Banning bake sales

I was driving to work and listening to the radio 10 days ago. It was the “Holiday Lite” station. (I’ve had to ease up on the audiobooks, which have always been the standard during my commute, and go back to music ever since I started listening to Omnivore’s Dilemma. For a few weeks I felt down when I arrived at school and then later I felt deflated when getting home. I decided to stop listening to that audiobook and tried the radio again. I have felt a lot happier. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to finish listening to Michael Pollan’s book actually… It’s a terrific book, but heavy.)

This particular holiday station has commentary in the mornings, which bugs me (I expect all holiday music, all the time). Usually I go back and forth between a few music channels to avoid announcers’ voices.

But I happened to catch the beginning of a new topic (I don’t remember exactly what they said, but I’ll paraphrase it so you can get the gist):

DJ: “So they want to ban bake sales at school because they think bake sales are making kids fat.”
Then the DJ starts taking callers.
Caller 1: “I don’t think they should ban bake sales because we raise money for good causes…”

Caller 2: “I don’t think we should ban bake sales. In fact, there’s a bake sale at my son’s school today. I baked 24 cupcakes for the sale.”
DJ stirs it up, “How great! What is bake sale for?”
Caller 2: “Cancer research.”

(Silly off-hand side comment: Does anyone else find it ironic that the bake sale is for cancer research? Wouldn’t eating too many cupcakes (aka sugar) lead to cancer? I’m not against the occasional cupcake. In fact, after I took my son to the doctor last week, we went out for gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate orange cupcakes as a special treat. They were fantastic. All I’m saying is that I might have trouble buying a cupcake in the name of cancer research. I’d buy fruit or veggies in the name of cancer research in a heart beat!)

I was ready to call the radio station myself, but by the time the segment ended I was practically at work. I thought about emailing later in the day, but as you can imagine, my schedule is pretty full.

Here’s what the USDA Secretary Vilsack said, “banning bake sales is not the intent of the USDA.” Here’s what the new law does:

Section 208 of S. 3307, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, grants USDA the ability to set nutrition standards for all foods served at schools during the school day, including in vending machines, snack bars, and other “similar venues.”

Why should the USDA have some oversight of the school food environment? Read on…

The other morning I was leaving the main office. Two girls left after me. They were holding 10 chocolate bars in their hands. In the office on the counter a secretary is selling chocolate bars for a dollar for a fundraiser. I don’t where the money is going, but it’s not going to our school.

I saw the girls with the bars and I decided I had to know why they had so many chocolate bars. They were having trouble carrying them. “Why are you buying chocolate bars this morning?” I asked.

The girls looked at each other, paused, and then answered, “Because our teacher lets us buy them for lunch.”

Mrs. Q: “Are they all for you?”
One girl: “Us and the other kids.”

Mrs. Q: “Are you going to eat your regular school lunch?!”
The girls shrugged and successfully scurried away. I slammed my palm on my forehead.

It’s obvious that they would rather eat chocolate bars at lunch than anything else. Wouldn’t we all? I would prefer the kids eat the regular school lunch over eating one chocolate bar. I’m pretty surprised that the teacher let them do that considering we all know how little time the kids have to eat. If they eat that chocolate first, then there’s no time for anything else.

For the record, my school doesn’t do bake sales because the PTA is very small and the community surrounding the school is food insecure. Actually it’s remarkable that the kids had a buck in their pockets to pay for the chocolate bar.

What are your thoughts on school fundraisers using food?
Shouldn’t fundraisers inside the school benefit the school itself, a student group, or the PTA?

Further reading: Culture Wars: How Junk Food and Obesity Became Politicized

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51 thoughts on “Banning bake sales”

  1. I teach in the school with similar demographics when it comes to free and reduced lunch. It is sad…the students don't come to school in weather appropriate clothes but they ALWAYS have money for ice cream on Fridays.

  2. We home schooled my son K-12 and my daughter decided to try middle school. I was shocked at the amount of selling that goes on all year and all day. When I read the fat content of the frozen desserts and cheesecakes they sold one year I was stunned. When she got to high school, seemed every group was selling candy or junk of some kind and it went on in the classroom and lunchroom and after school. The best thing about having celiac disease was that it gave us a great excuse to say no to the never-ending sales.

  3. My son's school doesn't have bake sales because of allergy issues, and because the parents really prefer other fundraising mechanisms. Like the kids making crafts and selling them to each other, Warming Trees, penny collections, and bingo nights.

