Lunch Literature Book Club

I’m still chugging along here reading Free For All. But some of you don’t have your books yet and because I’m reading slowly, I’m going to extend our reading of the book through March. In two weeks we’ll chose a new book to read starting April 1st.

It’s hard to believe that I used to be a member of two book clubs, but of course that was before I became a mother. I used to churn through books and now I’m not able to do that for a lot of reasons. The two book clubs were very different. One was a large group of close friends/coworkers. A book would be chosen (often popular fiction), sometimes read, discussed for fifteen minutes and then the following two hours was devoted to eating and drinking wine. It was always held at someone’s apartment.

The second book club was also run by a close friend, but the other members were strangers. The book choice was usually a classic, either one from the past or a more modern one. The books were sometimes long and dense, but not finishing the book and showing up to book club was not done. At least, I usually didn’t finish the book and I had nothing to offer to the meeting. The club was usually held in a coffee shop. Needless to say I had time for none of them after I had my son. Reading? What was that?

Even though my son is older and I should have time to read theoretically, I’m not able to fit in much reading. I’m still trying to figure how to run an online book club so bear with me.

Without further delay, here are discussion questions this week:

1) What does “plate waste” mean and what impact did it have on school lunch? (p 65)
2) How did chicken nuggets and other “kid-friendly” items become reimburseable? (p 89)
3) How do concerns about food-borne illness impact items served for lunch at school? (p 97)

Anything else you’d like to bring up about the book?

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4 Responses to Lunch Literature Book Club

  1. ahauschildt February 28, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    To start discussion on number 3 (sorry to skip the first 2 for now)…

    While I understand concerns about food-borne illness, I think it is uber-unfortunate that school districts, as described in the book, feel that shifting the liability to foodservice companies is the only feasible way to ensure food safety. Really they just want to ensure legal protection for the school. I don't know the answer, but isn't there a way to make schools secure enough to remove the liability limitation? Perhaps laws could be changed or even an insurance policy put together to protect financial resources of schools given no evidence of gross negligence in the kitchen?

  2. Renee March 1, 2011 at 12:56 am #

    This is not about the book club, but . . .

    When I had my daughter (10 years ago), I kept thinking I would get more time to myself again as she got older. Boy was I wrong! Although being her mom becomes more and more fun every year, it is a full time job, I swear! (And I already have one of those, so now I have two.) Just the paperwork from school alone is enough to fill up several hours 🙂

    So, good luck with that reading!

  3. jenna March 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    in our last school food reform sub committee meeting our school food director told me that one of the primary reasons they order patties and nuggets is to comply with portioning requirements. districts can have their reimbursement money taken away if they under serve a child a protein portion. the pre-portioned meat make it easier to avoid hefty penalties.

    i nearly fell out of my chair. my response was "we have to find a way to avoid reimbursement penalties and give kids real food." i appreciate that meeting reg requirements is tough for school food directors, but it can no longer be the reason why we serve carnival food to kids every day.

    i was more surprised that my sfd believed this was a good enough reason to keep serving nuggets and patties every day, than the knowledge that penalty avoidance is a real concern for school food departments.

  4. Laura March 2, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

    Food service departments don't want to take the time and the money to train there employees how to handle raw foods. Bottom line it's easier for them to get it pre-cooked and packaged than pay more experienced food handlers.

    Chicken nuggets or patties are also another way for them to save money because it got a ton of fillers in it ( soy protein, whatever that is)and it's cheap. It is all about money and economics. It's very sad to put a price on children nutrition but that may be the healthiest meal some kids get all day. The more you know about nutrition the better you are but it's not a priority or known to everyone from parents to the government. I think the culture is changing but the first question is always what does it cost.
    They need to figure out how to make it cost effective. So plant a garden or train staff how to cross utilize food items, use local farms seasonal fruits and vegetables. It's time to get creative because the funds are not increasing yet.

    I run a successful and profitable breakfast and lunch program and I run it like a restaurant kitchen and it actually works. We do all of the above. It's hard work but very rewarding.

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