay? If anything, this country could use a little more comradery and a little less "I don't have to and you can't make me because I live in the United States and I have freedoms." Shouldn't you then proudly stand and give thanks for that? It honestly makes no sense to me.

  3. Clay Boggess November 17, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    Any school that simply goes about their business as if nothing is happening during the pledge definitely has got some leadership issues at the top.

  4. Anonymous November 17, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

    I was really sorry to see many of the comments above about the Pledge of Allegiance. Whether or not you believe in God you should still have enough respect for tradition and history to be able to recite the Pledge. I think students these days are losing a sense of what it means to be American, why America was settled in the first place, and why our freedoms in this country are so unique and special. Like it or not, this country was specifically founded with certain moral standards. Believing in them is not necessary but, respect for them, in my opinion, is. Where is our pride? Without pride in our country, there is no allegiance. Without allegiance, we run the risk of becoming divided. And as we all have seen to be true, A Country divided amongst itself cannot stand. The pledge of allegiance is not meant to brainwash people into religion, it is simply meant to inspire pride, and if that means you don't say the Under God part aloud, so be it. You should still say it. Out of respect.

  5. Pati November 19, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    Where do you guys all live? I'm pretty sure schools in my regions (at least 2 states that I know of) don't do the pledge. Something about offending feelings of some people. I was actually surprised to hear that they still do it in some places daily.

  6. Anonymous November 19, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

    Wow Mrs. Q, you are definitely a kindred spirit. I rented The Muppet Movie for my kids about 3 or 4 years ago when my son was maybe 5 or 6. I was not prepared for the flood of feelings borne forth by Kermie strumming his banjo and singing in the swamp in the opener. There's something so innocent and wise and idealistic and melancholy about that song, it just brings back a certain 70's childhood vibe that I really really miss. We sang Rainbow Connection in choir in late elementary school. My music teacher was a smart, conscientious hippie type, but then again, all of our teachers seemed to be, back then. Sigh.

  7. Canama November 19, 2010 at 10:38 pm #

    Pati – I live in Texas (Southeastern Texas, to be a bit more specific. I won't reveal more than that.)

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