    Bingo night goes to the PTA, the Warming Tree items go to the area family shelter (and kids in the school whose families don't have the money to buy hats, scarves, and mittens), the pennies go to Pennies for Peace, and the crafts money goes to the class rooms.

  4. My mom's elementary school PTA sends out a request in the registration packets for every family to send what they can – $5, $10, $20 and promises NO fundraisers for the kids. No gift wrap, candy, bake sales, etc. They get a really good response. Obviously this only works if parents are able to send the money, but so many parents would rather their $5 go straight to the school than have to help their kids sell unwanted stuff to friends and family.


  5. My school has an occasional bake sale (money is usually for a club or organization) and the bake sale is a one day affair.
    The school offers a snack period (15 minutes) each morning in which kids can buy yogurt, cereal, hot breakfast items, etc.
    Lunch is a standard "hot meal" or salad bar or chicken sandwiches or pizza.
    We do have vending machines on campus with candy and soda all day.

    Despite all of this, very few students on campus are overweight and we have no obese children at all. Behavior is not a problem and I see students eating nutritious foods on many occasions.

    Note: Lenore, you sound ridiculous in saying that too many "cupcakes" cause cancer. Too much of anything causes cancer and you are making the blanket assumption that the majority of children are eating cupcakes all of the time.
    If you are going to put out a silly statement at least back it up with research that supports your argument.

  6. I completely disagree with using "unhealthy foods" for school fundraisers, such as cupcakes, cookies/cookie dough, pastries and cakes. Many children have food allergies and others already consume too many high calorie and over-processed foods that has contributed to our present childhood obesity epidemic.

    So, finding a healthier alternative to "unhealthy bake sale fundraising" is essential.

    Perhaps, selling nut butters, honey, agave, pita chips, salsas, fruits, vegetables or nuts from local farmers, distributors and growers.

    And yes, fundraisers inside the school should always go to benefit the school, student group or PTA.

    Happy Holidays!

  7. Our school doesn't do bake sales, and I'm glad since my daughter has a life threatening peanut allergy. They do a Butter Braid fundraiser every year, which we chose not to participate in this year because they were processed in the same facility as nuts. Last year we let her sell them but this year decided it was silly to get our friends and family members to pay for an overpriced baked item that we ourselves can't/don't eat (I don't eat sugar.)

    I do think that bake sales for cancer research are a little too ironic. I'd much rather see the money go to a school's fine arts department or towards needed supplies and equipment. But with allergy issues I don't think schools should have bake sales at all. I also wish that food wasn't used so often in the classroom, either as rewards or in lesson plans.

  8. I think that we Americans have a remarkable ability to get lost in the details while forgetting the big picture. Our government consistently subsidizes corn and wheat and other commodities which creates an economy of cheap bad food. As a result of our toxic food environment, the average parent cannot control what their kids are faced with every day: fundraising chocolate bars and crappy school lunches and sodas in vending machines, etc. So we reach out to control the only things we can-bake sales.

    Kids are not getting fat from bakes sales, they are getting fat from poor nutrition advice, improper school lunch meal planning, cheap sugar, industrial food, poor nutrient quality food, you name it, there are so many issues. Bake sales however ain't the issue.

  9. Cancer is a disease in which mutated cells replicate out of control, generally caused by some sort of radiation. It is unlikely that cupcakes would cause cancer, unless they were baked in a microwave. Now cupcakes are certainly unhealthy and can lead to obesity if nothing else, but probably not cancer.

  10. Just last Friday, I made some treats for 3 of my 6 classes who had reached a testing benchmark. Reduced sugar cookies with sugar-free frosting. Yes I know I went again our "General wellness" policy by treating my students with non-nutritious food rewards for academics, but it was quite literally the last day of the Quarter and before Winter Break. The cookies turned out so cute that I posted a pic on my Facebook, lauding my students' success (and showing off my husband's decorating handiwork). 1 comment gave me the creeps…our district technology guy asked "Were those made in a safe-serve certified kitchen?" WTH? Our school kitchen only reheats pre-packaged food. Was he joking/teasing? Was he serious and is going to tattle on me? Was he saying I'm a bad housekeeper? Just goes to show you that food is always a tricky path to travel when it comes to distirct office staff.

  11. The more children are nannied, the less they will be able to make their own decisions, learn right from wrong, and just in general be able to function and make decisions on their own. Kids today seem so infantile and unable to function because someone's always structuring their days and decisions for them. They're like little robots, that's it!
    I swear, some days I almost feel the government breathing down my neck.

  12. you've stated an awful lot of hypotheses about nutrition in this blog. i've been reading since it started and i've never commented, but this one about eating too many cupcakes causing cancer was a little too reaching for me to ignore. it's almost insulting.

  13. Because my daughter has a peanut/tree-nut allergy, we also don't have to worry about her personal consumption of bake-sale stuff. Her school does have them (maybe 3 a year?), but I haven't paid too much attention, since she can't eat the stuff. The proceeds do at least go to school things, like field trips.

    What I have really hated this year are candy-grams. Yuck! First of all, as if the kids needed more candy during holidays. However, even more important to me is that they are a popularity contest. I hate things like that at school. If you don't get a candy-gram one day, it makes you feel like no one likes you! Last week my daughter used her allowance to send candy-grams to kids in her class who hadn't gotten any, because she didn't want them to feel the way she felt when she didn't get any. When I was in school, long ago, that sort of stuff didn't start until high school, but this is an elementary school!

  14. Re: too many cupcakes causing cancer. I'm definitely overstating it. I'm guilty of eating the occasional cupcake (and loving it). And I wonder how is all that sugar being processed by my body?

    Humans weren't meant to eat simple sugar in the vast quantities we now consume it. And we're becoming overweight and obese because of it (which is a another thing that is causing a spike in cancer rates).

    Google "sugar" and "cancer" and tell me what you think. Here's a few links I found:

  15. You've totally pissed me off. I used to like you. The whole "eating too many cupcakes causes cancer" is bull shit! Learn your facts.

  16. I really wish they would do away with all food sales type items in schools. When I was in middle school we did the candy bar sales to help fund our class trip to Washington D.C. the problem was, my mom and I ended up buying most of the candy bars ourselves which totally defeated the purpose (and we both gained a ton of weight that year). We may have gone a bit overboard, but the point is giving kids/teens a box of chocolate to carry around all day and expecting them NOT to go more overboard than normal seems unreasonable. Now as an adult, every time I see someone setting up a box of candy or a popcorn or baked goods order form everyone groans because they feel like they HAVE to order something to order something but no one really wants the extra food. It all seems so normal to us now, but I am willing to bet that a bake sale 50 years ago #1 actually had a majority of homebaked goods (I see many with boxes of cookies and cupcakes bought from the grocery store) and #2 wasn't in addition to all sorts of food sales year round in every part of your life and everywhere you go. The problem isn't a single bake sale, the problem is the culture of food excess that surrounds us today and unfortunatey bake sales have become a part of that.

  17. An occasional bake sale isn't a big deal, it's when they're all the time that it becomes a problem. Especially at the elementary level, why not restrict bake sales to events – events where parents will be in attendance to regulate what their kids eat? Hold bake sales during band/theater performances, on election day if the school is a polling place (especially if you sell muffins/breakfast items, this can work very well!), that sort of thing.

    There are so many other ways to raise money, though. I've never understood why bake sales are so common: they're really not that cost-effective. You have the cost of supplies to make the food, baggies to package it, and then if you don't sell everything quickly the leftovers go to waste. There are so many other creative fundraisers. Why does it always have to be a bake sale?

  18. I think bake sales could be the perfect time to teach kids how to bake!!!! Yeah, it may not be the most healthy of stuff but MOM's get your kids out from in front of the TV and get them to help you!!! Get the kids involved in the kitchen so they know what they are putting in their mouths!!

    When I bake, I actually am less inclined to eat most of the food I make because I'm around it the entire time from scratch to pulling the paper off the cupcake.

    Eating a cupcake isn't going to give you cancer, eating a batch of cupcakes is going to make you FAT. Making the cupcakes burns calories, so eating a couple isn't so bad and plus there is a whole learning experience OUTSIDE of the classroom…..

    I think the school could send home a list of ingredients not allowed in the bake sale and then things get to be more creative for everyone! Think outside of the box just for a bit and find a new recipe, now everyone is learning something new-kids, parents, teachers……wow what a concept!

  19. I read your entire year this past weekend and loved it…I couldn't stop reading. Sadly, my 8 yr old said, "Hey that's what my lunches look like when I buy lunch." She hasn't "bought" this year but did alot last year due to busy schedules. I was floored and felt deeply disappointed I had let her eat that junk! I myself am vegetarian…tried vegan but couldn't do it…but know I should! I love The Kind Diet book and have never heard it mentioned. The website is great too! Congrats to you and all you have done to educate parents!

  20. Cupcakes do not equal cancer – anyone with half a brain knows that. Posting it just proves you are not qualified to even be a teacher. If you can't stop making hypothesis', close the damn blog.

  21. There's nothing unhealthful or potentially cancer-causing about cupcakes. ("Reduced sugar cookies with sugar-free frosting," on the other hand…) While your particular metabolism may have issues with wheat, there's nothing about baked goods that make them inappropriate as part of a balanced diet for the average person.

  22. As a former member and state president of a student organization, bake sales, fundraisers, and the like are sometimes used in schools to benefit a student organization raising money for a particular cause, such as cancer research. So, a cupcake for cancer research sold in a school may very well be that – a cupcake sold with the proceeds going to an organization supporting cancer research.

    I have a problem with too much federal regulation going too far. If a particular school would like to set nutritional standards, I think that's fabulous. A school could even get its students involved and give them ownership over the process. But too many regulations coming from afar only opens the door for more regulations.

  23. Wow. I am going to (respectfully) join the throng about the silliness of the suggestion that cupcakes will lead to cancer. I understand that sugar may "feed" cancer cells, but the manner in which this was presented seems just a bit anxiety inducing and slightly irresponsible.

    It could be argued that vegetables can cause cancer because of the increased use of nitrate based fertilizers, but I doubt learning about this cancer risk factor would lead anyone to suggest we stop eating salads.

    I would much prefer my child to purchase the occasional home-made cupcake in support of a good cause than a Twinkie from the 7-11 on the corner for no reason.

  24. Writers are still allowed to use hyperbole, aren't they?

    I'm not keen on fundraising in schools when the money isn't going to the school. We happen to homeschool, but we don't participate in the extra fundraisers in schools for friends of the family. I'd far rather give a bit of cash directly to the classroom. I want the kids to have the benefits, not a sales company.

    I can absolutely support kids doing entrepreneurial things as part of the curriculum, but bake sales don't involve the kids, generally; it's parents buying or baking, donating, staffing, so the kids lose even the business education involved in designing and running a fundraising effort.

    I am 100% in favor of not allowing staff members to run non-school fundraising… those girls headed back with chocolate for lunch is in the range of unethical to me, personally.

  25. Mrs. Q, I get where you were going with the cupcakes. I have an ounce of logic in my head. I can understand that when you scoffed at selling junk food for cancer research, you were mostly pointing out the irony of the situation via a bit of over-dramatic flair.
    I recently went on a similar rant when I saw KFC selling… pink buckets of fried chicken for breast cancer research. The whole thing was just so preposterous.

    More school regulation? I really don't know which side of the fence I'm on. Things like bake sales where families prepare food (albeit cookies and cakes) to share with their community in exchange for financial support? I'm all for it. Particularly when the bake sales occur during things like school fairs when the whole family shows up, plays games together, makes crafts together, and yes, buys a special treat together. That's a lot of togetherness! Are cookies and cupcakes involved? Yes. Are families getting off their asses, going out for the evening, hanging out, and making lasting memories? Yes. Did those same families spend the night before baking cookies together? Yes. So should the bake sale be the villain in this case? Well, now that I look at it that way… no.

    I guess the sales that bother me are the ones that are assisted by companies, when kids sell cheesecake or cookie dough or candy bars, where only a small portion of the proceeds go toward schools. I think that's crap, and I think it's better to have a bake sale where not only does the community come together, but 100% of the proceeds go straight to the school.

    When I was in high school, clubs and sports teams would sell candy constantly. Club leaders would hit up costco and grab huge assortment boxes of candy bars, and then stuff the bars into gallon-sized ziplock bags, which were paraded outside of students' backpacks so that the dazzling array of Snickers bars, M&Ms, Laffy Taffy, etc, all for only $1, would tempt people out of their lunch money. Especially in that period right before lunch when you're already so hungry you don't think you're going to make it.
    Looking back as an adult, wouldn't it have made more sense to sell things like granola bars, fruit leather, and packets of crackers? I'm sure they would have been equally as popular (especially if that was the only option!), but would have made more sense as a snack for hungry teenagers.

    I do have to give a nod to my middle school when it came to things like the candy grams mentioned by a commenter above. Our school didn't sell candy grams, but instead sold carnations (particularly popular around valentine's day, but we also did them for a few other holidays that I can't recall). Yes, it sucked if you were the kid who didn't get a flower, but I can still step back from the popularity issue and agree that it was a much, much, MUCH better alternative to a piece of candy.

    I don't think we need government regulation in things like that. ESPECIALLY when they can't even get their s– together to regulate the school lunches properly. Please. Mrs. Q was eating brown on brown (tater tots, beans and hamburgers anyone?) up until the end. Do we really need Agro getting involved with the fundraisers?

    I think what we need, the same way we elect police chiefs, is someone who runs for "director of sanity" for the schools. Imagine! They could run on platforms like "is a tater tot a vegetable? Vote for me and the answer will be no!" or "fundraisers for our future: raising money while bringing together families and NOT fattening up our kids like thanksgiving turkeys in the process."
    Then if the person you vote for starts to OK things like candy sales and hot dogs for lunch, you kick 'em out of office and put in someone with more sanity. Let the communities regulate the communities, rather than a bureaucracy who's totally disconnected from what's good for small towns across America.

    *steps off soap box*

  26. Wow. I'm really surprised at how y'all are more offended about my silly off-hand comment than the fact that 10 students ate chocolate bars for lunch instead of the school lunch. Isn't that a little more controversial than my aside comment?

    Cut a girl some slack

  27. I think Mrs. Q's hyperbole was pretty obvious. Anyone who didn't get it needs to go back to school

    I'm beginning to think that maybe some of the consistently negative comments are coming from people who work for the big companies that make money off providing crap for school lunches –maybe they're worried that Mrs. Q might have a positive influence on school lunches and it will hurt their bottom line. Anything to try to discredit her.

  28. At my kids' school they don't do bake sales, but it may be part of the rule against allowing the sharing of any homemade food. If you bring food to share, it has to be pre-packaged, store-bought. No homemade cupcakes for birthday parties.

  29. Sounds like some people are afraid their cuppy cakes might be taken away about the health food police. And by the way, there are all kinds of unhealthy going on in a cupcake. But seriously, it is called hyperbole and used by a writer to make a point.

  30. Sorry, but I think the lesson is that hyperbole to the point of absurdity, even in the service of a good cause, tends to interfere with the message.

    Sure it's crazy that kids might be eating a chocolate bar instead of lunch, but as long as they're not doing so daily, or even as long as they're eating good food at other times of day, it's also not disastrous.

    Fundraisers of one kind or another have become the norm, whether it's Girl Scout cookies, or magazine subscription sales to raise money for a class trip, boxes of fruit for the 4H, or flowers for a temple youth group. I don't think this is going away anytime soon.

  31. Mrs. Q, I agree that students eating chocolate bars for lunch is a much bigger issue.

    But also people look to your blog for information regarding what is & isn't healthy (whether you intended that or not). In the context of the blog & your perceived knowledge of nutrition, it still seems a little irresponsible, even if you may have meant it as a joke, to state something that has little scientific backing.

    I understand there are correlations between sugar (& carb) intake and a myriad of health problems, but for most people the problem is more about the daily diet, rather than a bake sale fundraiser here & there. Especially if the bake sale includes preservative free & homemade goods. Creating some regulations for school fundraisers, like taking out candy & over processed foods would be good but I'm not convinced the gov needs to control it.

    Instead I think there should be more focus on removing hidden sugars from processed foods, and encouraging people to cut consumption of said processed foods. Since everything seems to contain some added sweetener. Also a general emphasis on moderation in the daily diet rather than demonization of any specific group, say sugar, carbs, or fat (with the exception of individual intolerances or allergies of course).

  32. I think that what this whole discussion loses sight of is the fact that once upon a time, cupcakes were treats for birthdays or possibly once a year Girl Scout fundraiser bake sales. When I grew up, I can probably remember every cupcake I had from grades K through 12. There weren't that many of them and I grew up in a fairly privileged environment. Today if my daughter wanted to she could have a cupcake 5 days a week at school. There are that many bake sales. Ditto candy. When I grew up, we had candy on Halloween and for school trips (maybe 3 or 4 a year). I can remember going with my mom to the candy store the night before a school trip and it was so exciting to be able to buy pixi sticks because you knew that you couldn't have them on a regular basis. Today, my daughter can be skittles, starburst, snickers, m&ms and several varieties of gummy candy at the checkout counter of her middle school cafeteria. No wonder there has been a huge rise in childhood obesity in the past several decades.

  33. I'm glad our school doesn't do bake sales. I don't need the stress involved in providing baked goods (I'm a lousy baker) for them. We do a fundraiser walk at the beginning of the year. Each walk has a theme (health and wellness, go green, careers, etc) with local people setting up booths that talk about the theme. The kids bring in money for 4 weeks and they have contests for the classes that raise the most money, have the most participation, etc. It is the ONLY fundraiser our PTA does (aside from the book fair) and it supplies our entire budget for the year (which isn't small with classroom contributions, etc). Parents like that all the money goes directly to the school and that they don't have to sell a bunch of crap no one wants.

    I do remember helping my brother sell candy bars for cub scouts when I was in high school. I would take a box of candy bars to school and sell them at lunch time. I could sell half a box or more of candy every day at lunch, with very little effort. If given the choice, kids will almost always pick the junk over the healthy food. Is it good for them? No but it is their parent's responsibility to teach them how to eat in moderation.

    This is different from school lunches, which parents are told meet a nutritional criteria (it meets a criteria, just not a good enough one). If you don't know that cupcakes are bad for you, you have way bigger issues than a simple bake sale.

  34. Even if it is hyperbole, suggesting that cancer is caused by eating too many cupcakes tends to overshadow the real argument because it's such a ridiculous statement to make. And it would be ironic if the bake sale for raising money for type two diabetes, not cancer.

    /cancer researcher

  35. I think it is absolutely ridiculous to say sugar/cupcakes cause cancer- yes, eating a lot is bad for you, but saying they cause cancer is really reaching!

  36. No bakes sales allowed in our school district. Groups/clubs/sports can no longer sell candy bars or other unhealthy foods. The vending machines now serve "healthy" foods like 100 calorie pack cookies, popcorn, and giant Rice Krispie treats… Not sure how the last is healthy. Only 100% juice, water, and milk is available to students, and the high school has even gone as far as banning students from ordering take out and having it delivered. The school lunches served though are much like the ones you have experienced: processed, pre-packeaged foods which the lunch ladies re-heat. They do make things such as grilled cheese, pasta, and real mac and cheese. We also have a self serve salad bar available to students 2x per week.

  37. Thank you Mel and mhaithaca for your comments. I agree wholeheartedly. It is a stretch and and Mrs. Q should know better by now than to make a completely inflammatory statement and not think that some of us wouldn't pick up on it.

  38. I have read all of Michael Pollan's books and found myself bored after reading In Defense of Food as his motto remains the same throughout most of his books, "Don't eat alone, eat mostly greens, garden, etc etc".
    I am assuming you've seen the movie Food, Inc. I found that more real and disturbing than any of Michael Pollans' books as a real face was put on the effects of bad food, a small child that died of E. Coli. That movie truly changed some of my eating habits, especially eating-out habits.

    Food for thought. 🙂

    I look forward to see what is going to happen w/the blog! I've been a fan since day one! Great going!

  39. See also: Google Scholar gives you more legit links. –) it takes glucose to run normal cells and it's normal cells that convert to cancer cells but definitely closer to what you were getting at in your original post. Weight gain is correlated with cancer diagnosis.
    For those who actually read this: we're doing metformin trials right now. Metformin is used extensively in controlling type two diabetes. It also decreases the rates of hyperinsulinemia and increases AMPK which is a cancer-gene inhibitor.

    The frustrating thing is that it does not take one particular thing to "make" cancer in a person. There are certain things that incur cancer faster than others (cig smoke, asbestos, certain dyes and radiation exposure) but, generally speaking, cancer is a game of sums. These days, it seems as if everything causes cancer — the real problem for most researchers is how much, not necessarily what. For what it's worth, cancer accumulates over decades and is generally not a singular bad idea unless your bad idea was to smoke two packs a day for fifty years. 😛

  40. Back when I was raised by a single mom we were low-income and I got free lunch. (Food insecure? really?) Even though she had very little extra money once a week she would find a dollar for me to purchase an ice cream sandwich from the store on my way home (back when most kids walked to and from school).

    So I REALLY hope that "still manage to bring in money for ice cream" comment was not in all intended to show distain that poor families would have the gall to spend money on a treat once in a while. Because a weekly treat and a little sunshine are only for the kids who can afford better clothes, right?

  41. I have recently read your entire year of postings. I was on board with you most of the way: celebrating my significantly healthier school lunch experience and opening my eyes to the travesty. However your statement, as off-handed as you may have intended, about cupcakes causing cancer is inexcusable. You may have the ability to casually remark about cancer but many of your readers do not take the subject as lightly. I have lost very valuable people in my life to cancer and to read someone suggest that their struggle and death may have been caused by eating too many cupcakes is incredibly disturbing.

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